Dreamworks Animation’s latest offering, The Croods, is the story of a caveman-family and their quest to find safe ground after an inventive and curious young boy, Guy (Ryan Reynolds), warns them of an impending apocalypse.
Led by Nicholas Cage as Grug, the overprotective father, the voice work is rather forgettable. It’s not entirely the casts fault though: Chris Sanders’ and Kirk De Micco’s script is as formulaic as they come, with each character having a familiar personality. Emma Stone as Eep, the adventurous daughter, deserves credit however, giving the only real memorable turn. There are moments of Cage madness, but these are too few and far between to really make an impact. Ryan Reynolds goes through the motions as the inventive Guy, but his actions are a clear opposite to those of Grugs, making the morals that the film attempts to put across easier to identify.
Visually, The Croods is simply gorgeous. From the dull rock faces to the fantastic world they eventually arrive in, there’s no part that isn’t a pleasure to look at. It’s also part of the films downfall, as it seems directors Sanders and De Micco have focussed their time on creating unusual (and colourful) dangers for the family instead of creating a refreshing and engaging narrative with interesting characters. It’s surprisingly lacking in humour too, with the majority of the jokes already been revealed in the trailers.
Ultimately, The Croods is a disappointment. From its initial impressive trailers, it had the potential to be a highlight of the genre for 2013. The final result is a throwaway by-the-books family movie that lacks any charm, humour and originality. That said, it’s visually stunning and is an acceptable piece of entertainment for a younger audience – just don’t expect any material that’s newer than the time the film is set in.