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Article by Teddy Durgin

The Croods is One for the Stone Ages

There are some parents and their kids that you just dont want to be around. And you especially dont want your young daughter or young son to be around them either. Theyre rude. Theyre annoying. Theyre constantly bickering. They wont shut up. They chomp on their food way too loud. But enough about the family of four that was sittingin front ofme and my little girl at the movies the other night! This was one time where I am SO glad the theater had its Dolby Surround Sound cranked way up, because The Croods totally drowned out The Crudes for real. In fact, after the first 10 or so minutes I completely forgot they were there. It also helped that this is one really good movie, folks! Its one of those fun animated films where something happens -- a chase, a fight, a narrow escape -- every two or three minutes on screen, so youre never given a chance to stop, catch your breath,and ponder how silly and ridiculous the whole thing is. The movie also has a surprising amount of heart. My daughter, Maddie, and I sure missed having Mom with us. But in a way it was nice, because The Croods is one of the better father-daughter movies to hit screens in quite some time. It centers on the modern Stone Age family of the films title. They are a group of six in the waning days of Pangaea, when the Earth consisted of one great big supercontinent before continental drift made a Mesozoic mess of everything. Nicolas Cage gives voice to Grug, the dad of this little clan who seeks to keep his family sheltered from the dangers of the outside world. His wife, Ugga (voice of Catherine Keener), and son, Thunk (voice of Clark Duke), support his every over-protective thought, word, and deed. But he routinely clashes with his headstrong, teenage daughter Eep (voice of Emma Stone) and his sharp-tongued mother-in-law, Gran (voice of Cloris Leachman). The vocal cast here is pretty terrific, especially Stone. Also effective is Ryan Reynolds Guy, a slightly more evolved human than the Crood family in that he has discovered fire, invented shoes, and has a sense that the world as they know it is about to end and they better look for high ground. I really liked the fact that the screenplay didnt invent some cheesy villain a la the Ice Age movies. Instead,the elements and the creatures of this primitive world are the antagonists. This is a survival story first and foremost. Its also amovie that explores our most primal emotions and concerns as parents and wanting to protect your kid(s) at all costs, even though sometimes the tighter we hold onto them, the more apt they are to struggle against that embrace. Its also surprisingly beautiful. The TV commercials really dont do the animation style justice here. Co-directors Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders and their teams of animators have crafted a complete world, full of imaginativebirds, beasts, and peopleand lush locales. If I had one criticism of The Croods, its really just a personal one regarding the ending. I wont give anything away. I just thought for a brief moment while watching this film that it was going togo avery courageous and -- lets face it -- realistic final route. The script and performances had gone to great lengths to prepare audiences for such an ending -- an ending that might have even provoked some real discussion among moms and dads and their kids on the drive home from the theater. Instead, the film went a different, saferdirection that I am certain most people will prefer. And thats fine. For a movie called The Croods, this is a production of surprising wit, insight, and carefully crafted spectacle that is fun for the whole family ... yes, even for thatfamily of knuckle-draggers who satin front ofme and Maddiethe other night.

The Croods is rated PG for some scary action.


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