Let’s be real here: I only put myself through this in order to see The Croods 2: A New Age before the Golden Globes… and my God, it’s never taken so much will power for me to get through an animated movie before.
The Croods’ entire premise is based on one family who are cavemen. Literally. The family live in a cave and never leave in order to preserve their lives and maintain survival. Their lives are suddenly changed however when the eldest daughter Eep one day stumbles upon another human. Being hidden away for so long as a family of hermits, Eep didn’t even know there were other humans still living on earth, so you can imagine that it takes them all by surprise. The boy then informs them that there’s a whole wide world out there, and the family embark on a daring voyage across the desert to discover a bunch of new things.
…and that’s basically it.
It’s all very different to a lot of similar movies, I’ll give them that. The animation style here is actually really quite well done, especially for Dreamworks. There’s also a lot of beige and brown to deal with, which usually makes for a pretty boring kids’ movie, but the colouring pairs with the cinematography in such a way that feels really fresh and exciting.
Sadly, the narrative itself is just a little dull in comparison to the action on screen. Although the themes of discovery and finding oneself are strong, it’s difficult to see where the film is going at any one point and is more just a bunch of sequences thrown together in an effort to entertain. Thankfully, the visuals are enough to maintain interest to an extent, and the inclusion of a cute sloth sidekick is the master stroke. Besides that, any attempt at a cohesive storyline is completely lacking.
Not only that, but the soundtrack is often tired and feels like a re-produced score of songs that already existed in the world before this. Strange, as animated movies generally have really fun, inventive music.
Here’s an example. Here’s the opening song to The Croods:
Sound familiar? No?
That song is basically a re-hashed, up-tempo brass band cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk. See for yourself:
So not only is the story itself really quite tedious, the soundtrack gets a big red X too.
One element one cannot fault is the voice actors. Nicolas Cage playing a caveman Dad is maybe the most perfect piece of voice casting I can think of off the top of my head. And Emma Stone dials back the quirkiness just enough for you to believe that she’s really her character and not just… Emma Stone. Nice job on that front at least.
Technically, it’s a rather well made animation. However, the characters and the storyline just aren’t interesting or funny enough and it’s all rather clichéd and tired.
Definitely one for the kids rather than the adults. Hopefully the sequel is an improvement…
The Croods is available to rent on Chili for £1.90 or on Amazon for £2.49.
TQR Category Ratings:
Costume & Set Design:
Overall Rating: ½