By Laurie Coker
There is great delight in finding a film that pleases the family – all ages. With so few animated features coming out each year – comparably – it’s nice to get one that holds the interest of both my grand kids. With one age eight and the other only two, I love a film that can please them both. We haven’t too much luck with the younger given her age and attention span, but she seemed to really like The Croods, a film highlighting the voice talent of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Cloris Leachman and Catherine Keener. Although I squirmed a little, my two guests stayed engaged for the whole adventure and that says a great deal.
While far from the Flinstones, the Croods are still, indeed a stone-age family, one living in a rock cave home, surviving by brute strength and dealing with typical family angst. Father Crug (Cage) protects his family, keeping them alive while all others succumb to animal attacks, but his eldest daughter, Eep (Stone) hates the cave life and loathes being afraid of everything, including the sun. When she meets Guy (Reynolds) and discovers life beyond the cave, she manages to pull the family – mom Ugga (Keener), Gran (Leachman), Thunk (Clark Duke) and her baby (dog-like) sister on an adventure that while the earth seems to be falling apart, brings the family closer together,
My barometer for the film is my grandchildren. We got up early, grabbed a couple more elementary aged boys and a friend for me. At the theatre, we loaded up with snacks and put on our 3D glasses (Although, turns out our version was not in 3D – we removed them about 5 minutes in). At the end of the film, my granddaughter managed to sit still for the entire film (on various laps and seats), the children gave generally positive, but mixed reviews, and my friend and I concurred that the filmed pleased visually. We also decided the voice talent was exceptional, but neither of us thinks the story offers much fresh for adults.
We need good family films and certainly The Croods entertains, but I can’t place it up with the likes of the Toy Story or Shrek (the good ones) films. If I am to point to a direct fault in the film, I feel it lies in the limited storyline and its lack of a fresh or unique theme. The kids don’t know that it’s a tired tale, so as long as they are entertained then things are good. I am placing a C+ in my grade book. With a target audience of two to ten year-olds, I think it will be a hit.