The Croods Review


Without doubt the most beautiful CGI film to date; and this one’s from Dreamworks.  This coming-of-age tale balances action, comedy and life lessons convincingly and without too much schmaltz.

Eep is a young woman yearning to break out of the cave that she’s lived in with her family for her entire life. Her father is convinced that outside of the cave lies certain death, and while he’s not entirely wrong, Eep points out that living is not the same as not dying. When a chance encounter and the end of the world force them on a journey, they collide, with one ecstatic at being free and the other terrified of losing his family.

I’ve seen a host of CGI film about a similar subject – Brave and Hotel Transylvania all deal with young people who are on the cusp of growing out their parents’ world. I have to say that this was the most convincing of the three for me. I think there’s a really sweet message about parents trusting their children to the world, to making their own mistakes and children understanding what it means for a parent to let go.  It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but it’s done with a sincerity that’s convincing.

The (overzealous) acting talents of Nicholas Cage (yes, that’s what I said) and Emma Stone work perfectly with the characters because they are both so animated in real life. Both of them have that wonderful face-scrunching characteristics that translate perfectly into CGI and Emma Stones narration stops it from being overly-sentimental and keeps it grounded. There’s plenty of facial tics and markers that have been absorbed into the animation which really brings it to life.

For me, the real star of the film is the background design. I knew when I reviewed the ‘Art of’ book that this was going to be special, but it really exceeded my expectations. The concept art is usually lost by the time it hits the big screen, honed till it loses that magical creative quality, but this film didn’t suffer from that. There’s also a lovely grain on the characters that makes the screen visually rich and textured. Even things like the smoke effects and particles were fantastically well done. Even the 3D, that usually annoys me, I found rather pleasant and although it doesn’t need it, it certainly didn’t suffer from having it there.

Of all the half term choices I think this one is the best bet, plenty of laughs, a dash of soul-searching and some well-observed animation that connects with the audience.

3 Stars



Maliha Basak

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