The Croods is the latest Dreamworks movie which tells the story of a pre-historic family as they embark on a perilous journey through an incredible new world.
The family have lived by a set of rules in their rocky canyon home to keep them alive. Protective father Grug (Nicholas Cage) teaches his brood to be afraid of everything in order to stay alive. They spend all their time in a dark cave with the entrance sealed up with a boulder to keep them safe. Teenager Eep (Emma Stone) has had enough of this life saying it isn't living, instead it's just a way of not dying. She wants more. One night she sneaks away from her cave home after spotting a mysterious light. She discovers Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a more modern human, who can make fire. Eep is fascinated with the 'little sunshine' that Guy has made. He tells her that the world they know is changing and The End is coming, when the ground will shake and break apart. He is heading for safety of the higher ground of the mountains. When their cave home is destroyed by a rock fall, the Croods are forced to join Guy on a crazy road trip through a fantastic world filled with fabulous creatures, to find a safe new place to call home.
We were lucky enough to attend an advance screening of The Croods in 3D at our local Odeon cinema. Ella, Kizzy and I donned our 3D specs and settled down to enjoy the movie.
The film is visually stunning. The use of cave paintings to tell the beginning of the story is really effective and is a theme that continues throughout the film. The Croods are Neanderthals with sloping foreheads and mono-brows but somehow the animators have made them really appealing in a caveman kind of way! The colours and textures bring the picture to life and the subtle use of 3D isn't too harsh on the eyes. The fabulous scenery, animals and plants are wonderfully imaginative and the 3D makes you feel like you are looking through a window into their rich and detailed world. It gives the film depth and immerses you into their environment with its beauty and danger. You feel the peril of the catastrophic, world changing events and you experience the wonder of The Croods as they see brand new things for the first time. The portrayal of fire is particularly beautiful in 3D as the embers take to the air.
The relationship between the family members is similar to the dynamics of many modern families and you feel empathy for the characters as you recognise your own traits in them! We see the rebellious teenager and the over-protective father as they clash heads again and again. The crazy mother-in-law/stubborn son-in-law relationship is often strained and the subject of a fair few gags! (Some things never change!) Grug's dismay at loved-up Eep's developing relationship with Guy shows his reluctance to let her grow up. Something I'm sure most dads can relate to as they see their little girl's affections directed to a new man. However, the over-riding message of the film is one of growth, trust and acceptance. The bond between family can be one of the strongest and most important things in the world, especially when the rules you have lived by get thrown out of the window!
The emotional journey of the film is really powerful, and yes, me and my girls cried! It really pulled at the heart strings as you see Grug's acceptance and understanding of the changes going on in his family and in the world as a whole. Everything he trusted and believed in is challenged, but he finds a capacity for change. It is really moving!!
There are lots of funny moments. Some of my favourite gags came via Guy's dramatic pet sloth 'Belt', so-called because he helps keep his trousers up! The scene where Grug tries his hand at being an 'ideas' man brings a host of laugh out loud moments as his plans all backfire. His camera invention was particularly funny!!
The stunning hybrid animals of the imagined pre-historic world are remarkable. The flesh-eating, swarming, pink piranha birdies were my personal favourite. The giant, colourful, sabre-toothed tiger style Macawnivore was gorgeously illustrated. His fur looked positively stroke-able. The giant, walking land whales were brilliant, and the tiny elephant-mouse was incredibly cute!
The Croods' journey is fraught with peril as earthquakes and rock slides threaten their every step, but with determination, teamwork and imagination they overcome the obstacles that stand between them and a happy ending. A perfect metaphor for modern living!
I loved The Croods. The story really gets going in the second half of the film and is dramatic and exciting. There is humour for both the children and the adults, and the visual appeal is huge. Nicholas Cage's Grug was beautifully portrayed as the big, strong protector of his family, who is doing his best to keep them safe using brawn but not brain. Meeting Guy, who is an ideas man, really challenges everything he believes in. It is a great story which takes on the universal subject of family beautifully
10 year old Kizzy said, "It was a really enjoyable film and it made me cry. My favourite character was Guy because he was funny and his pet Belt was adorable. I loved the way that they wanted to ride the sun to tomorrow and find a better life."
16 year old Ella said, " It was such a good film and I recommend it to families. Nicholas Cage and Emma Stone were brilliant and well cast as Grug and Eep. The animals were really imaginative and cool."
The Croods goes on general release at cinemas on March 22nd 2013.
While you wait for it to come to a cinema near you, why not have a go at this activity sheet. Just click to open it with a bigger image and print it off. Your kids can learn to write their own name using cave writing!
Or you can help The Croods navigate across the plain in this tricky maze!
You can follow Odeon at Facebook.com/ODEON or tweet them at @ODEONcinemas with the hashtag #ODEONBlogTheCroods if you want to chat about The Croods and join in the fun.