"The Croods" has a simple story about old vs. new and family. The family must move when disaster strikes and learn to adapt to new ways of doing things. Resistant at first, they meet a boy named Guy, who helps them rediscover the ever changing world. The film tells us to embrace new things with open arms and enjoy all the wonders life has to offer. Not everything new is evil or makes you any less of a person than your ancestors. Family is a pretty central part of the film as we can see them bonding and doing a lot of things together.
The film is a little light on heart and emotions, but more than makes up for it with its unique sense of humor. The punches keep rolling with slap stick, sight gags and jokes about cavemen and their primitive ways. I was literally laughing from beginning to end. The sheer amount of creativity in the film is commendable and I was constantly thinking where do they come up with some of these ideas.
Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco do a pretty good job of directing the film. They give a good amount of attention to the family and each individual character. I really like how certain things introduced earlier in the film serve a purpose later on. If any animated movie ever deserved to get nominated at The Oscars for Cinematography, it would be this one. The shots and angles are so unique and filled with so much energy. The sweeping shots of the landscape and the skies are beautiful to the eyes. The hunting scene early in the film is really where most of this is apparent.
The characters are good, especially Grug. He's funny and a really devoted father, but incredibly stubborn. Nicolas Cage brings the right amount of crazy caveman and caring father to his character. Emma Stone as Eep is also a solid character. She's curious and her design is way better than what the trailers make it out to be. I like how she isn't the typical perfect figured woman. She has messed up teeth, she has a full figure, and overall is not bounded by gender roles. The rest of the cast is okay as they don't do much. The mom is kinda bland, Thunk and Gran provide some of the comic relief, and Guy is just the cool kid that has the crazy new ideas that shake up the family.
The animation is quite gorgeous especially the hand-drawn opening sequence. The desert scenes are desolate and feel very isolated. A great juxtapose to it are the lush and vibrant forest locations. The directors do a lot visually with the film and make everything the characters see feel new to us as well. When they see stars for the first time, it really feels like you're really seeing stars for the first time. The character designs are unique and highly creative. Every creature is completely new and never before seen. Score for this film is actually quite good. It feels very prehistoric, but with a modern flare. It gets really exciting and emotional when the film takes a slight dramatic turn.
Overall "The Croods" is a pretty good film. It has probably the best cinematography I've ever seen in an animated feature. It's highly creative, and the animation is quite beautiful. The main characters are well rounded and the side characters serve their purpose. The story is a little simple and lacks an emotional punch, well at least until the end, but it is effective. Humor is top notch and will keep you laughing all the way through. I give it 4/5, creative, hilarious, and a fun time for families of all ages.