HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Croods
HTS Overall Score:88.5
Animated films tend to be rather hit or miss, enjoyability wise. Some can be too kiddy, some can be too adult and being that the genre tends to try and cater to BOTH audiences, some weird hybrids tend to given birth. A majority of the non-Disney and Pixar films tend to lean more towards the mediocre to good range. Dreamworks, on the other hand has done a lot of hard work to try and rival the Mouse house and legend that is Pixar. While not coming up to par with them, they still have created some WILDLY entertaining films that range from good to absolutely fantastic. Here is their latest foray into the digital world and the result is surprisingly good. When I saw the trailers for “The Croods” in my local Cineplex I honestly wasn’t wildly impressed. None of the trailers really looked that good and the animation was about the only intriguing thing in the whole sales pitch of a trailer. It just seemed like it was going to be another middle of the road flick like “Epic” or “Rango”. Even when the film came out it had some rather mixed reviews so I skipped the theatrical release. I’m good at eating crow and right now I am munching on one of the legs. While not the smartest film of the year, “The Croods” is witty and sly enough to actually work despite the addition of Nicholas “crazy” Cage.
Grug (Nicholas Cage) is the overprotective father of a family of cro magnum cavemen living in isolation. Being that world is a dangerous place (or so he thinks) Grug keeps his family well hidden in a system of caves only allowing them to go out and forage under his supervision. Terrified of the outside world, he has ingrained that same fear of the unknown into all the members of his family. The only one who hasn’t accepted it just yet is his daughter, Eep (Emma Stone). She has an insatiable curiosity and years for something more than just the day to day subsistence that her family is eeking out hiding in caves. Struggling to live in a family that fears everything she becomes more and more depressed. All of that changes, however, when she follows a light outside of her cave and runs straight into another human being named “Guy” (Ryan Reynolds). Guy is the exact opposite of her family. Instead of hiding in caves and fearing the world, he is out in the middle of it, searching for the next adventure, in this case escaping the cracking and crumbling location that they are in right now. Realizing that Guy is her way out, Eep gets her parents to follow (or in this case kidnap) Guy and have him lead them out of the dangerous earthquakes and fires that is headed their way.
Along their way the family has to face ACTUAL trials and tribulations, all of which Grug grumblingly predicts due to his fearful and pessimistic nature. However, with the addition of trials comes the beauty and wonder that is the world. The rest of the family starts to realize that there is more to life than just staying alive, all of them that is except Grug. Firmly stuck in his ways he tries to lead the family the same way he’s done in the caves, but fails miserably, losing to the charismatic Guy who’s spent his whole life in the open world. Out of his element and feeling like he’s losing his family, Grug struggles to try and maintain his role as leader of the family. Only after committing a selfless act of love though, is Grug able to realize his shortcomings and try and overcome them.
I have to say that “The Croods” is not THAT good a movie writing wise. It’s got its fair share of cliché’s and simplistic morality tales, but what really holds the film together is a clever blending of witty dialogue and physical humor that just WORKS. Nicholas Cage is surprisingly tame in this film and his over the top acting actually fits with the crazed character of Grug. Emma Stone is sweet and laugh worthy as the tomboy Eep and the rest of the cast does well playing a group of savages. While I REALLY like Ryan Reynolds (please don’t stone me!), his voice just didn’t suit the character of Guy for some reason. He did a solid job with his voice acting, but for some reason the voice and the character seemed a bit out of place.
The story was sweet, the laughs were long and plentiful, but the visuals were just jaw dropping to look at and told as much of a story as the actual dialogue. The creators didn’t just create a cro-magnum world, they created an almost fairytale world of crossbred monsters and jungles in the middle of an ancient earth setting. The animals and cross blending of said animals into things such as walking wales, a piranha bird and an elephant mouse were so interesting and kept me wonder what they were going to show next that I found it very hard to be bored the whole 98 minutes. Beautifully rendered with some of the most realistic animated CGI I have ever seen and dialogue track that really kept me laughing and I have to say this was a film that I am very happy to have been wrong about.
Rated PG for some scary action
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12831[/img]WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW! Is all I can say after viewing “The Croods”. Probably one of THE very best animated films I’ve ever seen, picture wise. I got so excited viewing this one that I can’t figure out where to start! The colors were jaw droppingly beautiful, with a rich display of very different colors, shades and hues. Instead of just having one shade of dark blue for an ocean, there was about 5-6 different shades and hues entwined amongst themselves giving it one of the most realistic looks I’d ever seen for animated water. The film starts out filled with tans and browns as the Croods are stuck in their dusty little cave, but this soon opens up into a wild cornucopia of colors as they explore the great unknown. From the soft pastels of a flower field, to the rich greens, and reds and blues of a tropical style forest. The detail was through the roof and looked INCREDIBLE, shadows were drawn so cleanly and clearly that they moved and acted as a real shadow did, Pores and creases are drawn with loving care and even individual hairs are replicated down to the last detail. Shadows and blacks are beautiful and just about perfect in every way. No digital artifacting or banding or any other negative problems were present in this encode. Honestly, Dreamworks knocked this one straight out of the park.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12832[/img]Almost as perfect as the video was the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track that “The Croods” was given. Dreamworks has always had great sound design on their home video releases, and this one is no different. A fantastically layered track, “The Croods” is sonically one of the better releases of the year. Fully immersive and encompassing the surrounds grab the user from their chair and place them right in the middle of the action with the busy sounds of the forest, a rock slide that feels like my own walls were caving in and even the simplistic sounds of a bird flying by your shoulder or a pebble hitting the ground behind you. Dialogue is beautiful and has some great imaging to it. The front sound stage is alive with movement and shifts from one side of the screen to the next at a moment’s notice, while keeping the dialogue firmly planted in the middle. LFE was strong and powerful when called upon, mostly used to keep a nice low end to the film it stays silent till needed and then it unleashes the storm from the heavens! Rockslides and earthquakes shake the walls and dig DEEEEP into the teens. Again, I have nothing but kind words for this track. Bravo Dreamworks, Bravo.
• The Croodaceous Creatures of Croods!
• Be An Artist! – Now you can draw Belt, Macawnivore and Mousephant
• The Croods Coloring & Storybook Builder App
• Belt’s Cave Journal
• World of DreamWorks Animation
Again, I was honestly surprised by this film. I expected a mediocre, but still entertaining film ala the last few dreamworks films, but this one was a pleasant diversion. Is it the smartest movie in the world? No, of course not, but the witty dialogue and the clever blend of physical and verbal comedy had myself and my friends rolling on the floor half of the time. With such fantastic video and audio it really is a must grab for those fans of the animated genre. This one is luckily one of those films that even the adults will enjoy as well as the kids, and with the original story by John Cleese, the dry and witty humor will appeal to wide range of people. Definitely worth a pickup in my opinion.
Starring: Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Nicholas Cage, Catherine Keener
Directed by: Kirk De Micco, Chris Sanders
Written by: Kirk De Micco, Chris Sanders, John Cleese (story)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, English, French, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Dreamworks Pictures
Blu-Ray Release Date: Oct 1st, 2013
Buy The Croods 2D Combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy The Croods 3D Combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
The Croods (Blu-ray / DVD + Digital Copy + Toy) (2013)
Recommendation: Buy It
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