Directed by Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders, The Croods is essentially a modern-day version of The Flintstones. But, unlike Fred, Wilma and the family, the Croods are completely isolated and live in their own safe little world: a cave. When it literally collapses around them, they are thrown into a beautiful and mysterious land, where they must find a new home.
As The Croods goes on it’s difficult not to notice the similarities with other films. The landscape and the creatures Dreamworks have created are fascinating and incredibly imaginative, but are arguably a mix between animation studio Blue Sky’s Ice Age and James Cameron’s epic Avatar. Unfortunately the trailer for Blue Sky’s next production, Epic, has just been released and overshadows The Croods’ background animation.
Teenage daughter Eep, voiced by Emma Stone, is also undeniably familiar as basically a prehistoric version of Merida from Pixar’s Brave – a strong-willed teenager who wants to explore the world and become more than her family will let her be. Predictably, she clashes with her over-protective father, Grug (Nicolas Cage), who only wants to keep his family safe.
Surprisingly for a children’s film, the humour focuses on a satirical look at modern day life – for example in Eep’s over-the-top excitement towards a new pair of shoes. The process of moving house is also explored (at one point the family try out the inside of a whale as a possible home) and there are more than enough mother-in-law jokes thrown in.
The love interest comes from Guy (Ryan Reynolds), an outsider who helps lead the Croods on their trip. Eep obviously falls for him, much to the distaste of her father, referencing yet another modern family trope.
Although it seems primitive in comparison with Dreamworks’ previous work and anything from Pixar’s back catalogue, taken on its own The Croods is a heart-warming tale of self-discovery and the importance of family.
The Croods is released nationwide on 22nd March 2013.
Watch the trailer for The Croods here: