‘The Croods’ provides quirky humor, fuzzy feelings


Used with permission from http://www.thecroodsmovie.com/ under fair use doctrine.

Kaitlyn Marsh

Image used under fair use doctrine
Image used under fair use doctrine

After purchasing a ticket, being denied a Diet Pepsi because my checking account was empty and listening to my boyfriend complain about seeing an animated movie, I can honestly say I wasn’t in the mood for a quirky,  G-rated cartoon comic. My stomach growled through the previews as I begged for Cole’s wallet, and soon enough, my mastery of poking had me contentedly munching on buttered popcorn just in time for the movie to begin.

The Croods, another DreamWorks production, similar to the legendary Ice Age adventure, involved a family of cavemen living in a desolate, predator-inhabited canyon in a quest to stay alive. In the first scene, the daughter in the family, Eep — voiced by Emma Stone (Gangster Squad) — introduces her kin as the last of the cavemen kind, and the audience then follows the dysfunctional bunch in their pursuit for breakfast. The family depictions were terribly hilarious to me because it was, in a sense, a modern American family set centuries ago and even reminded me of my own.

The father and leader, Grug — voiced by Nicolas Cage (National Treasure) — played the role of a protective and all-knowing master of the clan and constantly promoted the mantra “if you see something new, you die,” and “never not be afraid,” always reminding the family that fear and routine kept them living.

The rest of the characters consisted of his wife, Ugga (Catherine Keener, Peace, Love & Understanding), son Thunk (Clark Duke, Kick-Ass), who possessed somewhat of a Forrest Gump-like personality in the body shape of a squash and youngest daughter Sandy (Randy ThomFlight), whom at about age four had entirely convinced herself she was a ravaging, wild dog. The last of the family, the grandmother, represented the lunatic senior citizen at every family reunion.

The plot line starts with the foreseen need for change in the Crood family. After years of hiding in a cave for protection, Eep wants to explore and “live,” as she calls it. One night, Eep sneaks out and follows a bright light from a distance and runs into another human who carries a torch. Eep is immediately intrigued by the moving warmth and light, and the boy tells her that the world is ending soon and the cavemen need to move to higher ground for safety. The family then has to evacuate the cave and move in pursuit of a distant mountain across different terrain and face obstacles, led by the mysterious boy, Guy, and his pink sloth, Belt.

Throughout the entire journey, the family learns the importance of adaptation and creativity. Originally living in fear and bending to the environment around them, the Croods must learn to improvise and use their surroundings to benefit their way of life. Also, there is a minor love story between Eep and Guy, but it isn’t at the forefront of the plot line. Instead of the typical love story I’m used to seeing, this screenplay was more focused on the importance of family and unconditional love, a nice twist from the lovey-dovey mess of a Nicholas Sparks tale. In addition to the amazing vocal acting of Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds, the comedy in the adventure comes from typical family feuds and unfortunate happenings, not the vulgarity or promiscuity that these productions geared towards teens have recently succumbed to.

Overall, I felt the movie was well done and well played out. The ending was a surprise to me, but ultimately provided that warm, fuzzy feeling and made me smile on my way out as I walked past the concessions guys that outlawed my Diet Pepsi earlier that evening.  Then, somehow, the first thing I did when arriving home was hug my loving parents. These fictional productions sure can make us do some strange things.

By Kaitlyn Marsh