Last week I gave a review on “Now You See Me,” this week I have decided to make a review on a great 3D animation. Some people have developed a negative attitude towards animation as they have grown older. I think a simple way to stay young is to watch animations. I believe animations have a bigger creative license as compared to your conventional movies. Let us see if “The Croods” which stars Nicholas Cage and Emma Watson is worthy of a viewing.
It’s funny an animation with cavemen and we don’t have Fred Flintstone playing the main role. The movie is centred on a family of cavemen, the Croods. We have Grug (Nicholas Cage) as the head of the family whose strength and almost phobic fear for anything new, proves decisive for his family’s survival. Their survival formula whose most ardent proponent is Grug himself is to hide in a cave and only come out during the day to hunt. Grug’s whole philosophy is centered in one statement, “Never not be afraid.” However, Eep (Emma Stone) is not too happy about this arrangement and this causes friction between her and her dad.
One night while in the cave Eep wakes to a light flickering around the entrance of the cave. Eventually, like a moth to a flame, this leads her to Guy (Ryan Renolds). Guy warns her of the impending destruction of their world and that the only safe place to go to is to the great mountain. Grug finds Eep gone and goes out to search for her, where she finds her with Guy gone. The next day as they are making their way back to their cave they find that their world is being destroyed with massive earthquakes. When their cave is destroyed, Grug is forced to abandon his survival plan and re-evaluate, where he decides to go with Guy, who turns up later, to the great mountain. Now, the whole of this story is centred on Guy’s anecdote of getting to the mountain and flying to the sun unto tomorrow.
BEST PERFORMER OF THE CAST
When judging the best performer in an animation, it’s kind of tricky as you are left with sound and not action to judge. Thus, you could be the best sounding but worst animated. Having said that, this movie is based on both sides of the coin.
Eep (Emma Stone) seems to be the clear protagonist in this movie. I found her performance to be strong, as she brought out the curious naivety of a teenager eager to explore the world. Her curiosity came out clear when upon seeing Guy’s fire says, “Hi Fire,” Guy bursts into half a laugh and replies, “It’s not alive.” Eep makes us laugh even louder when she responds, “But you said it was dying.” I agree Emma had a strong performance, but she fell short not by her own performance, but by the richness of this cast.
Guy (Ryan Renolds) was another strong performer of the cast. He came out as smart and even charismatic for his role much to the chagrin of Grug. He expressed an urban demeanour, which made the Croods come off as cavemen … ah wait they were cavemen. He sounded like those guys who spend most of their days trying to catch the biggest wave. He looked like a Red Indian as he had red ochre tribal markings and wore pants a totally new theory to the Croods.
Thunk (Clarke Duke) and Gran (Cloris Leachman) deserve special mention as they both had me laughing throughout their performance. The best quote from Thunk is when Guy talks about humans using brains to think and he looks at his father and tells him hysterically, “Dad, I don’t have a brain!” Gran was quite amusing as well, as Grug kept hoping for her mother in law’s death it was always met with a defiant, “I am still alive.” Also, Sandy who was most dangerous during any hunt, and her mother Ugga (Catherine Keener) were quite awesome to watch, but they were not needed in a deep sense, as they put in really minor roles.
I doff of my hat to Grug (Nicholas Cage) I honestly believe he was the best actor in this cast. He made me laugh out the loudest whenever he tried to think throughout the movie. His thinking process at the end where he bangs himself with rocks and makes out a face like a three year old who is taking bitter medicine was hilarious. However, where he truly cracked me up was when he created his own snapshot which involved a rock being hurled at his face. Another of his wacky creations were the stone made shades which totally impaired anyone’s vision. When asked about his ideas and where they come from Grug answers, “Since I don’t have a brain, they are coming from my stomach.” Anyway the comic histrionics aside, Grug made Fred Flintstone proud.
VISUAL EFFECTS, COSTUMES AND LOCATIONS
The world created in The Croods was quite creative to say the least. There is just too much to cover. However, the main focus for their creative output was animal mash-ups. There was a giant cat with the head of an owl minus the beak, a four-legged land whale, a parrot coloured sabre tooth tiger, pink piranha birds, a mammoth with a golden cheetah like skin with the custom black spots; this is but to mention a few. Even the environment was not spared as it got involved in the mash-ups, a frog whose tongue’s apex was a flower clearly shows this. The sea wasn’t spared from the mash ups either, as plants that protruded from the earth as seashells were plenty.
The most notable visual aspect of this movie is the amount of colour used. There is great emphasis on colour everywhere. It sees the world in a uniquely different colourful manner. It doesn’t matter if it is the redness of the desert, or the blueness of the sea, or the greenness of the forest, there is something about how they made the colours stand out.
The movie starts in what looks like the Grand Canyon and enters into a forest. After the forest there is what looks like giant ant pathways followed by a magnificent lake. By the way, the water in this movie looks great as it has a gloss and shine to it that makes it realistic. Lastly, the background music was based on mostly classical music and a little contemporary.
I came up with a single alternate ending that I found to be quite intriguing. However, note that I give a thumbs up to the happily ever after ending of the movie.
After the Croods including Guy and Belt make it to “Tomorrow” as they look at the beautiful paradise, Guy’s anecdote hunts them. In Guy’s story, Tomorrow is the land of many suns. Having that in mind we see these multitude of suns in the form of a meteor shower. Sadly, their struggle for survival seems not to be over. However, Grug as usual shouts, “Release the baby, it’s our only hope.” Sandy, being the toddler and most dangerous in the hunt, runs towards the meteors and roars at them as they approach impact. The meteors shaken than converse and decide to go to Mars instead and retrace their steps away from earth. The smallest of them saves the planet, thee end.
Great movie to watch, or if you are planning something for the kids you definitely have to pick this up. Never a dull moment throughout all its scenes, definitely another must watch. The cast of Nicholas Cage and co. will have you laughing incredulously. I give the movie a three out of five stars. Do you have some strong feelings on any of the accounts regarding the actors or the rating? Tell me what you think, please feel free to leave a comment.