The Croods Review

The Croods

“Daddy, when can we go ice skating again?”

It’s the question every parent dreads, and as my excuses become less and less plausible so my crippling terror feels ever more transparent.

You see, ice is hard, extremely hard, with absolutely no soft bits.

Harder still is finding respite from my daughter’s relentless requests for a return to the treacherous ice rink.

Or the sound of a child’s mocking laughter as a beached adult yelps in pain, which is what happened last time around.

So when an offer to review a suitably child friendly film arrived with the boon of bringing a +1 along for the ride, I jumped at the opportunity.

And stuck the landing far more gracefully than my last bambi-esque effort, for which my lower back still hasn’t forgiven me.

There’s just one problem, getting Mrs F on board with the idea of taking our seven year old daughter to Soho on a school night.

Being a man accustomed to the nuances of marriage, I floated the idea as homework instead; working on the angle that our pride and joy could also write a review for her class.

And even if Mrs F saw straight through this, which she probably did, she’s faced with the simple choice of maybe dragging an exhausted child to school or the certain embarrassment of being seen in public with your husband and the cushion he’s stuffed down his underpants.

There’s another added bonus, for inside my odd little mind the idea of a young schoolgirl going to watch a press screening of the latest DreamWorks animated feature makes her the coolest kid in class.

What that makes her father, well I’ll leave you to decide upon that.

Anyway, there’s a film to review somewhere in amongst all this.

The Croods is a 3D comedy adventure about a prehistoric family who, as luck would have it, are pretty much identical to every cartoon family you’ve seen on tv.

So we’ve got the occasionally flawed but loving and lovable parents, their rebellious teenage daughter, a dim-witted son who idolises his father and a baby who appears to be more small warthog than actual child type thing.

Through luck more than judgement, The Croods have managed to survive everything the pre-historic world has thrown at them.

This has been achieved mainly by spending almost their entire existence cooped up in a bijou cave, sealed from the elements and what seems to be an enormous man-eating owl by a giant rock.

Grug, the father, adopts the mantra ‘fear is good, never not be afraid’ and the family accept this as their lot, with the exception of his daughter Eep, who takes to sneaking out of their cave at night-time to explore the forbidden world around her.

In doing so she meets Guy, a boy who lives in the outside world alone, save for a pet sloth who also doubles up as a belt for his baggy trousers.

When, as Guy predicts with exceptional foresight, an earthquake hits destroying the family’s cave and seemingly everywhere else, The Croods are forced into accompanying Guy on a risky road trip to higher ground and safety.

Guy’s brightness and love of adventure only serve to encourage Eep’s curiosity and a gentle romance develops, causing conflict with Grug, who has no other ambition than the safekeeping his family.

Will Grug be able to adapt to the demands of the outside world to survive the journey and protect his loved ones?

The Croods

Cleverly directed by Chris Sanders, The Croods looks great.

The animation is excellent, prehistoric animals encountered along the journey are of the cute and fluffy variety, while the vivid and colourful landscapes created are even more effective as we see them through the eyes of family members as they do.

Beyond this, there’s not a huge amount going on; the dialogue’s pretty slow and the story is overly familiar, bog standard stuff.

Still, as a film to watch with family, The Croods is perfectly charming and good fun.

Besides, who couldn’t get on board with a story that’s all about a girl who loves her daddy?

And given the choice, I’d rather feel my daughter’s love whilst sitting down in a nice, comfortable chair then from the all too familiar sting of ice upon my flesh.

Frank Gardiner

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March 2013
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