Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Uncivilized goodness

Surprisingly fresh despite its recycling of old themes, “The Croods” is a wild and wacky cartoon adventure about a family of cavemen that fears change. But the naturally curious teen, Eep (voiced by Emma Stone), meets the intrepid explorer Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who shows them different ways of surviving the world outside their cave.

Colorful and vividly realized, “The Croods” is bustling with energetic designs and kinetic imagery. Co-directed by Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco, it has a sturdy focus on its tight multi-character dynamic, substantially developing the three central ones—Eep, Guy and Crug (the dad voiced by Nic Cage)—while giving the rest ample exposure and perfunctory duties that still complement the main transformations.

Interestingly, it’s similar to the “Ice Age” movies in the sense that a prehistoric period is used as a backdrop and the characters are affected by massive changes in their surroundings. “The Croods” also has its own take on the creatures that inhabit their largely unexplored world, home to beautifully rendered beasts and imaginatively designed flora. The Croods and their fun realm deserve to expand into a series of films, perhaps replicate its attention to its core themes, while improving the less-developed characters and ideas next time.

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