I've seen plenty of animation movies over the years and as the bar is raised each and every time in relation to graphics, effects and more recently, 3D each one seems harder and harder to critique. You just know that behind the familiar voices there are teams of animators, designers etc who have pain stakingly spent months developing ideas and visuals that wow the movie goers however in each case, one thing seems to let most of them down - the story.
When you think about, were so caught up in the visual masterpiece bestowed upon us we forget that the stories are mostly lame but we don't seem to care. Sometimes they are so unfunny that we only end up humoured by the dizzy antics of whoever were supposed to be laughing along with on screen at the time and normally, that's enough but its about time an animation covered both aspects. Fantastic to look at but also a script and story that's hilarious to watch - and The Croods managed to cover them all.
This movie opens with a family of Neanderthals - The Croods. Stepping outside of their cave for the first time in about 3 days to hunt, you quickly get a feel for the make-up of the whole family. Grug, a very protective Dad (Nic Cage), his understanding beloved Ugga (Keener) and her Mother, the hilarious Gran. Then there are the three kids. Eldest Thunk, who follows his fathers every word, the completely adorable, albeit rabid baby Sandy and the adventurous and completely impressionable Eep, played by Emma Stone.
The opening scenes of this movie are some of the funniest I've seen in a while, let alone in an animation and the first 10 minutes is taken up with a hilarious egg chase for breakfast, covering what seems like miles but each taking a turn to fend off the wildlife to ensure they get too eat. Quickly after, Eep discovers Guy (Ryan Reynolds) a seemingly more intelligent version of man and one that could easily be deemed as the next advancement in the human race from Caveman to Homosapien as Guy has these new things called ideas and invents necessities such as shoes and belts! (assisted by Belt - an adorable Lemur like creature)
Guy determines the world is going to end (when in fact it just the continents separating) and as a collective, convinces them all to go with him or face certain destruction - something Grug has a real problem dealing with as he slowly watches his family entrust themselves to another, for the very first time.
The adventure they set put upon sees them battle big cats, treacherous terrain and uncertainty of survival - something they've never had to encounter before but obviously - its all going to work out in the end.
All of the cast in this are fantastic - the Stone / Reynolds relationship is brilliant as is Nic Cage as the oafish but caring father figure. Gran is a stand out performance, portrayed by Cloris Leachman and the hate / hate relationship between her and Grug is responsible for many a chuckle along the way.
I was expecting yet another bore of a movie to a visually stunning backdrop but what I got here was something I unexpectedly thoroughly enjoyed - from start to finish.
If you haven't seen this yet then get yourselves down to the cinema over the Easter Holidays - Enjoy!.