Movie review: The Croods - What kids can teach us

Published: May 14, 2013
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Comfort zones can turn into cages if we stop discovering what’s out there.

Comfort zones can turn into cages if we stop discovering what’s out there.

In theory we want our children to grow up to be fearless and adventurous. We wish we had a little more spunk and didn’t scare so easy ourselves. A film like The Croods reminds us of those noble aspirations in a time when the instinct of Pakistani parents to protect their children keeps them from discovering the world.

At the centre of this animated 3D comedy is the feisty broad-faced girl Eep (Emma Stone), whose character is worlds apart from the stereotype of the slender heroine with a well-coiffed do. Eep’s thirst for adventure sets her at odds with her father Grug (Nicholas Cage) who puts safety at the top of his family’s needs — no one leaves the cave or does anything new.

As history has taught us, this philosophy of life worked in prehistoric times, which has been lusciously recreated by the team at DreamWorks who worked with writer-directors Chris Sanders and Kirk DiMicco. The problem is that your comfort zone can become a cage.

Luckily for Eep, an earthquake marks the start of her adventure as it forces her father Grug to abandon the cave with his family and embark on a road trip that will change the course of their lives forever. Thus The Croods is a story of survival, discovery and adventure packaged with slapstick humour and plenty of action. It is perhaps the story of today as well for are not all families trying to cope with change and a generation gap.

Natural calamity is not the only twist in this adventure. Guy (Ryan Reynolds) enters the picture. His relatively modern lifestyle, which includes animal skin shoes, eating from a plate and the ability to light a fire, give this primitive story an additional spark. Combined with his survival instinct and a mind full of ideas, Guy gives the Croods a lesson in embracing change without fear.

Though full of fun, this visual marvel does drag at certain points with repetitive hunting sequences and apart from Grug, Eep and Guy the other characters (Ugga, the attractive mom, Thunk, the chubby middle child, Sandy, the toddler with an insatiable appetite and Gran, Ugga’s mother) contribute little to the overall plot. This is a small price to pay for an important lesson though.

Watch out for these animation movies

1.Monsters University

The much-awaited prequel to 2001’s Monsters, Inc, is finally set to release in June. Set about 10 years before the events of Monsters, Inc, this film will show Mike Wazowski and James P Sullivan as an inseparable pair, wasn’t always the case. Monsters University unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.

 2. Epic

We never tire of the good old-fashioned battles between Good and Evil. This time-tested formula was used by the creators of Ice Age and Rio, to tell the story of a teenage girl who finds herself magically transported into a secret universe, which she ends up saving with help from a team of whimsical characters.

3.Planes

Cars created quite a buzz in 2006 so we’re hoping Planes can soar high as well. After Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, director Klay Hall introduces you to Dusty, a crop-dusting plane who dreams of competing in a famous aerial race. But, what’s stopping him from realising his dreams is well, a fear of heights.

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, May 12th, 2013.

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