The season of staying home and watching a film on the couch is now upon us, it only makes sense it clear out a little room for some animated fun for the whole family. From the makers of "How To Train Your Dragon" we go all the way back to a previously unknown chapter in history of our planet as we meet one of the world's very first families as they set out on adventure, because to "The Croods" everything is brand spanking new and the world is still trying to figure everything out.
"The Croods" are ultimately forced to set out on the adventure of a lifetime as the cave that has always been their home is destroyed. Traveling across an incredible never before seen landscape this first family are rocked by generational clashes and seismic shifts as they discover this new world with fantastic creatures and challenges that they could have never imagined as their outlook on the world is changed forever.
This was a legitimate surprise, as this heartwarming animated comedy was surprisingly evolved considering the setting in the prehistoric, Palaeolithic or whatever era. Co-written and directed by Chris Sanders, "The Croods" is an eye-popping, visually stunning adventure that steers away from any hokey set-ups, instead maxing out the inherent comedy in the family dynamic to its fullest potential. Every single frame of this story has purpose and goes the extra mile in adding depth of field to this wonderful world as well as allowing the audience to genuinely connect and relate to this family looking for a new home. It's filled with enough zingers to make the kids happy and enough slick and very witty jokes to make the parents appreciate the experience and not regret having picked up the Blu-Ray in the first place as it all unfolds at a very lean and mean pace. It also gave some good body image messages as well as our heroine who sparked interest from the cute boy was incredibly fit with huge arm and somewhat gawky, bucking the standard lithe, skinny flowery princess female image that has populated animated films for years. The entire experience manages to balance the blunt slapstick comedy with a wholesome and nice message for anyone young and old, thanks to the great work from the voice cast as they all drive this home.
A loaded voice cast was lead with a fun turn from Nicolas Cage as the voice of the father of "The Croods" named Grug. It was a surprisingly nuanced performance as he walked the line between caring father and grunting caveman, he managed to milk the comedic moments for all they worth and was an anchor for the entire thing. Emma Stone was perfect as our plucky young heroine Eep and Ryan Reynolds matched her energy as Guy who they met on their adventure. Catherine Keener, Clark Duke and Cloris Leachman round out this wonderful ensemble cast, and every young child out there (not to mention a few adults I could mention) will want their very own version of "Belt", easily the cutest animated sidekick since "Berry" in "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2" now playing in theatres.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are simply first rate as these vibrant characters and colourful landscapes pop off the screen. Special features include an extended look at the Croodaceous creatures of The Croods, a look at "Belt's Cave Journal" some deleted scenes, a tutorial on how to draw the characters from the film and the theatrical trailer.
"The Croods" is a delight because it never talks down to its audience and if anything it brings them up and along for a visually thrilling and fun ride for the entire family.
4 out of 5 stars.