The Croods is a coming-of-age story, with neanderthal Eep (voiced by Emma Stone) looking for something outside of the safety and security provided by her dark cave and overbearing father (Nicolas Cage). With impending doom on the horizon, the family must rely less on brute strength to survive and are helped by the homo sapien Guy (Ryan Reynolds).
Despite hits such as Chicken Run, Dreamworks has historically taken a back seat to both Disney and Pixar in the animation game, possibly due to continuing to release increasingly more average films featuring the same characters until the original classic becomes just another film in the franchise (Shrek, Madagascar).
However, with Disney (Dinosaur) having failed to capture the imagination in prehistoric animations, and Pixar suffering the same fate in 2015 (The Good Dinosaur), perhaps Dreamworks saw an opportunity to create some success where their competition had floundered – without factoring in the runaway success of Blue Sky’s Ice Age.
To an extent, The Croods succeeds where Disney failed, creating a script and plot that is littered with adult friendly jokes, such as jibes at the mother-in-law, as well as catering to teen escapism and toddler slapstick. Perhaps it is just the lack of white in the palette, but The Croods also feels newer and fresher, than Ice Age, if not as charming or clever.
Still, there is something on offer for all the family, and with The Croods: A New Age on the horizon in the UK (and already released in the US), perhaps catching The Croods now, before it is consigned to being just another Dreamworks franchise, is your best bet to get the most out of the film.