Director: Kirk DiMicco & Chris Saunders
Nominated: Best Animated Feature
I find Dreamworks films are a bit hit and miss with me. While initially I enjoyed Shrek (2001, Andrew Adamson & Vicky Jenson) I quickly grew bored with the series (I didn’t even bother with the fourth film) and Puss In Boots (2011, Chris Miller) was atrocious, a perfect example of secondary characters not strong enough to carry their own movie. On the flip side I absolutely love the Despicable Me films (2010 & 2013, Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud) … but more on them later as Despicable Me 2 is also nominated in this category.
I’m kind of indifferent to The Croods – I didn’t dislike it but equally I didn’t love it. It’s quite an intense film with many tension filled moments, especially for a children’s film. There are numerous moments of serious jeopardy where you really are unsure of the outcome which results in a surprisingly emotional film.
The film is rich, vibrant and colorful with an extraordinary mix of oddities. None of the creatures are single species but rather made up of unusual combinations of species. The elephant mice are particularly cute.
I thought the family dynamics of The Croods played really well. It was fun to see Nicolas Cage voice a character who is fundamentally cautious beyond reason as his career is dominated by characters who routinely throw caution to the wind without a second thought. And I loved how desperately he wishes for the demise of his batty, ancient mother-in-law. it becomes the running joke that after every dangerous moment she emerges triumphantly stating “Still alive” followed by his put upon sigh. Granny is a fun character.
Emma Stone’s Ugg is an infectiously enthusiastic character, full of curiosity who you cannot but help respond to. She’s the basis for the most moving emotional journey as she overcomes the differences holding her back from having a relationship with her father. And of course she’s the focus for the love interest as she falls for Guy … the only make not from her family. Guy, voiced by Ryan Reynolds is very much the modern man with new approaches to everything and a multitude of ideas, including inventing shoes! His pet ‘Belt” is adorable while being an essential part of his survival.
It was an enjoyable film with some really quite wacky creatures beautifully animated but so far it hasn’t even come close to matching Despicable Me 2.