Monday, June 24, 2013

The Croods

I don't wanna get off on a rant here—oh, who am I kidding? Of course, I wanna get off on a rant here. That's why I'm blogging while the rest of the world has gone to Twitter!

Anyway, this pseudo-prehistoric movie, The Croods features an all-star cast: Nicolas Cage as Grug, leader of his primitive family, Catherine Keener as Ugga, his wife, Ryan Reynolds as Guy, the smarter homo sapiens sapiens who is wooing daughter Eep, played by Emma Stone. Also, Grug's mother-in-law is voiced by Cloris Leachman. This last threw me off because it didn't sound like Betty White, and yet it seemed like it just had to be.

My gripe? This was completely unnecessary. Except (marginally) for Nicolas Cage, there was no reason to cast face actors in these roles. It could've been ten times better with any two random voice actors (one male, one female). And a few voice actors could've done all the roles, and made this more interesting.

But, yeah: Frank Welker and Tara Strong, or Billy West and Gray DeLisle, or Maurice Le Marche and E.G. Daly...seriously.

And all this because Robin Williams' schtick worked particularly well when some animators got a hold of it 20 years ago.

Again, not saying they were bad or anything, just...meh. Voice actors excel at what they do, that's why they do it. (A few prominent stars also have amazing vocal range, of course, but not many.

So, what about this movie? Well, The Barbarienne loved it, which is probably all you need to know. (Though she didn't rank it as highly as Oz due, apparently, to the lack of flying monkeys.)

It's not the Flintstones at all, so it's got that going for it. I was somewhat concerned about that, not being a Flintstones fan and being a fan of originality. It's possibly dumber, though maybe not offensively so.

The premise is that Grug's family lives alone in a cave that they hide in every night. Their motto is "never not be afraid". And they eke out a living from the difficult landscape, which is something like a terrestrialized version of underwater (e.g., there are underwater creatures, like whales, walking around on Darwinian legs).

The balance is upset with the presence of Guy, who seems a little more evolved (physically and mentally), and who is alone and a master of fire. He's fleeing the end of the world, as he calls it, and ends up leading Grug's family on a long journey.

The tension comes from Grug feeling emasculated by Guy's cleverness, and the movie is basically a struggle between the two of them over Eep, the rebellious daughter.

It's entertaining enough if you don't think about it at all. Some of the sequences are pretty good and there are a few amusing moments. The Boy didn't hate it.

I didn't either, though I went from semi-pleased that Grug seemed to be a reasonably competent father figure (of which there are few these days) to sort of annoyed that he was such a lunkhead, to sort of indifferent about the whole affair.

More annoying to me was: Where did these people come from? What was the plan for Eep and the son? How does a nuclear family make it in prehistoric times? And Guy's family is all killed so...he wanders around?

OK, but no. No thinking. Kiddie movie. Lots of bright colors. Only a little annoying 3D crap. Not awful. Go see. Or not. But if do, think like caveman. It help.

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