The Croods, billed as ˜from the makers of Ice Age’ should tell you everything you need to know about Dreamworks latest animated film. The prehistoric mega-franchise that spawned so many sequels and made millions of dollars would obviously inspire pretenders and similarly themed films. Dreamworks, those responsible are clearly looking for a new franchise to take over from the slightly sagging and completely flogged to death series, hence, The Croods.
Free-spirited cave girl Eep (Emma Stone) is the youngest daughter in the Crood family. After a sit-down, her father Grug (Nicolas Cage) tells a story about a young girl, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Eep, which warns her not to go exploring. Ignoring her father’s obvious attempts to keep her in the cave, she heads out alone and meets and befriends Guy (Ryan Reynolds). The two however are attacked and Guy runs as Grug appears to save his daughter. When the Crood family return to their home, they discover an earthquake has destroyed it. Upset, they notice the natural disaster has revealed a new land behind the rocky landscape they’re used to and with nothing of their home left, they venture out into the unknown together.
Originally earmarked as one of the films that Aardman would produce for Dreamworks, The Croods was eventually handed over to their own animation department. This change is never more evident in this very mundane animation than in the comedy stakes. Considering the high-concept idea, a travelling family of cavemen looking for a new cave, there is very little comedy within its lithe 90-minute running time. One particular scene where Eep discovers her first pair of shoes gets the biggest laugh, but other than that the story, characters and jokes are disappointingly lacking.
Like its most obvious and recent predecessor Ice Age, The Croods struggles with a weak narrative and not enough jokes to be considered a classic. But also like Ice Age, it’s cute throwaway fun that will keep younger children entertained throughout.