Coming Of Age With The Croods

Forget the 3D glasses, theater box offices should provide a packet of Kleenex with your movie ticket purchase because there certainly isn’t a shortage of sentimental daddy/daughter plot lines in the multiplexes lately. The Croods continues this heartstrings-a-tugging trend with a none-too-subtle girl meets boy, girl falls for boy, boy tries to escape, dad puts boy in a hollow log and carries him for miles story arc contained inside a coming of age (literally) tale of a Caveman family, a handsome modernizing dude (named “Guy”), and the looming end of prehistoric times as marked by the breaking apart of tectonic plates.

The visually stunning animated film (from the folks behind How To Train Your Dragon and Rio) transitions beautifully from a dusty hard-edged world dotted with caves, dead trees, and fierce hungry predators, to the new world of lush greenery, tropical animals who’d rather punch your face than eat it, and the invention of fire. The Croods changing natural world mirrors the changing world of Epp, the family’s teenage cavegirl who longs for a life that is lived rather than one defined only by not dying.  The evolution of the characters is worth noting, especially papa Grug’s struggle to cope with his oldest daughter becoming enchanted by a male figure who represents the polar opposite of himself, while having his own very old fashion ideas tested and exposed. Also interesting is the appearance change in Mama Crood (who’s hair in the final 1/3 of the film is remarkable) and the baby who in and around the cave was presented as the rambunctious, albeit adorable, household pet but later becomes an adorable little girl. Metaphors, them all, for the evolution of the planet and of those who will continue to inhabit it.

Parents not interested in rushing their young kids through childhood should know that there is a heavy dose of teenage infatuation at play in the budding relationship of Epp and Guy, but that it’s presented in a playful enough way that it never feels gratuitous or exploitative. And that the violence and scare factor is at times extreme but none of the characters are ever in too much immediate danger or peril.

The Croods is an exhilarating romp through time, and makes a terrific Spring Break family movie, even if it’ll cause dads of daughters to tear up ever so slightly.

After seeing the film, download The Croods Movie Storybook Deluxe App so your kids can continue exploring the storyline. The app doesn’t dazzle with a bevy of visual images, often using a single static animated still from the movie for every 2-3 scenes worth of script, but what you do get in the app that you don’t in the movie is this:

  • The ability to change outfit patterns for Epp and Guy and have that caveman attire featured throughout the storybook.
  • The hilarious names and personalities of the fictional mash-up animals. This part is hilarious. I’m not going to spoil the surprises by revealing the species names — you will have to discover them for yourself.

And hey, I can help you do that. I’ve got a free download code (for an iOS device —  iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) to give away. Leave a comment below and I will pick someone at random next week to win the code.

the croods app

*OWTK was provided with an app download code for review consideration. I paid for the movie out of my own pocket.

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