“The Croods” Talkback

Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco’s The Croods opens today in the United States along with over 45 other countries. Critics haven’t been particularly kind, and the film has a mild 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (as of this writing). Typical comments include Richard Corliss in Time who complained that, “The family-dramedy genre that the film inhabits demands a bit more narrative ingenuity than is on display,” and Leslie Felperin in Variety who wrote that the film “adopts a relatively primitive approach to storytelling with its Flintstonian construction of stock, ill-fitting narrative elements.”

The good news is that mainstream audiences disagree with the critics. They’ve given The Croods a robust 87% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

So who do you agree with? Check out the film and report back here with your opinion in the comments below. As usual, the talkback is open only to those who have actually seen the film and wish to share an opinion about it.


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000930289041 Matthew Perdue

    The films is good though maybe not great. Some of the elements like Grug hating his mother are never really given any background and it’s never really explained how Guy became so civilized by comparison to The Croods. Still it’s a beautiful film and has some pretty good comedy and a lot of emotion towards the end.

  • Roberto González

    I loved it. It was much better than I was expecting, and I was expecting ok at least. The human designs are kinda ugly but they look better in animated form and seriously, it’s a lot funnier than the trailers made it look. The first two ‘prologues’ : the 2D painted one and the Croods hunting were fantastic. Even though there are the emotional parts and typical conflicts I kinda liked it that they were fighting all the time, it made them look more like cavemen and it was kind of a parody of the ‘family film’. And the animals were great too, loved the tiger, typical Sanders. I think the humans look a lot better in the 2D designs, but I guess the CGI made the movie more spectacular. I especially enjoyed the soundtrack, Alan Silvestri has always been one of my favourites. The family was a lot more likeable than I expected them to be. Sandy was great. The plot could have been a little better maybe, but I thought the details were perfect.

  • Kiki L

    I really loved the character designs, but the story itself wasn’t great to me. The female protagonist’s shift from being fiercely independent and wanting to do her own thing to completely hanging all over the love interest and doing everything he suggested brushed me the wrong way.

    Still, again, the visuals were wonderful. I loved the ‘ugly’ designs on the humans, and the animals were all adorable! Those lizard dogs were probably my favorite. ;)

  • bob kurtz

    one funny film!!!!!

  • D

    I liked it but I did not love it. While this film was far better than many of the films released after Dreamworks big breakout picture How to Train Your Dargon, The Croods for me still feels like a middle of the road film, allow me to elaborate. For me this film has style in spades but misses out on the substance, substance of course being critical to any great movie including family animated films.

    Visually this is one of the best looking things Dreamworks has produced, this should be a no brainer to anyone who has seen the trailers and paid attention to the Cartoon Brew posts of the artists working on this production. The elements that particularly stood out for me was the character designs/animation and environment designs.

    The character designs were really quite expressive and their animation really well done, if I were to think of a CG “cartoon” character many of the characters form The Croods would come to mind. The characters have a really cartoony senisbility to how they are designed and animated and it is quite a joy to watch.

    The background designs were bold and vibrant. It was nice to see area designs and locales that were not going for an aesthetic sense of realism but instead were opting for an immersive one of a kind universe. The area designs are vibrant, colorful and had a really nice organic feel to them, watching the film you almost feel like your there so kudos to this department.

    On a side note the prologues as Roberto mentioned were also highlights of the film visually, they had a really nice feel to them and the animation was fluid, as soon as I saw these traditional 2D prologues I thought it would one up the rest of the film visually but much to my surprise as I have mentioned above this was not the case.

    Visually there is nothing wrong with the film it is extremely well done but when it comes to substance this is where the film has its problems. The Storyline itself is nothing new, a stone age dysfunctional family unit (The Flinstones anyone), and while it looks like the film is going to take a unique approach to this angle in the beginning with the overloading of their barbaric caveman characteristics as the film starts to progress it spirals into the banal and predictable.

    The film becomes one big dysfunctional family comedy and I’m sorry but for a film this visually engaging that really sucks you out of it as a whole. The film is so safe and predicatable in terms of its story and joke telling that by the half-way mark you know more a less where everything is going. The plot the jokes everything just feels phoned in and predictable.

    The Characters are also weak because much like the storyline and setup the characters themselves are predictable and generic. For me not even the voice actors could save these characters from feeling contrived and often times obnoxious. I am not saying that the characters needed to be completely original in my opinion there is no such thing as an original character anymore but hey the writing staff could have taken a more unique approach to these character types. This films characters also could have worked as an ensemble cast but once again for that to work there needs to be a good interesting dynamic between the characters and alas there is no great dynamic between them just the same basic family dynamic that has been done to death by countless other television shows, animated series and films.

    Overall I am feeling a 6.5-7 and that is for the visuals alone which believe me are outstanding but if your looking for a film that has both quality animation and substance you best keep looking. Sadly the whole computer animation scene at present can best be described as style over substance and that is The Croods in a nutshell.

  • burymylovely

    The opening hunting scene was fantastic. Great use of “Tusk” and they even got the USC marching band back for the score.

    The rest of the movie I’d rate good to very good. Except for one cringe worthy embarrassingly ridiculous scene with Grug. But the design is great. I like that the characters don’t look like every other animated character in films. Disney should take some notes. And while the story is simple and you know where its going, the characters have very genuine emotions and arcs. They don’t act for selfish reasons and yet, there’s still conflict. That’s the most refreshing aspect for me.

  • Josh M.

    Here are my scrambled thoughts, in no particular order:

    (WARNING: SPOILERS APLENTY!)

    It’s funnier than we’ve been led to believe.

    Yes, there are plenty of the “I call them…” jokes from the trailers, but there are also a lot of smaller, sometimes silent jokes that are EVEN BETTER. Everything with Sandy is an A+. Eep’s facial expressions (both in favor of Guy and in frustration with her father) are hilarious — cartoonishly exaggerated, yet wholly relatable. Guy is the PERFECT comedic ‘straight man.’ He spends much of the film flinching, ducking and trying to hide his fear and confusion with his new found companions. Yes, he’s cool and stylish and intelligent, but whenever he’s surrounded by (or trapped by) (or having the life squeezed out of him by) the Croods clan, he’s reduced to a wiggly, twitchy, uncomfortable ball of raw nerves.

    It’s more emotional than we’ve been led to believe.

    Remember the first trailer? The one that was all awe and spectacle? Remember how emotionally engaging that was, how it put a lump in your throat and a pit in your stomach and some helium in your head? Well, the actual film is like that…times a hundred. The Croods is not afraid to go serious, to go sad, to go downright heart-wrenching. There are three moments near the end of the film where you or someone with you will cry. THREE! Don’t get me wrong. The Croods also has plenty of incredibly uplifting moments. There’s a whole montage made up of nothing but the Croods’ happy, new experiences that will have you smiling from ear to ear. And the tender moments? The ones between Grug and Eep, Grug and Ugga, and Eep and Gran? They will make you reach out and hold the hand of the loved one sitting beside you. Sure, they’re cartoon characters. But the emotions being portrayed, the familial struggles being enacted, the love and loss and fear and desire — they are all palpably real.

    It’s BEAUTIFUL.

    Small clips and trailer snippets will do little to prepare you for the stunning scenery on display in The Croods. Animated films usually fit into one of two categories: Capitol-A Artistic or Super-duper-silly. You’ve got your Studio Ghibli, and you’ve got your Looney Tunes. The Croods is both. I already told you how funny it was. But my goodness — it’s GORGEOUS. Every new environment that the Croods enter is an eye-popping display of rainbow colors and unleashed imaginations. This is a fast-paced movie, one that doesn’t linger on any one thing for too long. But if the filmmakers had wanted to, they could have easily sat for half the film in any one of these vibrant vistas and the audience would have never gotten bored by what was onscreen. You know how a lot of times there is a huge gap between the preproduction art and the stuff that finally makes it up onto the screen? Not so with the backgrounds in this film. What’s in the movie is every bit as stunning as what’s in The Art of The Croods.

    Chunky the Death Cat is just as adorable as you’d imagined.

    In fact, one of my few gripes with the film is that there should have been MORE CHUNKY in it. Then again, I once spent a week eating nothing but Lucky Charms, so maybe I’m not all that rational when it comes to rationing out the good stuff.

    Nic Cage is PERFECT.

    Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Clark Duke, Chris Sanders — they’re all wonderful in respective voice roles. But Nic Cage is exceptionally good. So good, in fact, that you’ll rarely (if ever) find yourself thinking that it’s even Nic Cage! He gives a seamless, selfless performance, imbuing the character of Grug with every possible emotional nuance, while doing nothing that would call attention to the Hollywood star behind the mic. You believe in Grug immediately and without interruption. Nic Cage is hilarious and heart-breaking in the role, and I could not imagine anyone else doing it half as well.

    Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco did NOT disappoint.

    Congratulations, Chris and Kirk (and everyone else involved)! You did it! You made a magical, memorable, I-can’t-wait-to-rewatch-it-as-soon-as-possible film. Me and my gal repeatedly laughed, gasped, and cried while watching it. We had a half hour drive coming home from the theater, and we talked about nothing else the entire time. Hell, we were still talking about it as we entered the house! As a huge Chris Sanders fan, I had some pretty high expectations. As the film’s release date drew near, I even began to get a little scared — What if The Croods doesn’t do it for me? I am delighted (and relieved!) to say that THE CROODS IS WONDERFUL.

    THANK-YOU, CHRIS AND KIRK!

    A few of my favorite moments:

    The long, silent scene of Eep chasing the flame.

    Sandy picking up Belt and holding him like a puppy.

    Sandy’s ‘shoes.’

    Ugga thanking Guy.

    The sadness and self-doubt in Grug’s face as he eavesdrops on his wife attempting to defend him.

    Absolutely EVERYTHING that Grug says while stuck in the tarpit.

    Grug painting the picture of his family.

    Grug: “Hey, I know that guy!”

    Gran and Eep’s moment on the edge of the cliff.

    Eep jumping into her father’s arms and shouting, “I love you!” (Yeah, I teared up just tying that!)

  • Deaniac

    Saw it tonight with my brother. I thought it was pretty solid. I ended up liking it more than I thought it would, and it was certainly funnier than the ads made it out to be.

    This film was yet another victim of being a decent movie with poor advertising. Most of the dramatic parts were heavily underplayed in the commercials, whereas the comedic parts received more focus. Pretty uneven, but such is the state of modern Hollywood. The story was nothing groundbreaking, but it was still a fun ride regardless. The characters were likable, the prehistoric animal hybrids were creative, and the visuals were incredible. Some moments like the family hunting scene at the very beginning were very well done and the 2D animated prologue/credits were cute.

    Overall, I enjoyed it and I hope it breaks even at the box office. Dreamworks Animation could reeeally use a win after Rise Of The Guardians bombed (which was also a great movie). All things considered, the company has come a long way between this and films like Shark Tale or…Bee Movie. HUUUEGHHH.

  • John S

    Those critics are soulless morons. The movie is great. If Pixar had made this movie, they would have dropped to their knees and started sucking like there there was no tomorrow. It’s fun, inventive and imaginative.

    • Ringtail Badger

      Ah, no. Fun movie, worth the price of admission. Especially noteworthy graphic design. Plot could have used a bit more polishing.

  • Rezz

    The film was much better than I expected. Dreamworks
    marketing team is like a terrible tumor….they truly have to change that
    department. Convincing friends to watch this film has been incredibly
    difficult, since everyone cringes at the trailer and how it was marketed.

    The film was great, I enjoyed it much more than Dragons
    since the characters felt much more believable and pretty much no plot holes
    strings to yank. The overall story is predictable, however it’s a great
    surprise to see how they reach their goals and how they present the characters
    arcs.

    The visuals were stunning and only helped strengthen, how
    out of their elements they really were. Vs Rise of the Guardians which was visually
    awesome but with no payoff or meaning. Guardians felt more like “LOOK WHAT WE CAN DO, AM I PRETTY ENOUGH TO BE LOVED NOW?!!” while croods is using their strong visual vocabulary to help strengthen the story’s journey, rather than pull you out.

    This didn’t felt like a typical dreamworks movie and it’s a
    shame a lot of people are going to miss out on a good movie.

  • http://twitter.com/asiandawnmvmnt Justin

    I really enjoyed it, I didn’t really have any big expectations going in. My decision to see it was based solely on Chris Sanders’ involvement. My only regret was not seeing it in 3D. A lot of it looked like the environments were designed be enhanced by 3D, not just have a bunch of gimicky stuff jumping out at the audience. It made for a good afternoon.

  • Mac

    Fractal genesis. I thought it was brilliant in every shot. Keep it up Dreamworks, your best days are ahead of you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Sullivan/100001833542564 Matt Sullivan

    Thank GOD there was no dance sequence at the end. STOP DOING THAT animation industry!

    • Funkybat

      I guess the post-trailer gag was meant to appease the audience members let down that there was no big pop-music dance sequence at the end, because otherwise it was pretty random and pointless (if cute!)

  • Roberto González

    I must add that I liked the message of the movie and I thought it was told it well, even though there were some aspects of the plot and character development that were either cliche or underdeveloped (not Grandma-Grug confrontation, that was cliche and old fashioned maybe, but fun in these politically correct days). I mean, I’m normally don’t look so much for message or emotional and I’m more a fan of creative and fun, especially in animated films-though of course you can have all kinds of animated films, but creative visuals and humor works especially well in animation.

    Anyways, even though the whole dad/daughter/boyfriend thing wasn’t especially new I liked how the dad had to adapt and became less ‘ignorant’ in order to survive and what Eep said about living being more than ‘not dying’ was quite deep for a family film. For this and the imaginative visuals I thought it came close to Pixar quality, or even better at parts, though maybe it was a little uneven here and there, but I think it kinda had a better idea of what a family animated film should offer than many of the other movies we usually see.

  • Funkybat

    I’ve had to give some thought to what I want to say about this movie, I saw it on Friday but am still kind of mulling it over. The Croods was an enjoyable and entertaining film, with some really top-notch set design, cinematography and music. (Alan Silvestri was a nice surprise.) The character designs didn’t bother me as much as I thought they would, and was pleasantly surprised that Nic Cage’s voice acting had character and not just “Nic Cage delivering lines.”

    I do feel like the story was rather simple are predictable. The film successfully avoided many of the “stereotypical DreamWorks” traits that people love to bag on, such as an over-reliance on pop culture gags and obligatory dance scene at the end. I found the “hunting for breakfast” sequence to be a clever nod to the origins of America’s preeminent sport, and loved the inventiveness of the prehistoric creatures. Eep’s “journey” seemed to get hijacked by the introduction of Guy, and the conflict shifts over to Guy and Grug, with Eep kind of forgotten about. I liked the family dynamic (and how Guy was weirded out by being thrown in with their lot) but many of the relationships felt underdeveloped. A little more backstory on why Grug hates his mother-in-law (beyond the fact that everyone knows the cliche) would have been nice. Maybe one of the stories could have told of how she bested him at something, or how she helps Ugga win arguments with him.

    The Croods was a fun movie, and I hope it’s successful for DreamWorks (the box office numbers are looking good so far.) I do feel like it could have been even better, even though there’s really nothing that leaps out at me that’s “wrong.” I guess that’s what made reviewing this movie so difficult, because there’s nothing really bad about it in any way, but some things just felt off somehow.

  • Nina Shewchuk

    It was okay. I actually really liked the characters’ designs. I liked that the females especially weren’t made to look “cute”. They were strong and powerful, with hard skin and scars, and a tendency to snarl. They weren’t teenage Pebbles.
    The animation was breathtaking. Dreamworks really has a way with animating very fast-paced scenes full of weird angles and movement. One of the most memorable scenes was the scene with Eep climbing up the side of the cliff before the family goes to sleep. I can only imagine what it’d look like in IMAX. It almost gave me vertigo. Beautiful.
    I also loved the scene in which the light from Guy’s torch is shining into the cave, and Eep runs around the cave trying to catch it.
    I found the humour to be pretty weak, though. It isn’t as witty as some of Dreamworks’s other films. But I guess the humour suits the nature of the story. A story about cavemen doesn’t really lend itself to something sharp and zingy. You’d expect more physical comedy and wacky slapstick.
    I might pick it up when it comes out on Blu-Ray.

  • Pedro

    I could have watched an entire movie of the 2D cave painting animation in the begining. It had a very UPA style to it. As for the rest of the movie there was no plot. It was a travel from point A to point B while the directors were hitting the laugh button/cry button along the way.

  • OtherDan

    Thought I wouldn’t like Cage as the dad, but I was wrong. He was great and fun in the best Cagien sense. The imaginary world and expressive, wild creatures were stunning – particularly, the creatures with Sander’s appeal. The efx were unreal. It was really enjoyable. I loved that insane opening chase sequence-so funny! Being a dad I suppose, I really liked the issues and arc he went through.

  • gepinniw

    I liked it quite a bit. There were lots of interesting ideas here. I liked how the story mixed scientific reality with fantasy, for example the idea of neandethals co-existing with homo sapiens, and the existence of megafauna were explored wonderfully. The brutality of a subsistence existence was well developed, I thought.

    As others have said, the characters were very well animated. The running gait of the Croods was really funny and very well animated, and the pratfalls were amazing. The dad’s “I have ideas” sequence was really something.

    I thought the eep character was quite vivid, and the hints of sexual attraction between her and the young man were very well done, indeed.

    The mom and son character were pretty flat over all. Their design wasn’t as interesting as the others, and the script didn’t give them too much to do, either. The baby character was great, though. “Release the baby!” Lol.

    A couple of times the 24 fps motion blur was quite bad. I hate 3D, so I saw it in 2D, but I was thinking this might’ve looked better in 48 fps. I don’t think 48fps would be suitable for live action, but for CGI animation it might be appropriate?