WITH three family films being released this week, it must be the school holidays.
And between little blue aliens and talking birds, the pick of the bunch seems to be The Croods.
This is the first DreamWorks Animation film to be put out by 20th Century Fox and it follows an over-cautious prehistoric family on the hunt for a new home.
Led by uber-protective father Grug (Nicolas Cage), the Croods are forced to evolve and modify their lifestyle after years of hiding in caves to survive the dangerous world of unique creatures and predators.
The thorn in Grug’s side is a rebellious teenage daughter named Eep. Eep is curious, adventurous and eager to try new things, something the family has avoided for years.
When Eep has a chance encounter with the resourceful and more-evolved man named Guy, she is eager to travel with him as he searches for high-ground amid the changing world (depicted as the continents drifting apart).
Caught between the old ways and new ideas, the family must stick together to survive the end of their world as they know it.
The Croods is full of fantastic voice talent led by the recognisable Cage.
Emma Stone (Easy A, Crazy Stupid Love) does a grand job of putting her personality into the film as Eep, while Ryan Reynolds (The Green Lantern, Safe House) is entertaining as the perplexed but patient guy.
Catherine Keener, Clark Duke and Cloris Leachman also lend their voices to help round out the family.
The story for The Croods was written by Monty Python’s John Cleese along with Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders, who also adapted the screenplay and directed the film.
De Micco has also written other screenplays for family films, while Sanders has written for Disney classics The Lion King and Aladdin as well as the more recent How To Train Your Dragon.
Sanders also voiced Stitch in Lilo and Stich and plays Guy’s pet sloth Belt in The Croods.
The world the trio have created in writing The Croods is imaginative and beautiful.
With the film set in pre-historic times before clear evolution, there are a number of creatures that clearly haven’t fully evolved.
On display is a blue whale with four legs, a wonderfully coloured sabre-tooth cat and a large duck-like bird with ram horns.
Colour is also key to the film as the Croods follow the sun in search of a new home. They quickly leave behind the grey and red rocks of home and encounter a vibrant palette in a forest full of new and interesting things.
The plot might take a turn to the cliched side every now and then but the cast and crew have worked hard to make an original film with a familiar feel.
In all, The Croods is a colourful, funny, clever, entertaining and cautiously-adventurous comedy that the family can enjoy this holidays.
The Verdict: 3½ stars.
- The Croods (PG) is now showing at Bendigo Cinemas.