We know that often times we take our kids to what we think is a kid-friendly film only to find ourselves walking out with them crying or scared… not to mention the nightmares that keep the whole family up for days. What was supposed to be a pleasant family experience somehow went awry simply because we didn’t know much about the movie except for a misleading trailer that didn’t do its job of giving us the heads up. Well, we have pre-screened the 3D movie The Croods at the DreamWorks Animation campus, and we spoke with the filmmakers in detail to get an insider look into what you can expect before you take the kids to see it. Check out our all-encompassing guide so that you can actually walk out of the theatre with a happy and tear-free experience.
What is The Croods about?
The Croods is a 3D animation film by DreamWorks Animation. It is a family film about, well, a pre-historic yet modern family with the dynamics and struggles that mirror our own households. Grug, the strong father figure has kept his family safe in a cave through his belief that “fear is good, change is bad”. The rebellious teenage daughter challenges her father’s notions with her curiosity and desire to experience more beyond the cave. When their family’s safe haven, aka the cave, is destroyed, the Croods are forced to evolve and come up with new ideas in order to survive. They meet Guy & Belt who are modern light years ahead of the Croods and they challenge Grug’s old way of thinking.
What to expect?
We know that 3D animation can sometimes be dizzy for the parents (and grandparents) and scary for the little ones, not to mention the 3D part being a bit gimmicky sometimes. We have to admit, we were a bit skeptical before screening this movie, but after going through the Croods experience, we found it safe for the kids and entertaining for the adults. You can expect to see the latest 3D technology and it isn’t dizzying, nor gimmicky but it catapults you into the Croodaceous environment; you feel like you are there experiencing it all.
There are a number of action-packed and sometimes suspenseful chasing scenes since this is a prehistoric family trying to survive the natural elements of living out in the wild. There are also some handy educational elements that the movie offers; it does a great job explaining simple things like why we need shoes in order to survive. There’s a scene in the movie where the family cannot cross a prickly patch of plants, but Guy creatively puts shoes on all of the family members so that they can cross and beat the elements. It’s the kind of connection that our kids just might not have thought about: why we need to wear shoes everyday.
We also know that little ones can get a little frightened with dark, loud, and scary scenes. While there is a big ferocious cat in the movie, you’ll be relieved to know that the cat is befriended by the Croods family towards the latter half of the movie and that concept of fear is appeased. Other than that, there aren’t too many scary scenes to worry about. You will see colorful visual effects, amazing artistry and humor that will entertain the adults. Since the visual effects are quite stimulating, the best age group would be 5 years old and up.
Why is the movie rated PG?
There are scenes that might be considered mild adventure violence or infrequent peril to the characters. What this means is that the characters get tumbled and beaten up a little when they are running from animals such as the huge, ferocious cat or a rumbling earthquake. The violence is mostly in the form of slapstick comedy where the characters run into something accidentally or happen to slip and fall. There is a scene where Gran is famished and becomes so delusional that she tries to actually eat Thunk, her grandson. Towards the end of the movie, there is also a cataclysmic event where the land physically divides and there is a point of no return for the family. Scenes like this have the potential to frighten some children.
Why not just wait for the DVD?
DreamWorks Animation has chosen this film to showcase their latest 3D technology. The 3D is not gimmicky and they have developed it in such a way where the 3D is kind of like another character in the movie. It allows you to feel that you are enveloped into the Croodaceous period and are actually experiencing the world; it’s an experience you definitely won’t find in a DVD. With technology changing so quickly, this movie is 3D history in the making. It is definitely worth watching in the theatres.
Meet The Croods characters
Grug (Nicholas Cage): The protective, overbearing father who does everything in his power to keep his family safe by avoiding anything new or different. His mantra is “fear is good; change is bad”. His tug-and-pull relationship with his growing teenage daughter matures and we get to see the evolution of his softer side during the movie.
Eep (Emma Stone): The teenage daughter (19 summers old) is athletic, curious, and loves to venture off to get as close to the sun as possible. Her traditional cave family notions and her relationship with her dad are tested when she meets the modern, cool Guy.
Sandy & Ugg (Catherine Keener): The patient, understanding mom who continually has the rambunctious toddler by her side. She is the loving glue of the family that we can all identify with as moms.
Thunk (Clark Duke): Clumsy but endearing, he is the son that tries to follow in his dad’s footsteps and never tries to do anything new or different.
Gran (Cloris Leachman): Feisty, blunt, cranky, but hilarious, Gran is the comic-relief and we can’t help but love her character. She is at odds with her son-in-law Grug but in a playful sort of way.
Guy & Belt (Ryan Renyolds): Guy is the modern, cool dude that has already discovered fire and lives a life of adventure on his hunt to discover new challenges. He is full of grand, creative ideas that Grug often lacks. Belt is Guy’s trusty little side-kick creature that is anything but loveable.
Fun Facts To Prep the Kids Before the Movie
-The Croodaceous period means “Very Crude Age,” and it takes place somewhere after the dinosaurs go extinct but before the mammals take over.
-The dry and warm climate give rise to fun creature combinations such as the Tortoise Humongous, Bunny Beast, Turkey Fish, and Bear Owl. Tell the kids to keep their eyes open for the funky creature combos in the movie!
-Storytelling is highlighted in the movie with cave drawings. The kids can look for different cave drawings throughout the movie and try to replicate them at home.
The Croods Products
Of course with every movie premiere geared towards kids, we see the usual promotional products. The same goes for The Croods; we will see The Croods pictures on cereal boxes and happy meal toys, but we are happy to share that we will also be seeing them on some healthy products such as tofu and eggs! We’ll always welcome an extra impetus to convince our picky eaters to eat healthy. Score!
About The Filmmakers
Chris Sanders (Director, Writer), has directed family favorites such as Lilo & Stitch and How To Train Your Dragon. He has also worked as a story artist on Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King before he spearheaded the story of Mulan.
Kirk DeMicco (Director, Writer), originally wrote the early drafts of The Croods with John Cleese. His past work includes adapting the Roald Dahl fiction called The Twits into a live action film for Disney, directing the animated film Space Chimps, and working on various Warner Bros. movies and cartoons. Kirk and his wife recently welcomed twin daughters earlier this year!
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Opening date: March 22
Rated: PG (1hour, 38 minutes)
Our suggested age group: 5 years and up
Will you be seeing The Croods with your littles?
Written by Sommy Rhee