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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
While more historically accurate than, say, The Flintstones, The Croods isn't exactly 100% faithful to science fact.
Lots of affirming messages. Eep and the rest of the Croods learn that hiding leads you nowhere, that courage opens up your world, and that love needs to be expressed. Also, to be yourself. As one character says: "Don't hide -- live!" Some bodily function humor (nose picking, etc.).
Positive Role Models
Though Grug is fearful and makes clear (albeit jokingly) his disdain for his mother-in-law, he does make decisions out of a need to protect his family. He's the first to throw himself over them when the Earth rumbles and rocks start falling or when animals around him attack. (He does sic his baby, who's pretty tough, onto prey that he's trying to catch for food.) Most of all, he cares deeply about Eep, his daughter on the verge of womanhood. He admires her but worries for her. Eep adores her father but isn't swayed by his fears; she's eager to expand her horizons, literally and figuratively. She pushes Grug to explore, and he encourages her to think before she acts. Ultimately, he also teaches her how to share her feelings by modeling that behavior himself. Guy also shows Eep the joy of living freely, unencumbered by anxiety. Female characters sometimes rely on male characters to save them, and Eep sometimes acts a little silly around Guy.
Violence & Scariness
Frequent talk about death/the risk of death in this wild, unstable world; at one point, viewers are even led to believe that a central character may have perished. Guy mentions the death of his parents, and a bedtime story includes a reference to a character dying as well. There's also plenty of talk about the end (of the world) being nigh, what with all the earthquakes and fires and such, which could scare younger or sensitive viewers. Mountains tumble, the ground splits, and animals big and small descend on others they deem prey. (The animation is so top-rate that you can practically feel the rocks crashing down on the ground.) There's some pretty serious -- and seriously competitive -- hunting and gathering going on (admittedly in a cartoonish way), with Grug urging everyone to huddle for a "family kill circle" before they go nuts trying to catch anything they can eat. Characters push and shove and hit one another to get at the (potential) grub. Characters wield spears and rocks and fiery sticks and fall or hurl themselves off cliffs. It's definitely survival of the fittest, and the bravest, in Croods-land.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Plenty of flirting between a teenage boy and a teenage cave-girl. They hold hands and come close to kissing in one scene.
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Some name-calling intended to be humorous -- "fat," "dummy," etc., plus "sucky."
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Products & Purchases
Although the movie itself contains no product/brand references, DreamWorks has merchandise partnerships with everything from video game companies to tofu.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Croods, while quite funny and gorgeously animated, deals with some pretty heavy themes: the constant risk of death and worries about the end of the world. Prehistoric times are convincingly wild, dangerous, and unstable: Rocks fall, mountains tumble, and the Earth opens up and swallows the ground whole. The frequent peril and talk of the end of the world are likely to make younger kids nervous. And then there are the conversations about parents dying and kids themselves being in danger; at one point, viewers may even think a central character has perished. Other scenes show characters battling other creatures for supremacy and food, so there's plenty of slapsticky whacking and hitting, too. Female characters do end up getting saved by males, and you may find yourself heading to the Internet to research the accuracy of the movie's creatures and events. All of that said, The Croods has a wonderful message of courage and celebration of adventure at its core, and there are strong, loving family relationships. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
What makes THE CROODS great is how it doesn't just rest on its CGI glories (though they're pretty amazing -- see below!). Though the visuals are exciting, there's a steady heartbeat that booms at the movie's center. Stone Age they may be, but Grug -- and, to a certain extent, Ugga -- struggle with a parenting dilemma that iPhone-lugging moms and dads experience, too: having to let go of children on the cusp of adulthood and, even more important, learning from them, too, as they experience a bigger, more complicated world. The Croods explores this dynamic with compassion and surprising depth. There aren't as many knowing winks at the audience as most other movies in this genre, but you won't miss them much. Would it be icing on the cake if a film with an assertive, intelligent teenage girl as its main character didn't end up having her -- and the other females, for that matter -- rely on the men to save them? Yes. Does it take away from the film's girl-power message? A little. Is this an awesome film anyway? Definitely.
And now back to those visuals: The Croods brings us into a world we've only imagined, animating it with what begins as a textured, painterly rendering and changes into a colorful, remarkable prehistoric world filled with every color on the wheel. The landscape is a buffet of eye candy. The characters' voices are expressive, their faces and gestures equally so. When Eep is lured out into the sun by a tantalizing ray of light, her joy in exploring is palpable. When we see what she sees, we understand why she disobeys. Directors Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders don't hurry the story along -- a welcome relief -- because there's so much to see and experience with Guy and the Croods. Some scenes are actually a bit overstuffed, teetering on the edge of migraine-inducing: Prehistoric animal mash-ups whiz by, squawking and squealing, while Eep and her family grunt, hurl, bounce, jump, shimmy, and serve up quick banter to boot. But thankfully, we also get quieter moments that allow the characters -- and, by extension, the audience -- to think and appreciate the previous thrills.
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