March has finally come and there was a great lineup of movies that I wanted to see. I haven't gone to the theaters since Les Miserables so I was looking forward to something worth going out for. In March we got "Jack the Giant Slayer", "Oz: The Great and Powerful", and "The Croods". Unfortunately the reviews for Jack and Oz turned out to be terrible so that was quite a disappointment, especially Oz as I was looking forward to something fun like Wicked. Now The Croods, by Dreamworks, has finally been released, and I have been looking forward to this for quite some time. When I first saw it, my reaction was "ugh, dirty grimy ugly people and how can you make a story about cavepeople interesting", but after seeing some artwork at CTN-X I got really excited as the environments and creature designs were beautiful.
The movie turned out better than I expected. It was good but I probably still like How to Train Your Dragon and Rise of the Guardians better. For one thing, the themes and storytelling was very similar to How to Train Your Dragon. It starts out with a first person narrative that talks about Eep's, the main female character in the tiger skin, life and so jumps back in time, then the movie starts through their journey, and then the movie ends again with another first person narrative about everything that has changed and what everybody has learned. They even all got pet animals similar to how everyone in Dragon got their own pet. I wish the movie could have been more serious or have had more depth. The movie was filled with gag after gag after gag. While I did laugh and cry at some of them it did make each shot scene very short lived. Additionally, the ending was also botched. Even worse, it was botched at one of the most critical emotional scenes. Towards the end when the The Croods were all blowing their seashells, crying out to Grug, the father, Thunk, the son, also had his seashell. This is wrong as he lost his seashell earlier when his crocodile dog thing, Douglas, fell off the tree. Later when Grug picked up Douglas while escaping the crumbling of the world behind him, Douglas even had the seashell in his mouth. Therefore there was no way for Thunk to have his seashell at the time when they were all crying out to Grug.
The animation was interesting due to how animal-like they treated the human character and how human-like they treated the animal characters. Additionally, the characters also moved extremely fast and a bit spazzy. In fact, with the extreme comedy of both the animation and gags, the movie reminds me more of the Tex Avery Loony Tunes style of animation. It would be interesting if Dreamworks starts moving towards animation purely as pushing animation and comedy which was what was developed at Warner Bros. With Tex Avery instead of the path of Disney and Pixar where it is more about realism and drama.
I was somewhat disappointed in the creatures. Not in the designs but the usage of them. The creatures were not populated throughout the world, there are no creatures hanging around in the back or birds flying across the sky. The world is actually dead and the creatures only show up in shots when they are needed and pretty much as a gag. Then they go away and aren't seen again until they might be needed.
While I didn't get to see it in 3D, I would highly recommend doing so as the movie is about environments and 3D would enhance that experience.
Be sure to stay till after the credits! You are treated to three adorable mouseaphants playing their nose trumpets to a song.