Our trip to see the Croods
OK, the Croods have broken another box office record. According to Today’s Guardian, the cartoon cavemen have delivered a 12 day total of £10.61 million into the DreamWorks coffers.
And, to be fair, Junior loved it. He was so engrossed, he didn’t even make it all the way through his bumper bag of Haribos. (I know, he pressed the gooey remains, as a thank you, into my palm as we were leaving).
So why did I find the Croods, ever so slightly, irritating?
The Croods took marketing to a new level. An additional monument spelling out the word Croods at Stonehenge to celebrate the Spring Equinox.
IMDB joked, “All Druids and Pagans can send their complaints to DreamWorks Animation.”
Does anyone else think it’s overkill?
I’m no druid (just an aging hippy). But what’s next? An Easter hologram spelling the name Brian over Westminster Cathedral and an invitation to buy the Monty Python boxed set?
* Shock Horror* Croods lack historical accuracy
Yes, I know. It’s a cartoon. And I know I’m a pedant.
However, the first thing that struck me about Eep Crood was (a) her lack of body hair and (b) her tailored tiger fur hipster pants. This is meant to be the Paleolithic era, right? At least thirty thousand years before Lady Shave and Calvin Klein.
OK, it is fantasy. Different rules apply. Raquel Welch in One Million Years BC and Wilma Flintstone weren’t exactly authentic either. And, if you can have multi-coloured fluffy sabre tooth tigers, why not?
No reason, exactly, except that the Croods make so much of the juxtaposition of the old and the new.
These are people who haven’t discovered shoes or fire yet (the film plays on this, with great comic effect). Eep Crood bemoans the lack of excitement. She rebels against the constraints of the cave. Eep Crood is the archetypal rebellious teenager.
And, for me, that’s the problem. Eep Crood is the product of modernity, but the whole premise of the Croods is the journey to (relative) modernity.
Croods stereotype cavemen (and women)
Admittedly, there are no dumb blondes.
On the contrary, it’s the women who show most intelligence. It’s Eep, and her mother and grandmother, who are most willing to listen to forward-thinking, but puny, New Guy. Muscular Grug, the father, and son, Thunk, are all brawn, conservatism and, until the end, little brain. Afterall, “ideas are for weaklings.”
Less a blow for feminism, more a home goal for the caveman.
Of course, it all comes good in the end. But it did strike me as a bit predictable (in a post modernist way). It would be a more refreshing irony to see a Rugby Jock wearing a T Shirt with the slogan, Speak slowly to me, I’m a Neandertal.
Croods practice elder abuse
At the danger of sounding too politically correct, the repetitious mother-in-law gags wore a bit thin. For a feel-good family film, Grug’s wish that his mother-in-law would get eaten by a dino, or succumb to some other fatality, was a bit too laboured.
This is meant to be a warm-hearted film about family values and evolution. So why does the script sometimes feel like it is written by a reincarnation of Les Dawson?
Would I recommend the Croods?
Strangely, for all it’s irritations, I would.
The Croods has some great 3D effects, some genuine comic moments (for example, when Grug befriends the sabre tooth tiger and discovers he’s really “a cat person”). And there’s Belt, New Guy’s pet sloth, with his own sound effects. (Well, they made Junior laugh. Lots).
Sure, it’s not Shrek. But it kept J amused which, with the Easter holidays still stretching ahead, is no mean achievement.