The Croods

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The Croods
The Croods poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kirk DeMicco
Chris Sanders
Produced by Kristine Belson
Jane Hartwell
Screenplay by Kirk DeMicco
Chris Sanders
Story by John Cleese[1]
Kirk DeMicco
Chris Sanders
Narrated by Emma Stone
Starring Nicolas Cage
Emma Stone
Ryan Reynolds
Catherine Keener
Clark Duke
Cloris Leachman
Music by Alan Silvestri[2]
Cinematography Yong Duk Jhun
Editing by Eric Dapkewicz
Darren T. Holmes
Studio DreamWorks Animation
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • February 15, 2013 (2013-02-15) (Berlin)
  • March 22, 2013 (2013-03-22) (United States)
Running time 98 minutes[3]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $135 million[4]
Box office $587,204,668[4]

The Croods is a 2013 American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, and Cloris Leachman. The film is set in a fictional prehistoric Pliocene era known as The Croodaceous, a period which contains fantastical creatures, when a man's position as a "Leader of the Hunt" is threatened by the arrival of a prehistoric genius who comes up with revolutionary new inventions, like fire, as they trek through a dangerous but exotic land in search of a new home.

The Croods was written and directed by Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders, and produced by Kristine Belson and Jane Hartwell.[5] The film premiered at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival on February 15, 2013,[6] and was released in the United States on March 22, 2013.[7] As part of the distribution deal, this film is the first from DreamWorks Animation to be distributed by 20th Century Fox, since the end of their distribution deal with Paramount Pictures.[8]

The Croods received generally positive reviews, and proved to be a box office success, earning more than $587 million on a budget of $135 million,[4] and launching a new franchise, with a sequel set for June 16, 2017 and a TV series already put in development.[9]

Plot[edit]

Eep (Emma Stone) is a caveman whose family is part of the classification homo erectus living in the harsh environment of the stone age with her overprotective father Grugg (Nicholas Cage) her kind mother Ugga (Catherine Keener), her grandmother Gran (Cloris Leachman) and her younger siblings Thunk (Clark Duke) and Sandy. The only family around after their neighbors met unfortunate ends, Eep lives a sheltered life protected by her father until one night she sees a light outside of the cave. Defying Grugg's rule about going out after dark she follows it and meets a neanderthal boy, an inventive idealist named Guy (Ryan Reynolds) and his pet sloth Belt who introduces Eep to fire and explains that he is escaping what he calls "The End" saying that a great cataclysm is coming that could destroy Eep and her family. She refuses to go with him, but he gives her a shell to use as a horn if she needed him. Grugg, looking for Eep eventually finds her and grounds her for breaking the rules on their way back to the cave a tremendous earthquake causes its destruction, revealing behind it a tropical wilderness. They are forced to escape into it when a predator attacks them, and Grugg seeks out to find the family a new cave to live in.

Upon encountering a feline "Macawnivore" dubbed "Chunky the Death Cat" by Gran, and pirahna-birds that send even him running, Eep calls for help with a horn like the shell Guy gave her. He comes and saves them by using a torch to dissuade the birds from attacking them. After a chaotic first encounter with fire, Eep's family realizes Guy's value at their survival and Grugg bottles him to guide them toward the mountain he is seeking refuge at. After another of Grugg's morale-lowering stories reflecting the day's events, Guy tells his own story of a safe paradise dubbed "Tomorrow". After introducing the family to shoes to get over rough terrain, Grugg begins to get jealous of Guy's inventions and ideas, and when they become separated in a labyrinth of tunnels, the family excluding Grugg find their own means of escaping. After his family stays in a treetop home of Guy's Grugg tries to come up with several of his own ideas, such as a rug dubbed because it rhymes with Grugg, sunglasses made from planks of wood. But each of these ideas fail, embarrassing Grugg even further as his family decides to go with Guy to Tomorrow.

At the mountain, Grugg attacks Guy when the others refuse to join him in a cave where he wants to settle. The tussle gets the two of them caught in a tar pit and Guy reveals his family died in one. Grugg realizes his mistakes and the two make amends before tricking Chunky into freeing them by pretending to be a female Macawnivore in distress. Fleeing to the peak of the mountain, they are cut off from "Tomorrow" by an explosion, but Grugg decides that his family is safer following the sun and throws them across, sharing a brief invention he calls a "hug" with Eep. Cut off from his family from the destruction, Grugg seeks shelter in a cave and encounters Chunky who cuddles up to Grugg for protection. Grugg gets his first good idea and fashions an airship out of a skeleton and using the pirhana-birds as a means to fly across the chasm with Thunk's dog-crocodile Douglas, and several animals they'd encountered in their journey. Reuniting with his family and narrowly avoiding destruction they share a hug together and Grugg gains a new perspective on life and stops being so overprotective.

Later, the Croods now live on the land and have settled on a vast beach where every day they can follow the light to "Tomorrow."

Cast[edit]

  • Nicolas Cage as Grug Crood, a caveman who is the well-meaning but overprotective and old-fashioned patriarch of the Croods family.[10]
  • Emma Stone as Eep Crood, a rebellious teenage cavegirl who is Grug and Ugga's eldest daughter and is filled with curiosity and a desire for adventure.[10]
  • Ryan Reynolds as Guy, a nomadic caveboy who is not as strong as the Croods, but prefers using his brain and comes up with various ideas and inventions. He is accompanied by a sloth named Belt.[10]
  • Catherine Keener as Ugga Crood, a cavewoman who is Grug's wife, the daughter of Gran, and the mother of Eep, Thunk, and Sandy. She is more open-minded than Grug, but also finds it difficult to keep her family safe.[10]
  • Clark Duke as Thunk Crood, a caveboy who is Grug and Ugga's son. Thunk is the 9-year-old middle child, who is not very bright and has bad coordination but has a good heart.[10] He gets a crocopup named Douglas for a pet.
  • Cloris Leachman as Gran, a very old and ferocious cavewoman who is the mother-in-law of Grug, the mother of Ugga, and the grandmother of Eep, Thunk, and Sandy.[10]
  • Chris Sanders as Belt, Guy's pet sloth.[11]
  • Randy Thom as Sandy Crood, Grug and Ugga's ferocious baby daughter who still bites and growls instead of speaking. Thom created her voice with creature noises.[10]

Production[edit]

Directors and writers Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders at the 41st Annie Awards

The film was announced in 2005 under the working title Crood Awakening,[12] originally a stop motion film being made by Aardman Animations[13] as a part of a five-film deal with DreamWorks Animation. John Cleese and Kirk DeMicco had been working together on a feature based on Roald Dahl's story The Twits,[14] a project that never went into production. DreamWorks got a copy of their script and liked it, and invited Cleese and DeMicco over to take a look at the company's ideas to see if they found something they would like to work with.[15] They chose a basic story idea about two cavemen on the run, an inventor and a luddite,[15] and wrote the first few drafts of the script.[16] With the departure of Aardman in beginning of 2007, the rights for the film reverted to DreamWorks.[17]

In March 2007, Chris Sanders, the writer of Mulan and writer/director of Lilo & Stitch, joined DreamWorks to direct the film, with intentions to significantly rewrite the script.[18] In September 2008, it was reported that Sanders took over How to Train Your Dragon putting The Croods on hold,[19] and thus postponing its original schedule for a year to a then planned March 2012.[20] The film's final title, The Croods, was revealed in May 2009, along with new co-director, Kirk DeMicco.[21] In March 2011, the film got another delay, being pushed back a year to March 1, 2013,[22] and finally settled at March 22.[23]

Release[edit]

The Croods had its world premiere in the out of competition section at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival on February 15, 2013.[6] It premiered in the United States on March 22, 2013.[7] The film was the first feature film to be shown in the 4DX format, featuring strobe lights, tilting seats, blowing wind and fog and odor effects in Hungary, which is shown at the Cinema City theater in Budapest, Hungary.[24] It was also the first film in China to be distributed by Oriental DreamWorks, a film production and distribution company founded in 2012 by DreamWorks Animation and Chinese investment companies.[25]

Home media[edit]

The Croods was released on Blu-ray (2D and 3D) and DVD on October 1, 2013. The DVD and Blu-ray comes with a Belt plush toy.[26][27]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The Croods has received generally positive reviews from critics. Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 70% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 132 reviews, with an average score of 6.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "While it may not be as (ahem) evolved as the best modern animated fare, The Croods will prove solidly entertaining for families seeking a fast-paced, funny cartoon adventure."[28] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, the film was given a score of 55 based on 30 reviews.[29]

Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "A visually dazzling animated adventure with a well-chosen voice cast is hampered by lackluster humor and a meandering story."[30] Tom Russo of The Boston Globe gave the film two and a half out of four, saying, "Had the movie figured out a way to stay the less-cliched course, it might have helped the DreamWorks oeuvre take steps toward Pixar's emotional resonance."[31] Keith Staskiewicz of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C+, and wrote in his review, "A handful of adrenalizing sequences of animated anarchy can't save this story from feeling overly primitive."[32] David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter called the film, "Further back on the evolutionary chain than the Flintstones, and also lagging in the comedy stakes, this sweet Stone Age clan nonetheless will captivate the youngsters."[11] Leslie Felperin of Variety found that, "The main problem with the film is that the script simply isn't very funny, and its various subplots never quite mesh satisfyingly together."[33] Tirdad Derakhshani of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "The movie is well-edited and lean, a fast-paced, action-filled bit of froth that manages to be diverting and surprisingly fun."[34] Lisa Kennedy of The Denver Post gave the film three and a half stars out of four, saying "It captures the wonder (and more gently, the anxiety) of discovery time and time again. And the filmmakers have a hoot playing with the Croods' encounters with, as well as their misunderstandings of, all things new."[35] Laremy Legel of Film.com gave the film a B, saying "How to Train Your Dragon and Lilo & Stitch are completely indicative of the experience you'll have with The Croods, which is to say a supremely positive one."[36]

Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times gave the film two and a half stars out of five, saying, "Too many of the "solutions" the guys concoct are so impossibly complex or just downright ridiculous — puppetry comes to mind — that like the continents, it's a little too easy to drift away."[37] Christy Lemire of the Associated Press gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "The Croods" is both brisk and beautiful, and should be sufficiently entertaining for family audiences for whom few such options exist these days."[38] Catherine Bray of Time Out gave the film three out of five stars, saying, "It's all entertaining enough, and will surely sell plenty of stuffed toys. But it winds up a fair few rungs below the likes of 'Brave' on the evolutionary ladder."[39] Miriam Bale of the New York Daily News gave the film two and a half stars out of five, saying, "When it gets past the Stone Age humor, this weird film manages to find some gentle revelations."[40] Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "Considering the fact that a young girl is picking her nose on the movie poster, "The Croods" is surprisingly evolved."[41] Bob Mondello of NPR gave the film a positive review, saying, "As family viewing, it's pleasant enough: primitive, yes, but in a digitally sophisticated way that's boisterous, funny and will no doubt sell a lot of toys."[42] Jody Mitori of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave the film three out of four stars, saying "While their situation sounds dire, The Croods is not. The DreamWorks animated film has enough slapstick humor, furry sidekicks and zippy 3-D action sequences to keep the story light."[43]

Nell Minow of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three stars, saying, "Despite a few too many mother-in-law jokes, The Croods nicely makes it clear that even before they had fire, families understood how important it was to cherish and protect each other."[44] Tom Keogh of The Seattle Times gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "There isn’t much compelling sophistication to The Croods, not a lot to engage adults beyond a couple of Wile E. Coyote moments for hapless Grug."[45] Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "The Croods is just good, goofy fun, for a generation too young to have met Bamm-Bamm. But for those of more precocious intellects, it offers a little something extra to chew on besides rock-smacking slapstick and a brontosaurus burger."[46] Richard Corliss of Time said that, "The family-dramedy genre that the film inhabits demands a bit more narrative ingenuity than is on display."[47] Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times gave the film three out of five stars, saying, "The movie is at its most interesting and amusing when riffing on how cavemen might have reacted to new experiences and ideas, like fire and shoes. Whether the kiddies will appreciate that is unclear, but they’ll certainly like the voice work done by Emma Stone as Eep."[48] Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "Even the lively visuals and unrelenting thrill-ride pace can't disguise rough-hewn storytelling, or the fact that the tale of a old-fashioned macho cave dad and his family seems a bit yabba-dabba done that already."[49]

Peter Howell of the Toronto Star gave the film two stars out of four, saying, "The filmmakers may have misjudged their audience. They aim low enough so that tots won’t be terrified, but adults, teens and older children may well be bored by the blandness."[50] Colin Covert of the Star Tribune gave the film three and a half stars out of four, saying, "It's the kind of rib-tickling, emotionally satisfying, universally appealing effort that gives computer animation a good name."[51] Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave the film one out of four stars, saying, "I'd like to take back all those times I said Nicolas Cage was one of the most annoying actors on film. It turns out he's equally terrible when he's only on the soundtrack."[52] Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "A film which, if not truly sophisticated, isn't nearly as crude as advertised."[53] Kate Erbland of MSN Movies gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "It may not be an instant animated classic, but it's a charmer that will leave the kids feeling warm and fuzzy."[54] Christopher Orr of The Atlantic gave the film a positive review, saying, "The animation is first-rate, with moments of genuine visual imagination, and the story, while unremarkable, is entirely adequate."[55] Alonso Duralde of The Wrap gave the film a positive review, saying "This material could have easily fallen into sitcom clichés with a heaping scoop of anachronism jokes on the side, but The Croods takes these characters and their situation seriously enough to make the story matter."[56]

Box office[edit]

The Croods grossed $187,168,425 in North America, and $400,036,243 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $587,204,668.[4] According to Deadline.com's estimation, the film made a profit of $106.5 million.[57] It is the ninth highest-grossing 2013 film, and the fourth highest-grossing 2013 animated film (behind Despicable Me 2, Monsters University and Frozen). It became the second highest-grossing original DreamWorks Animation film, behind Kung Fu Panda.[58] As of January 2014, it is the eighty-ninth highest-grossing film, and the twentieth highest-grossing animated film.[4]

In North America, the film earned $11.6 million on its opening day.[59] On its opening weekend, the film topped the box office with $43.6 million from 4,046 locations, a vast improvement over the DreamWorks Animation's directly preceding release Rise of the Guardians,[60] yet still below some of the studio's other original films, like Megamind and How to Train Your Dragon.[61]

Outside North America, the film topped the box office during its first weekend with $62.4 million (including previews from the previous weekend).[62] It opened at number one in 54 countries,[9] with the biggest openings achieved in the UK, Ireland and Malta ($8.08 million), Russia and the CIS ($7.82 million), China ($6.34 million), and Mexico ($4.37 million). In total grosses, the film's biggest market was China with $63.3 million,[63] becoming the highest-grossing original animated film, surpassing DreamWorks Animation's film Kung Fu Panda.[64] In addition, the film earned $43.1 million in the UK, Ireland and Malta, $28.6 million in Russia and the CIS, $27.7 million in Mexico, and $23.8 million in Australia.[63] Earning a total of $400 million,[65] it is the highest-grossing 2013 film distributed by 20th Century Fox.[66]

Accolades[edit]

Awards
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients and nominees Result
Academy Awards[67] March 2, 2014 Best Animated Feature Chris Sanders, Kirk De Micco and Kristine Belson Nominated
Alliance of Women Film Journalists[68] December 16, 2013 Best Animated Feature Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders Nominated
Best Animated Female Eep (Emma Stone) Nominated
Annie Awards[69] February 1, 2014 Best Animated Feature Nominated
Animated Effects in an Animated Production Jeff Budsberg, Andre Le Blanc, Louis Flores, and Jason Mayer Won
Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production Jakob Jensen Won
Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Carter Goodrich, Takao Noguchi, and Shane Prigmore Won
Directing in an Animated Feature Production Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders Nominated
Music in an Animated Feature Production Alan Silvestri Nominated
Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Christophe Lautrette, Paul Duncan, and Dominique R. Louis Nominated
Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Steven MacLeod Nominated
Editorial in an Animated Feature Production Darren T. Holmes Nominated
BMI Film & TV Music Awards[70] May 15, 2013 Film Music Alan Silvestri Won
Cinema Audio Society Awards[71][72] February 22, 2014 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Motion Pictures – Animated Tighe Sheldon, Randy Thom, Gary A. Rizzo, Dennis Sands, Corey Tyler Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Award[73] January 16, 2014 Best Animated Feature Nominated
Denver Film Critics Society January 13, 2014 Best Animated Feature Film Nominated
Golden Globe Award[74] January 12, 2014 Best Animated Feature Film Chris Sanders
Kirk DeMicco
Nominated
International 3D Society's Creative Arts Awards[75] January 28, 2014 Outstanding Animated 3D Feature Film Nominated
Made-in-Hollywood Awards[76] February 13, 2014 Shared with Frozen and Her Won
Producers Guild of America Award[77] January 19, 2014 Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Picture Kristine Belson, Jane Hartwell Nominated
San Francisco Film Critics Circle[78] December 15, 2013 Best Animated Feature Nominated
Satellite Awards[79] February 23, 2014 Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media The Croods Nominated
Best Visual Effects Markus Manninen and Matt Baer Nominated
Best Youth Blu-ray The Croods Blu-ray/DVD combo pack Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association[80][81] December 17, 2013 Best Animated Feature Runner-up
Visual Effects Society Awards[82] February 12, 2014 Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Jane Hartwell, Chris Sanders, Kirk Demicco, Markus Manninen Nominated
Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Eep (Line Andersen, Won Young Byun, Koji Morihiro, Chris De St. Jeor) Nominated
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture The Maze (Jonathan Harman, Violette Sacre-Shaik, Benjamin Venancie, Philippe Brochu) Nominated
Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Jeff Budsberg, Andre Le Blanc, Jason Mayer, Michael Losure Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association[83] December 9, 2013 Best Animated Feature Nominated
Women Film Critics Circle[84] December 16, 2013 Best Animated Females Runner-up

Soundtrack[edit]

Alan Silvestri composed the original music for the film, which was released digitally on March 15, 2013, by Relativity Music Group,[85] and on CD on March 26, 2013, by Sony Classical. The soundtrack also includes "Shine Your Way", an original song performed by Owl City & Yuna.[86]

Video games[edit]

A video game based on the film, titled The Croods: Prehistoric Party!, was released on March 19, 2013. Developed by Torus Games, and published by D3 Publisher, it was adapted for Wii U, Wii, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS. The game enables players to take the members of the Croods family on an adventure through 30 party-style mini-games.[88] It received mainly negative reception.[89][90][91][92]

A mobile game, titled The Croods, which is a village building game, was developed and published by Rovio, the creator of Angry Birds. It was released on March 14, 2013 to the iOS and Android platforms.[93] It received negative reviews from critics with Metacritic giving it a 40 out of 100.[94]

Expanded franchise[edit]

Sequel[edit]

On April 17, 2013, it was announced that DreamWorks Animation has started developing a sequel to the film, with Sanders and DeMicco returning to direct it.[95] According to DeMicco, the sequel will focus more on the mother and motherhood, while it will be "the first chapter of society," expanding on the first film, which is about "the last chapter of the caveman."[96]

On September 9, 2013, it was announced that Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, and Ryan Reynolds will reprise their roles in the sequel.[97]

As of March 2014, Variety Insight, a website of future film releases, lists The Croods 2 for June 16, 2017.[98]

TV Series[edit]

On February 13, 2013, DreamWorks Animation filed a trademark for The Croods for "entertainment services in the nature of an animated television series,"[99] hinting that DreamWorks is developing an animated TV series spin-off of The Croods, in the same vein as other DreamWorks TV series spun-off from popular films. In April 2013, Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, declared The Croods as their sixth franchise, saying that a TV series is expected, along with other "location-based entertainment."[9]

References[edit]

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