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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated December 18, 2014 - Editions No 928, 929, 930, 931 

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CROODS, THE

SYNOPSIS:
The cave dwelling Croods live largely in the dark; father Grug (voice of Nicolas Cage), mother Ugga (Catherine Keener), son Thunk (Clark Duke), daughter Eep (Emma Stone) and Gran (Cloris Leachman). But the entire family embarks on a journey of a lifetime when the cave that has always been their refuge is destroyed by an earthquake. Traveling across a spectacular landscape, they meet Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a young man who has new ideas and follows the light, and discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures. After several adventures and confrontations, the family is forever changed, rejecting the dark world of the cave for the bright light of the sun.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Wearing its metaphors as subtly as a bucket on its head, The Croods is at once childish and childlike. It is nave and innocent, but also silly - and even as it pushes its message, it risks overstaying its welcome in a few irritating ways. The crude analogy of the Croods living in the darkened cave of ignorance is worked again and again as the stranger they meet, a worldly young man - Guy (Ryan Reynolds) - who knows things like fire, shows them things like ... ideas. Grug (Nicolas Cage) has always told his family to live in fear, as it would serve to protect them. Of course, he has to learn the terrible downside of that and embrace curiosity. This metaphor also jumps around a lot, but the film wraps itself in the colourful blanket of imagination and fantasy.

From their restricted mountainside cave to the vast expanse of the world they discover, we are along for the ride. It's filled with quaint creatures, some scary some just weird, and the pace is relentless. In fact, it often feels like a series of sketches strung together, to create something of a road movie.

Kids will respond to the slapstick humour and the physicality of the action, and adults will find moments of insight and emotion. The turbulent relationship between Grug and his feisty, free spirited daughter Eep is the most developed, followed by the budding romance between Eep and Guy, and the mutual dislike between Grug and Gran becomes a running joke through the film.

It's hard not to think of Disney's previous free spirited redhead heroine, Merida in last year's Brave, the film that won the Animation Oscar (presented February 2013). Eep is of the same post-feminist stock, perfectly capable of looking after herself and as physically able as Guy.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

CROODS, THE (PG)
(US, 2013)

VOICES: Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Cloris Leachman

PRODUCER: Kristine Belson, Jane Hartwell

DIRECTOR: Kirk De Mico, Chris Sanders

SCRIPT: Kirk De Mico, Chris Sanders

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Yong Duk Jhun

EDITOR: Eric Dapkewitz, Darren T. Holmes

MUSIC: Alan Silvestri

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Christoph Lautrette

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 28, 2013

UPCOMING EVENT
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, Sydney.

Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.







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