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The Croods
Genre Animation

The Croods are like any other prehistoric family, with one exception - they're still alive. Grug (equal parts Homer Simpson and Fred Flintstone), has managed to keep his family one step ahead of the perils of a prehistoric lifestyle, living by the mantra "never not be afraid". When his daughter, Eep, discovers there's more to life than hiding in a cave... the family are cast into the throes of possibly the first family road trip adventure of all time.

The Croods is like The Incredibles, The Simpsons and The Flintstones all rolled into one. The visuals and unusual strength and speed of the characters, echo the jungle scene from The Incredibles. Their Modern Family dysfunction, character make up and apparent lack of social skills is very The Simpsons. While their Land Before Time home, evolution and likability are reminiscent of The Flintstones.

The voice cast features the talents of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds. Each of these big name stars play leading roles with great affection for their characters. While the casting of Grug seemed a bit off-key at first, Cage really owns the performance. Emma Stone fits in perfectly as Eep, a tough cookie and curious teenage girl, using her gravelly voice to great effect. While Ryan Reynolds plays the likable, slightly more evolved tour guide, counterpoint to Grug and romantic interest to Eep in Guy.

It's a solid voice cast, but the first thing you'll notice about The Croods, is the dazzling, imaginative eye-popping 3D animation. The film-makers have composed a playful, fun and somewhat experimental look to The Croods. The colour palette is surreal, injecting loads of eye candy into backdrops with imaginative creatures that will no doubt be released as cuddly toys.

Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco make a great writer-director team, drawing on a wealth of animation experience from How to Train Your Dragon, Lilo & Stitch and Space Chimps. The style of animation and the sense of humour takes a little getting used to, think Madagascar, and it's refreshing to watch an animated family comedy that knows how to deliver good, clean fun.

That's not to say there isn't a bit of mild peril with the central theme of overcoming fear at the heart of The Croods. This makes the message quite timely without losing sight of the entertainment factor. There's just so much fun to be had in this prehistoric thrill ride. The family dynamic has real heart that catches up with you in the third act amid some really playful and silly humour. It's on par with The Incredibles for visuals, not content, but falls safely into the realm of The Simpsons and The Flintstones when it comes to pure entertainment.

The bottom line: Zippy

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