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REVIEW: 'The Croods'

REVIEW: 'The Croods'

REVIEW: 'The Croods', Flicks.co.nz

5 stars

Prehistoric animated feature from DreamWorks (Shrek), following a family of cavemen, cavewomen and cavekids as they road trip to a newly discovered world filled with fantastic creatures. In cinemas nationwide April 11th. Also playing in 2D. Preview screenings start on March 29th

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Making his distinctive style known with Lilo & Stitch, animation veteran Chris Sanders proved his children’s storytelling abilities with the superb How to Train Your Dragon. However, his latest outing takes him to the same tier as Pixar filmmaking warlocks Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter and Brad Bird.

When continental shifts cause the land around them to crumble, a family of cavemen, women and children are forced out of their cave of safety and solitude – much to the daughter’s delight and the father’s horror. Strangers to the world they inhabit, they come across Guy, a fellow Neanderthal whose lack of ignorance is their key to both survival and to living.

From the delightfully oddball creature designs to the plethora of visual gags, the Darwinian creativity on display is absorbing. Guy’s long-armed sloth pet Belt alone is going to reignite the plush toy industry and I literally laughed out loud when they took their family ‘photo’. Aside from perhaps the mother, each of the Croods brim with personality, characters complemented by the film’s surprisingly well-suited cast of A-listers.

The Croods didn’t just strike a chord in me; it played a harmony. Along with the film’s laughs and hijinks it also expresses the lessons I’d want my own children to learn – how fear of the unknown can be extinguished with understanding and that true beauty can be revealed through knowledge and experience. It’s a tight balancing act mixing this sort of heart with family-centric hilarity, but The Croods nails it. This is pure DreamWorks magic.

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