FILM FANS: 'The Croods' are a modern-day hit

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "The Croods." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

3 out of 4 stars

"The Croods" is a terrifically entertaining new release from the animators at Dreamworks.

With so much to love, where to begin? Let's start with the voice talents. Nicolas Cage voices Grug, the father of the misfit caveman family.

Other standout voice performances include Emma Stone as Eep (the rebellious teenage daughter), Cloris Leachman as Gran (the cantankerous grandmother) and Ryan Reynolds as Guy (the mysterious wanderer who joins the Croods on an adventure toward a brighter tomorrow). Along the way, the Croods learn how to create fire and protect themselves from predators of all kinds.

In many ways, the film feels like a cross between "How To Train Your Dragon" and "Avatar." There are strange animal creatures, breathtaking landscapes, dramatic earthquakes and rock slides.

The use of 3-D is subtle but effective, with only a few of the typical "spear-in-your-face" moments. A favorite visual was the floating ash after the family discovers fire.

"The Croods" is rated "PG" and might be too scary for the very young. But for teens and adults, this movie has a great mix of humor and action, and there's even a poignant moment or two. Thank you, Dreamworks, for another well-constructed, heart-warming, family-driven tale.

-- Paul Tate, Sugar Hill

4 out of 4 stars

If writers, producers and directors could make adult movies as well as this film, movie-going would be a pleasure for many but few, if any, recent adult movies can measure up to this totally delightful and funny movie.

The Croods, by today's standards, are a crude family indeed, but with the masterful cast of complementary voices and a thoroughly engaging storyline, the Croods come alive on the big screen.

The Croods are a caveman family searching for survival and truth.

Led by a masterful dad, an inquisitive teen daughter and a grandma who has a typical relationship with her son-in-law, the Croods' transition through a host of perils as each of them learn more about each other at every change. Then enters a more enlightened outside teen boy who has mastered fire and the fun times really begin. This movie stands and delivers on so many levels that it is a true masterful work and should be seen by all families for an authentic fun time. You can tell winners at the gate.

-- Rick Wright, Auburn

3 and 1/2 out of 4 stars

"The Croods" is the first cartoon hit of the year. With a voice cast of big names such as Nicolas Cage, the movie takes you on a prehistoric trip through rugged terrain and a host of creatures that are not too menacing for the younger audience. Make no mistake, the target audience for this movie is the preteen set but realizing that, the movie hits its mark on a regular basis.

The movie is basically about the relationship between a father and his coming-of-age teenage daughter.

The father, Grug (voiced by Cage), has been successfully keeping his family alive in this unforgiving world, but when the family is forced to venture outside for an extended period of time, danger and hilarity ensues. Especially when the daughter, Eep (voiced by Emma Stone), meets a boy, Guy (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), whose new ideas threaten the safety of the family and Grug's place at the top.

In order to appeal to today's crowd, most cartoon movies fall into the use of current slang and idioms but can be funny when used appropriately. Parents may groan a lot at some of the humor, but the kids will enjoy it.

-- Mark Weinstein, Lawrenceville