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Animated movies can be split into categories that resemble a family. First there is the “grandparents”, the old school stuff that is still very enjoyable, but not exactly hip by today’s standards. Then, there is the “parents”, the more modern stuff that is quite grown up, and can be enjoyed by both kids and adults. Next there is the “teenagers”, the movies that don’t quite know what they want to be.  They can be a tender coming-of-age story or a fart joke filled disaster. Finally, there’s the “kids” – the movies aimed squarely at a younger audience. They can be fun, but also very annoying.

The Croods, the latest Dreamworks release, ranks as one of their better movies. While its nowhere near the quality of “How to Train Your Dragon”, it’s a huge step above the 2 recent Shrek movies. The story is about a family of cavemen that is about to deal with a huge leap in evolution. When their adventurous daughter (voiced by Emma Stone) ventures out alone and finds Guy (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), a more developed human, she is warned that the world is changing. As the landscape changes around them, the Croods must accept what is happening and prepare for a new life.

Untitled-1The most remarkable thing about this movie is that in manages to wrangle in Nicolas Cage’s manic acting style, making him give his least animated performance in over a decade. This may strike you as odd, considering this is a cartoon, but this is Nic Cage were talking about. The animation is very well done, and we’re given characters we actually care about. Of course, there is some very juvenile stuff as well, but don’t let that put you off.

So, in the end, The Croods winds up falling into the “teenage” category… but it’s a teenager on the verge of adulthood.

3.5/5 stars

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