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Not "crood" at all: Dreamworks delivers stunning animation

This past weekend I found myself where I think many of us have found ourselves: on Netflix. This particular time I found myself searching for a Netflix movie with my mom who suggested we watch "The Croods." I was extremely skeptical. If you have never heard of "The Croods," let me fill you in. It’s an animated Dreamworks movie  about a family of cavemen. Now, you can see why I was skeptical. However, I am glad I listened to my mother and agreed to watch this movie with her because it ended up being brilliant.

Why is "The Croods" brilliant? There are many reasons. For starters, there is a cast of great actors behind the voices of the funloving characters, including: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds.

Aside from great cast lineup, the first reason is because it is original. The idea for this movie is a new and refreshing one in the world of animation. There are no frilly princesses or talking animals; instead, there are cavemen. The Croods are a family of caveman who has managed to survive the test of time because they play by the rules. They never go out at night, never try anything new and live by the philosophy to "never not be afraid." 

However, the end of the world suddenly shakes the Croods routine life. Their sanctuary, a cave, gets destroyed by an earthquake and the Croods are thrown into a scary unknown world where they are forced to embark on a journey for a new cave. 

Along the way, they meet Guy, who is a savvy young boy with innovative ideas and knows the land, acting as the Croods guide. Guy and patriarch caveman, Grug, immediately clash because Guy fills the brains of his family with new ideas that stray from tradition.

In one of my classes, we learned that great ideas work when we do something unexpected because unexpected ideas are surprising and surprise makes us pay attention and think. "The Croods" does this exceptionally well. 

Not only is the storyline unique, so is the animation. On their journey to find a new cave, the Croods cross many foreign landscapes and these landscapes are littered with vibrant colors and strange creatures. Every animal in this movie is a combination of two different creatures that makes your mind say "what?" every time a new animal pops up on the screen. My personal favorite is one that I have affectionately named the "saber-toothed jungle tiger." 

Next, I love the messages in this movie. They are simple and easy to spot, but they are executed in powerfully genius ways. One message is that of the power of thought and invovation. Grug Crood is the father and guardian of the family. He believes in tradition and teaches his loved ones to live in fear of everything new in order to stay alive. 

On the other hand, Guy believes in taking risks and following the unknown in order to live. Throughout the movie, we see a constant struggle between Grug’s old way of thinking and Guy’s new way.  It is a statement about the power of innovation and taking risks and how tradition can kill organizations, and in this case family. It encourages viewers to never settle and to keep questioning and pushing the envelope of knowledge. 

One of the themes in this movie that I love is the journey theme and character development. As in all great journey stories, the characters find themselves taking a very literal journey to find a new cave; however, the characters themselves, in particularly Grug, finds himself on a journey of personal growth. He learns that change is good and thinking is sometimes more valuable than bronze. He learns to take direction from others and trust in the invocative ideas of Guy. Ultimately, he learns that there is a difference between surviving and living. 

I could go on and on about this movie. I have only scratched the surface of why it is great. The next time you are browsing Netflix, I strongly encourage you to give "The Croods" a shot. I was not disappointed and I don’t think you will be either. You might even decide you want to watch it a second time; I know I already have.

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