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It’s so hard to bring something new to the animated movie party – but Dreamworks’ just about do that with its latest outing.

The Croods might ultimately lack the ingenuity that the likes of Pixar bring to the genre – but this wonderfully colourful adventure ticks most of the family cinema boxes.

It stars the world’s first prehistoric family, mainly centred around two Hollywood stars who seem to be in everything at the moment – Nicolas Cage as father and family protector Grug, and Spider-man’s Emma Stone as rebellious teen Eep.

And when the cave they spend most of their lives dwelling in gets crushed, the knuckle-dragging family – which includes wife Ugga (Catherine Keener), son Thunk (Clark Duke) and Gran (Cloris Leachman) – gets thrust out into a dangerously fantastical new world, changing their lives forever.

They then encounter an imaginative fire-making nomad called Guy (Ryan Reynolds) – complete with his comedy monkey belt (the film’s major comic relief) – and the majority of the family want to follow his positive outlook, much to the chagrin of Grug, who simply wants to seek solace in another dingy cave.

It’s actually when The Croods move out of the darkness of their restricted homestead, that the movie comes to life. The first half an hour is a bit of a tedious bore, but when the characters start to spread their proverbial wings in this spectacular new world, it starts to have fun – if still in a fairly generic way.

But despite the paint-by-numbers script – and a seen-it-all-before ending – The Croods succeeds with its likeable cast led by Cage, Stone and Duke.

Fortunately it ends up more in the league of the colourful Ice Age 3 – in comparison to the tepid Ice Age 4 – on the animated movie scale, leaving this to undoubtedly evolve into a successful new family franchise.

Gavin Miller

 Voice cast: Emma Stone, Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Cloris Leachman, Chris Sanders, Randy Thom

Running Time: 1hr 35mins

Directors: Chris Sanders & Kirk De Micco [youtube id=”-XFu0sHFAvo” width=”600″ height=”350″]


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