The Croods (PG)
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This came out in 2013, but I didn't get to see it until 2016. By then, there was a Netflix prequel series, "Dawn of the Croods," which I haven't been able to see, but would like to. Anyway, I liked the movie more than I expected to... and I definitely expected to like it.
In the ancient past, there's a family of cave people (presumably Neanderthals) called the Croods. The movie is mainly told from the perspective of a teenage girl named Eep (voiced by Emma Stone), who is tired of her family's monotonous lifestyle of spending most of their time sealed up in their cave, to avoid the many dangers of the prehistoric world. Her father, Grug (Nicolas Cage), just wants to protect his family, and doesn't understand Eep's desire to learn about new things. (New things, in his experience, equal death.) The family also includes Eep's mother, Ugga (Catherine Keener), little brother, Thunk (Clark Duke), feral baby sister, Sandy, and Ugga's mother, Gran (Cloris Leachman). (I must say, it's kind of amusing that even in cavemen days, Grug displays a strong dislike of his mother-in-law... it might be a cliche now, but in his time, I imagine it might have been a novelty.)
Anyway, one night, Eep sees some strange illumination coming from outside her family's cave, so she sneaks out to investigate. The light turns out to be from fire, which she'd never seen before. It was created by a teenage boy named Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who I guess is at an evolutionary stage closer to modern humans than Eep's family. (He's certainly not as strong as any of the Croods, but he has ideas, which sets him apart from everyone except maybe Eep... so of course she takes a keen interest in him.) Guy tells her that the world is ending, and that the "end" is coming this way, so he's seeking higher ground. He invites her to come with him, but she goes back to her family. However, it's not long before an earthquake destroys their cave, so Eep convinces the others to look for somewhere new to live. They soon encounter Guy (who uses fire to rescue Eep from a swarm of piranha-like birds), and begin traveling together. Grug really doesn't like Guy, partly for the proto-cliched reason of a dad not liking the guy his daughter likes, and partly because he sees his role as protector slipping away. But eventually, Grug does sort of bond with Guy, and... finds his own way of adapting, and accepts Guy's strengths, while also holding on to his own strengths. And of course, Eep finally gets to live life the way she's always wanted to, while also coming to appreciate her father's concerns for protecting the family.
Um... I guess I don't want to say too much more. But I should mention that Guy has a pet sloth named Belt, who is fairly clever and amusing. And I want to say that despite being relatively smart himself, Guy's ideas aren't always good ones. (I mean, most of them are, but he can be forgiven for not having modern knowledge of things like the fact that the sun can't be ridden.) Anyway... it's a really funny movie, with some good dramatic beats that I think work pretty well, even if they're all rather familiar (to anyone born after the stone age). The story really can be quite touching. And... I just kind of like getting a sense of how humanity could have started to change from just trying to survive to, you know, trying to live.
Followed by The Croods: A New Age