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Croods, The (3D)


Stars: Voices: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Cloris Leachman

Director: Chris Sanders, Kirk De Micco

Breezy cartoon feature, set in prehistoric times, that owes elements to both Brave and the Ice Age films, but is finally its own movie. Once again, there's a heroine with flyaway red hair, in this case Eep (Stone), a cavegirl; tired of curling up in a huge ball with the rest of her family, she has taken to sleeping on a ledge high up in the cave and looking at the stars.

One night, she is intrigued by a flickering light outside the cave, and runs into lanky youth Guy (Reynolds), who introduces her to fire. But then their world is literally fragmented by an earthquake annd their cave destroyed.

The family sets out to find a new home and ends up in a perilous kind of Shangri-La. By this time, with Guy and his marmoset Belt in tow, the party consists of Eep, monolithic dad Grug (Cage) - 'Ideas are for weaklings' he proclaims - too-gooey mom (Keener), fun Grandma (Leachman), who has a stick and a tail and keeps joyfully exclaiming 'Still alive' - numskull son Thunk (Duke) and a demon baby released at times of chases after eggs, which recall Skrat's pursuit of the acorn in Ice Age.

No one can accuse this film, unlike Grug, of being short of ideas. The CGI boys have a field day inventing weird creations, including a lethal flock of birds, an alligator-snouted canine who likes to fetch, a massive feline who's just a pussycat at heart and many more. The script, alas, is nearly as brain-dead as Grug, with over-emphasis on such anachronisms as 'You really need to see this'.

Kids aren't likely to care about such niceties, however, and younger ones in particular will enjoy every minute.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox (DreamWorks). Colour by deluxe.
98 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 18 Mar 2013