“The Croods” (2013) is an animated comedy directed by Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco. It is very much filed with a slapstick humour and takes the viewer through an extraordinary journey. In his movie review Nell Minow states: “Despite a few too many mother-in-law jokes, "The Croods" nicely makes it clear that even before they had fire, families understood how important it was to cherish and protect each other.” (Minow, 2013) Perhaps this is the main strength of “The Croods”, apart from the stunning visuals – the way they wrapped an important message in a comical way.
The comedy comes from the extraordinary situations that the cavemen family is getting into. Even though their life motto is “Never not be afraid” somehow the Croods manage to fall, stumble, being attacked and crushed by almost anything in their world. This slapstick approach works excellently in the form of animation since it doesn’t require any actual stunts and the squishiness of the characters makes them increasingly funny as the film progresses. The definition of slapstick comedy in encyclopedia Britannica is as follows: “a type of physical comedy characterized by broad humour, absurd situations, and vigorous, usually violent action.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2015) The good thing about making a slapstick animated comedy though is that when real actors fall, trip or are violent it can become very cringy, very quick. It also leaves a bit of a negative vibe after watching. An animation however can balance things out and keep things light and humorous.
If I had to discuss a particular scene from the film my favourite is probably when the the Croods go for their breakfast after spending 3 days in their cave. The now simple morning meal, is exaggerated to an extreme when it turns into an American football match where even the vicious little Crood baby plays a major role to win over an egg. What makes it exceptionally successful are the mechanisms with which their universe operates. People can jump really high, everyone is really quick and very strong. There are boulders being thrown and giant bird creatures running after the attackers. The comedy is not purely visual as well a lot of it relies on the sounds. Every time someone is being squashed they produce the funniest sounds.
“The Croods” did not make me laugh out loud particularly but I was tremendously entertained by the world it presented. What made it funny were the characters, their design and behaviour the way they reacted to different situations and to each other. I think the main success of the film, personally, were the visuals, the saturated and rich universe in which you just want to walk around with a sketchbook in hand.
Overall “The Croods” definitely won me over and it brought back a very sentimental feeling of when I was watching Tom and Jerry running around and slipping on banana peels.
Minow, N. (2013). The Croods Movie Review & Film Summary (2013) | Roger Ebert. [online] Rogerebert.com. Available at: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-croods-2013 [Accessed 27 Nov. 2015].
Encyclopedia Britannica, (2015). slapstick | comedy. [online] Available at: http://www.britannica.com/art/slapstick-comedy [Accessed 27 Nov. 2015].