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March 28th, 2013

Movie Review - The Croods

(It's my birthday so I splurged! Doing two movies this week. One today and another tomorrow. Yeah!)

The Croods

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman, Clark Duke, Chris Sanders, and Randy Thom.

Directed by: Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders Screenplay by: Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco Story by: John Cleese, Chris Sanders, and Kirk De Micco Cinematography by: Yong Duk Jhun Original Music by: Alan Silvestri

Premise: Tired of always hiding in caves and fearing the outside world, Eep, a young cavegirl, breaks her father's strictest rule and leaves the cave during the night when she sees light shinning in from outside and decides to go investigate. She makes a startling discovery, but also finds out the end of the world may be at hand. If she and her family don't try to find a new way of life, they may very well become extinct. (Rated PG)


1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Nicolas Cage works a remarkably broad range of emotions as The Crood's head of the family. Between Mr. Cage's acting and the great animation from Dreamworks, it's easy to see the whole spectrum of Grug's feelings throughout the film. Emma Stone played the ultimate teenager and did it very well. Ryan Reynolds was fun as the character 'Guy'. Cloris Leachman had great chemistry with Nicolas Cage as hated mother-in-law. She had some great one liners. Chris Sanders as Belt was adorable!

2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Dreamworks really knows how to use their medium to tell stories. I loved the stark contrast between the Croods' home and the new land they discover when they set off on their journey. And rather than just give us the usual prehistoric or modern animals and plants, the film animators went through a lot of trouble, and had some obvious fun, inventing a world all their own.

The animation is quite impressive throughout. The film was filled with great sweeping vistas and grand chaos. Coupled with the bright imagination of the artists and story makers, it made the whole film very robust. Deadly beauty, unexpected discoveries, even finding a way to make serious things humorous - the film does all this and more. One of my favorite parts was the field of giant flowers some of the party members come across in the labyrinth - definitely beautiful and also very deadly.

Two mirrored but extremely poignant moments only involved animation yet were incredibly powerful - Eep and her father both unknowingly hesitate, then make the conscious decision (for different reasons) to leave the known safety of the cave - the deep emotion and hesitation shown purely by the way they lay their hand on the cave's front stone and then remove it. Lovely.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: As some of the best animated films do, "The Croods" has something for everyone in the family to enjoy. They also incorporated a lot of subtle humor, even weaving some of it into the music in the background. The parents are apt to enjoy the movie even more than the kids.

The story line possesses several concurrent plots, making it more robust as a whole. Not only do they cover Eep's anxieties and dreams, which is typical of animated films, but they go a step further and also show her father's - connecting with the teens and parents. The whole section where Grug is trying to be 'hip' and create things on his own, is a total riot.

But even better, despite it being a kid's movie and as such almost forced to end on a happy note, the story tellers even make you doubt all will turn out okay.

Conclusion: "The Croods" is highly enjoyable and totally adorable. Contains a ton of cute to outright funny moments. Lots of great visuals. (I want one of the flying turtles!) Well worth making the time to go see it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Paying Full Price To See Again!)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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