The Croods is so good it will draw crowds. Do see this one, it will be the most fun you've had in a theater all year and is the most fun you've had with an animated movie since 2010's How to Train Your Dragon. That makes sense because one of the two directors -- Chris Sanders -- did that one too.
Neanderthals Grug, his wife Ugga, daughter Eep, son Thunk and their animal-like baby daughter live in a cave. They stay inside all the time and never venture out except for food. Outside is dangerous, and Grug -- who has tons of rules -- says staying in the cave is the most important rule of all.
Teenagers, of course, hate rules. Daughter Eep loathes being cooped up all the time and one night ventures out and meets Guy. He's mastered fire and is on the move to escape a cataclysm. Plot twists happen to get the Neanderthals to tag along.
Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener and Cloris Leachman give voice to Guy and the Neanderthals (sounds like the name of a rock band) trying to escape the world's reshaping from Pangia. If you don't know, it's the theoretical process scientists say gave the planet its continental alignment.
The actors have a blast with an exceptional and intelligent script from Sanders and his co-director and co-writer Kirk De Micco. The two directors pack their three-dimensional animated flick with a multi-dimensional story, a great cast and characters, gobs of humor and brilliant, imaginative animation and special effects.
The Croods is a masterpiece, and if you can, do see it in 3D. Can't afford 3D? Don't worry. This one will be just as much fun in the standard two-dimensions. Sanders and De Micco stun the senses with astounding creatures and splash their picture with rainbows of colors. In the 3D version, there are spots where you will swear dust particles, debris from explosions, animals and birds and other things are going to really come off the screen.
It's mindbogglingly good, and so is the plot.
Scene after scene is packed with laughs and will have you howling. My favorite is the cavefolk discovering fire. It hurt me. The humor works for adults as well as kids, and the movie has non-stop action that is slapsticky enough to rivet kids to their seats.
Directors: Chris Sanders, Kirk De Micco
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated PG for some mature themes. It is playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.