on 22 January 2014
THE CROODS  [Deluxe Limited Edition] [3D Blu-ray + 2D Blu-ray + DVD + DigitalHD] [US Import] One of the Best Animated Movies We’ve Ever Seen! Meet The First Modern Family!
Join the Croods on the journey of a lifetime in the epic comedy-adventure, that has the magical wonder of ‘How To Train Your Dragon.’ When their cave is destroyed, the Croods set out to explore a spectacular landscape filled with fantastic creatures, strange surprises, and a whole new world of adventure!
Voice Cast: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Cloris Leachman, Chris Sanders and Randy Thom
Directors: Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco
Producers: Jane Hartwell and Kristine Belson
Screenplay: Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco
Composer: Alan Silvestri
Cinematography: Yong Duk Jhun and Roger Deakins [Visual Consultant]
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital, French: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Russian: 5.1 DTS, Estonian: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Latvian: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Lithuanian: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Ukrainian: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Russian and Ukrainian
Running Time: 96 minutes
Region: Region A/1
Number of discs: 3
Studio: DreamWorks Animation
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: ‘The Croods’ is a surreal, heart-warming and an intelligent animated adventure-comedy and is just a typical caveman day out, especially showing us the eponymous family of Neanderthals that is forced to leave the relative safety of their cave. This animation cartoon via DreamWorks, is the definition of a sometimes hit-or-miss animation studio. 'Rise of the Guardians' was superb in both substance and style, especially likes of 'Puss in Boots' 3D [that I thought was totally awesome], whereas 'Madagascar 3' and their most recent dreadful animation 'Turbo' have all been definitely thumbs down, big time! At some point all the CGI children's animation films that come out nowadays, sort of blend together. But the occasional release stands out, and it is usually a PIXAR production, but even that's an iffy prospect these days, but mostly it feels like a whole lot of sameness. Most of them are colourful, have simple plots, and have a few funny moments.
Anyway, we're in prehistoric times and the Croods are a loveable family of Neanderthals trying to do what every Neanderthal is trying to do, not get killed. It's a dangerous world out there, so the Croods tend to stay inside their cave cowering in fear. As Grug Crood [Nicolas Cage], papa caveman of this clan, always says, "Never not be afraid." The Croods family is taught that curiosity is just about the most dangerous thing a caveman can have, so of course their daughter Eep [Emma Stone] is naturally curious. A good old strained father-daughter relationship is brewing here. But, the movie wouldn't be complete without a few comedic generic characters like the sassy grandmother [Cloris Leachman], the doltish son [Clark Duke], the congenial mother (Catherine Keener), the wacky baby, and the loveable stranger [Ryan Reynolds]. Now that they've got the formula down it's time to run the characters through the predictable paces, picking up a few zany animal friends along the way.
So, now you know what you're in for. As far as a children's animation film goes, there's much worse out there than 'The Croods.' At least the animation is absolutely stunningly and at the same time brilliant to look at. No matter that none of the animals featured appear to have come from this planet since not one of them appears to fit into the evolutionary chain at all. Giant flying turtles, land whales with stubby legs walking around in the desert, and leafy elephants just to name a few of the stranger creations in this film.
At some point you just have to say, "Hey, if it makes Junior happy, I'm in." As far as competing with the strongest entries in the DreamWorks catalogue, 'The Croods' is great. The hardnosed father is taught a lesson by his spunky young daughter in acceptance and living life to the fullest. In turn, she discovers that maybe her dad really does care about her and all that paranoid parenting actually meant something.
That said, there's some really fun animation in this film. It's as if they said, screw the geological record, we're making our own evolutionary creations. Because of the inventiveness of the world of 'The Croods' and the creativity applied in the animation, the animation film rises above the other formulaic children's films. Not by much, but enough that it stands out among the rest.
The comedy only gets more inspired and idiosyncratic. While most new cartoons feel as if they've been assembled by committee, the only credited writers and directors here are Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco, plus, intriguingly, John Cleese, who worked on early drafts of the screenplay and their humour, shines through. They even get laughs from mother-in-law jokes and a banana-skin pratfall, despite those chestnuts being Stone Age. It is also on par with the other brilliant Oscar® winning PIXAR/Disney animation cartoon ‘Brave’ that is also a stunning 3D Blu-ray disc.
Blu-ray Video Quality – `The Croods' looks absolutely stunning in 3D and there's nearly no difference in brightness or definition between this version and the stand alone 2D image (also included in this set). Colours are just as bold, details are just as fine. The image never appears any darker in 3D, which is a big plus, particularly in the film's more naturally darker scenes. Details still look incredible, right down to the finest terrain textures, whether gritty earthen elements or lush natural vegetation. The 3D effects are brilliant. General depth impresses me greatly. The transfer shows off the sprawling landscapes really good, again both the rocky lands to start and the more colourful vegetation areas later. Shots down on the ground are particularly impressive in terms of realistic spacing and depth. A few odds and ends do stand out; animal beaks and noses sometimes seem to extended beyond the front of the screen, while dust particles and other floating objects on the air seems to drift far back into and well out of the screen. Very little of the dreaded "crosstalk" effect was visible throughout the animation film. Overall, this is a brilliant 3D transfer.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – This 3D animation film is provided with a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix, 'The Croods' matches the exceptionality of its video presentation with its audio. This is an immersive, entertaining audio mix that sucks you in and never lets you go. There are plenty of examples where the movie's sound design makes great use of the seven channels. The opening chase scene where the Croods attempt to procure breakfast by stealing an egg and uses every channel in its arsenal. The action zooms from one speaker to another. The sound travels flawlessly back and forth through the sound field. There are other moments, like when the earth starts cracking up, where the surround takes hold, providing deep, rumbling bass. Explosions of lava and smoke erupt from the earth's surface, causing the sub-woofer to roar. The rear channels are equally impressive. The soundscape of 'The Croods' prehistoric world is a lively one. Once they enter the jungle the rear channels are alive with all sorts of far off jungle noises. This is an extremely interactive audio presentation and it is definitely one that the whole family will enjoy.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: The Croodaceous Creatures of Croods [1080p] [8:00] A lightly interactive supplement in which two of the film's characters teach audiences about the various creatures in the film through voiceover, graphics, clips from the film, animated drawings, and more. Included is the Bear Owl [0:43], the Piranhakeet [0:38], Belt [0:37], the Liyote [0:29], the Punch Monkey [0:45], the Turtle Dove [0:43], the Turkeyfish [0:42], the Girelephant [0:33] and the Sharkodile [0:42].
Special Feature: Belt's Cave Journal [1080p] [6:15] Guy shares his companion Belt's history with the help of some basic simple animation.
Special Feature: Croods' Cuts: Lost Scenes [1080p] [8:00] A Writers/Directors Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco introduction [0:25] is followed by the following deleted scenes: Crazy Grug [2:36], It's Rain [3:08], It's a Great Cave [1:09] and Termites [1:15]. The filmmakers also introduce each scene and explain why scenes were removed from the final cut. Some scenes appear in a very basic state of progression.
Special Feature: Be An Artist [1080p] [35:00] An introduction [0:17] to the supplement with Supervising Animator Sean Sexton is followed by his lessons on how to draw the following characters from the film: Belt [12:00], Macawnivore [15:22] and Mousephant [7:45].
Theatrical Trailer  [1080p] [2:11] Here we have the original ‘The Croods’ trailer.
Sneak Peeks [1080p] Previews for `Turbo' [2:26], `Shrek the Musical' [1:03], `Epic,' various Holiday-themed films including the DreamWorks Holiday Classics collection, and `Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.'
World of DreamWorks Animation [1080p] Titbits from `Shrek,' `Madagascar,' `How to Train Your Dragon' and `Kung Fu Panda.'
DVD Copy [Standard Definition]
DigitalHD Copy [For Portable Media Players]
Finally, `The Croods' offers a hugely satisfying animated film experience, particularly beyond the fairy-tale and predictable superficial dynamics. Under the surface is warm, welcoming story, a fun, honest, heartfelt tale of discovery, of satisfaction, of accepting new things, of understanding the greater world. It's a very sweet and touching experience amidst all of the humour, most of which hits and none of which falls completely flat. To be sure, there's not much room to reinvent the wheel, in this case, being the modern Family animated film, but there's something to be said for sprucing it up and getting the most out of its capabilities, which `The Croods' does very well. The DreamWorks Animation Blu-ray 3D release of `The Croods' delivers an awesome 2D picture as well. The 3D transfer and the amazing sound are a brilliant factor to purchase this 3D extravaganza. A very nice array of extras are included, and the animation is sure to leave audiences of all ages extremely satisfied and all in all I was so happy to get this brilliant 3D package and has gone pride of place in my Blu-ray 3D Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom