THE CROODS is the latest Dreamworks release, and they have won me back a bit. CROODS is enjoyable with a few laughs and a not unengaging story (though a bit predictable).
I liked it, and would recommend it. However, there are a couple of "complaints."
First, I don't care for the habit movie makers have of imposing 'modern' or contemporary social style (speech, interpersonal relationship trends, etc) on what amounts to "period pieces." They set up the Crood family as being but a slight step up from animals, with nearly 100% of their awareness going to (a) eating and (b) staying safe. Then we get into "higher order" stuff in the third act, like "I love you," and the whole teen angst thing.
A movie about anthrophorized fish can get away with this a bit better because it's very clear it's fantasy. I guess the incongruity came for me not that it was not "realistic" to how I would think 'cave men' would act, but rather because it was not the characters the movie itself painted.
Second, story-wise, it bore a bit of resemblance to BLAZE from Pixar last year. I've noticed this a lot with Dreamworks and Pixar - parallels in story setting (not story itself, just the superficial setting). FINDING NEMO (2003) and SHARK TALE (2004) came out about the same time, as did A BUG'S LIFE (1998) and ANTZ (1998). It was also a bit derivative of Blue Sky's ICE AGE; the people falling into the little tunnels with each falling into a separate one was very slightly irritating to me since I recognized it.
With that out of the way, I've got to say the detail in the modeling was truly amazing. Scars, hair on arms and details like this were so stunning that a few times, noticing it took me "out" of the movie for a few seconds. Anyone interesting in the tech of 3D rendering (not 3D movie, we saw the 2D version) should see this. Dreamworks continues their climb and development on physiological detail.
The voice work was solid and believable, though some of the dialog and characterization seemed a bit forced.
There were a number of laugh out loud moments for both parents and children, and once again (like I remarked for ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH), I really, really liked that the "adult" humor was not thinly veiled low-brow potty or sexual humor. In fact, as I think about it, we grown-ups laughed at quite a few of the same parts that the little ones did...and hey, that's quite a feat to accomplish.
3.5 out of 5 from me on the enjoyment scale; analyzing this one as a "film" will cause some problems, but there are far, far worse movies with which to spend an afternoon.