After "Lilo & Stich" and "How to Train Your Dragon," Another Winner from the Master, Chris Sanders
|"The Croods" (2013).|
Sanders was the driving creative force behind Disney's Lilo & Stich (2002), which was the studio's only hit of the early 2000s. That might have led Sanders to turn inward and live off of his own personal cottage industry of Lilo & Stich riffs, but he had bigger plans. Sanders next worked up a story that eventually turned into Bolt (2008), but the new Pixar honchos ran him out ("he negotiated an exit") and turned Sanders' promising idea into a near-fiasco.
Finding the pastures greener at Dreamworks Animation, Sanders then worked up "How to Train Your Dragon" (2010), which became a huge hit and itself spawned a cottage industry of sequels, television series, and stage shows. Once again, Sanders could have sat on his laurels, but instead, he became the director and screenwriter (with Kirk DeMicco) of "The Croods" (2013), starring Nicholas Cage and Emma Stone. Sanders is one of the top creative geniuses you probably have never heard of, and he throws his reputation on the line again with this film.
|The Croods, including Grug's mother-in-law on the right.|
The overprotective Grug warns the family about being too curious and does everything that he can to keep them out of trouble. While Grug's caution has served the family well, keeping it alive while most of their neighbors have died, Eep is inherently curious. One night, Eep waits until the family is asleep in its cave and ventures out to do a little exploring.
|Nicholas Cage and his character, Grug.|
|Emma Stone and her character, Eep.|
Stealing the torch, the Croods misuse it and create chaos by setting everything around them on fire, including some giant corn that pops to create fireworks. Grug decides that Guy is valuable if a bit dangerous, so he forces Guy to lead them to a safe cave in a nearby mountain.
|Guy and Eep.|
|Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone. Emma later won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2017.|
|The Croods climb out of the ruins of their world.|
|The Croods discover new land.|
|Lots of forbidding creatures in "The Croods" that are kid-friendly.|
|The sloth, played by Chris Sanders.|
|Eep is very curious.|
|The 3D graphics are superb, with lots of subdued pastels.|