Friday, February 22, 2013

Launching The Croods

The articles and tub-thumping commence.

... As the credits began to roll for this out-of-competition screening [for DWA's The Croods], an audience of 2000 got to its feet and began to applaud wildly for this silly, sweet yet surprisingly sophisticated animated feature.

And while all the DWA & Fox [execs] who were on hand for the world premiere of The Croods were thrilled with the reception that this new feature-length cartoon received, no one was more excited -- or more relieved -- than the film's two directors, Chris Sanders and Kirk Di Micco. ...

[W]hat pleased Kirk and Chris the most, what made them feel that all of those years which they'd spent reworking this movie's story had ultimately been worth it, was the reaction that the audience in Berlin had to what happens in Act 3. Which is when (SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD) this animated feature makes a deft left turn. Transforming from a broad comic adventure which is loaded with slapstick to this sweet & sincere story where our caveman family is suddenly faced with some very real peril. And one member of this comical clan has to make a pretty huge sacrifice.

"We actually built this movie around that moment," Kirk explained. ...

A rapturous reception at the Berlin film festival doesn't guarantee stellar box office, but it certainly bodes well ...

The reviews that have so far trickled out are positive with caveats ("It's entertaining, but ...")

Beyond clips and trailers, I have seen little of the feature, so my crystal ball is cloudy. But from early impressions, the picture is in the comedy and action mode that has made Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda sustainable franchises, and this film might follow down the same path because ...

-- Character comedy with lots of visual humor plays well worldwide.

-- Ice Age, another prehistoric comedy, has raked in major bucks.

-- Chris Sanders has had a strong track record over twenty years.

-- The Croods seems more in the middle of DreamWorks Animation's usual strike zone than Rise of the Guardians was.

However, the usual "on the other hands" apply: Maybe The Croods has the wrong release window. (Disney's Bolt was released the same weekend as the first Twilight, a serious error.) Maybe word of mouth will be tepid. Maybe the character designs are off-putting. (Some folks have complained about the "ugly" cave people, that Chris Sanders's early renderings were better, etc. etc.)

None of the above will matter is the picture is a hit. All of the above will be dragged out and pinned to the corpse if DreamWorks Animation's latest offering under-performs. We'll just have to wait a month and see what happens.


Unknown said...

Consider the source: jim hill. Not exactly a "journalist," but more of a fan-boy who will praise anything he's allowed to attend. I happened to be at the festival in Berlin. And while the film was as well received as a cartoon will be at a festival of this sort, I'd hardly call it overwhelming.

The film itself is fin. Nothing beyond what we've seen in the last few years--which is the single biggest problem. But there are enough thrills to keep children happy for eighty minutes. Congrats to the dw staff.

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