Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Croods didn't work *spoiler*

The family film that got way too family, the groods

Now I feel like one of those people who won't write until I see something that's not working.

I didn't have high hopes when I saw the advertising... but I like Dreamworks, I like their films in most cases just like I like Pixar. So I gave it a chance, paid my 13 dollars to see this "family" film in 3D.

I noticed only adults laught, none of the children were laughing in the theater .. but my sample size is extremely small so it's not quite as accurate.
But apparently even though this film is full of slap sticks, nothing was funny enough to build up too much, except with a few cough ups exceptional funny moments. Particular with the Belt character. He's probably my favorite in the film.

I think the reason why this film didn't work was character writing... There are so many characters, so there's no focus. The most interesting part was probably between the struggle between the Dad and the New Guy.

Yet the show was originally going to focus on the Dad with the Daughter.
1 hour 20 mins.... there's not enough time for 2 conflicts to build up and be both resolved convincingly.
I wished they spent more time on the writing and storyboard and figure out their true focus on this film.

I personally thought... if the New Guy wasn't quite that nice and innocent, play a bit of anti-hero and be a bit more strategic with politic within the family, he can easily play the simple minded family around a bit more toward his own advantage despite their brute might, his position to get in between the father-daughter conflict would be more interesting.

Perhaps the audience will also side with the Dad, not so one sided with Guy hoping for "NEW" things, really see the DANGER the Dad was so desperately trying to keep the family away from and truly make that survival sense shine... and thus will make the big reveal about the Guy's background much more intense and more convincing, leading upto the final moment.
However, I did find the last resolution to the Dad's plot a bit weak..... even though it's entertaining.
This film also has some really really bad one liner... I understand it's writing a bunch of uneducated people, but the writer could never quite get into their skin. If there's going to be bad one liner, make that funny. Don't make it important.

There's a real threat here, a real threat any Dad, any family would be scared of... The earth is changing, it's giant earthquake, the end of the world....

The Groods also failed to build up the sense of danger in the scope of the film when in the background, the world is changing, something very intense is happening, the characters gave no sense of that.
It felt as if the writers themselves can't believe in the world. Playing with survival and danger.... they wanted to bring in a comedic tone to the whole thing, which is not a bad route to take for stories... but failing to build up on the conflict is a killer for the film. The conflict in the film can be introduced with one line... It's WAY too simple. I understand its a film for children, but adults are there to help them learn. I feel the film makers can feel more at ease about bringing in slightly more complicated situation in a family we will see. Children see the complicated adults everyday.... why not give them a chance to learn something new? I believe that's what children films are for.

Clearly, the story failed to resonate .. it's really regretful because the visual is stunning, the colors and imaginative designs of the creatures were a lot of fun, and they have a cute touch to them, I also really enjoyed the 2D in the beginning. I do find the 2D style a lot more charming than the 3D adaption of the 2D character. I would have loved seeing more work on the style too of the 3D film.

If only they worked on the story more.... The Groods have something interesting to offer, but thoroughly missed the gold nugget that could have made it a moving film.

I also feel this is probably a script right before a really good script, if only it was worked on it more. 


Louise Kay Uy said...

Before anything else, you might want to correct your spelling, it's actually 'The Croods, not Groods'.

To me, I thought the story writing was fine and all. Maybe the focus of relationship dynamics were mostly between the Dad-daughter, and also the Dad-Guy, but I thought the main focus of the story was that there's more to life than just 'trying to survive'.

The daughter already realized that since the beginning which is why she and her Dad butt heads alot. Guy's presence only reinforces her beliefs, which only compounds Dad's problems on top of the fact their world has been shattered literally Dad is not going to let some newcomer come and change what has always been working for them for a long time.

Maybe I'm a lot more sympathetic, but since the daughter narrated also from the beginning that it's Dad's job to protect them all, and we've seen him do it none stop throughout the entire movie, so I easily understand why he does and acts the way he is: because he loves them and will do anything to protect them. To me, seeing Dad's character arc development was a treat, seeing his whole way of life changed, questioned, 'losing everything (supposedly the love and respect of his family)', and reaffirming the things that he loves and growing.

But to side with Dad in any point of the story before the big change would mean agreeing with him that the only way to live is to constantly be afraid and to stay in the dark, in the cave- which would kill them all once the cataclysm catches up with them.

So there really is no need for Guy to have to be more manipulative or shady because he's not a point of conflict; it's the father-daughter, Survival vs Living that's at conflict here.

I do agree that it is a little odd at times that despite the fact the world is collapsing and falling and lava all around them, they manage to stay relatively calm and have their comedy moments. But I boil it down to two things 1) Kiddy film=needs comedy 2) The end of the world is just a plot device- that is the thing that's pushing this family out beyond their empty, desolate, and rocky life to somewhere new, beautiful, still dangerous but so much more. By the time the film ends, the family is a lot closer than ever before and no longer afraid of the world.

Well yea, so there's my two cents to the film experience. Didn't mean to throw a wall of text here.

Christine Y. Chong said...

thanks for the correction. I wasn't too sure about the Grood or Croods actually due to the way its said the the text design for some reason. O_o

I'm surprised someone responded to this rambling.

I just find the overall film lack surprises, that's probably what bothers me most. In a way they went with the formula too much, and didn't quite push the envelope when there's actually room to push it.

With that said I am glad you can enjoy the film more than I do.

Sympathizing with the Dad isn't hard, but agreeing with him is hard, in order to reach true sympathy I think the audience also need to be provided with stronger logic to agree with him, I feel the persuasion of logic from the Dad side just wasn't done so well which brought down the conflict level.