My opinion right after watching movie
My opinion right after watching the movie is that I am not that big of a fan. While the story is pretty nice and a lot of the characters are defined and developed, there are a bit too much cliches and jokes that weaken every aspect of it for me.
The film was originally announced in 2005 as one of the 5-deal films they were to make with Aardmin Animations, and also being stop motion, but that obviously failed, but DreamWorks Animation still had the rights to it. John Cleese and Kirk DeMicco were working on a project that never went through fruition, and DreamWorks saw the script and asked them to join the project.
When Chris Sanders joined the project in 2007, there were many changes to it. The original date for it was pushed back to March 2012 because of How to Train Your Dragon, and got another delay to March 2013. This film is the first film to be distributed by 20th Century Fox after the failure of Rise of the Guardians.
So the story starts with a voiceover of Eep (Emma Stone) explaining how her family survived their harsh world, and how she is bored of her controlling father and his rules about never leaving the cave unless it is for hunting. Just to wrap it up, she is…….
Anyhow, we are introduced to the family by them going on a hunt, which is an excuse for DreamWorks to shove in a football reference to get us a cheap laugh. Oh, and it is like 7 minutes long.
So after their hunt, Eep is climbing a surface to look at the view and all that, just like Merida and some other heroines have done MANY, MANY times. Her father Grug (Nicholas Cage) gets her out, and saves her from getting attacked by a hybrid animal that I do not care for enough to look for the name. They get into a minor tiff about always having to stay in the cave and her adventurousness, and her mother Ugga (Catherine Keener) tells him to back off. He gives a story about how curiosity is bad, more than subtly hinting it at Eep, causing her to groan.
It is night time and she sees a reflection of a light (fire) come into the cave, and she sneaks outside to find Guy (Ryan Reynolds) creating fire. She reacts weirdly to him at first, but that is soon over with, and he teaches her about fire and tells her that the world is ending and to call him for help by blowing on a seashell.
Gurg senses that something happened to Eep only to find her outside by herself, and immediately grounds her. Okay, I have to mention this; I get where the producers were going with Gurg, but the way they are telling the point through him is so…….. over the top, irritating, extra, you get the point. So he grounds her. So they return and she tells them about Guy and when she calls him via seashell, they break it, and she snaps at them. They say that it is because it is new, and shortly, their cave is destroyed. So they eventually start their long family road-trip like journey.
So after minutes of bad DreamWorks humor with the caveman acting crazy, and their mentality shoved in our faces, Guy is introduced to the family, and he thinks they are completely insane. He wants to go to the mountains after the world ends, and they force him to stay with them until they find another cave but after seeing another one collapse, he decides the family to go to the mountain with Guy. They take a break, and the teens bond by…….
So in the evening, Gurg tells one of the same stories he always does, but Guy starts a story, that did not end with “They died”, fascinating all the other family members. So we get a montage of Guy’s smarts helping them navigate through the dangers better than Gurg’s strength, and him not liking Eep and Guy getting close. They end up in a ravine, and Gurg struggles while everyone else goes through with ease, thanks to Guy. Ugga eventually goes back to get Gurg and to talk to him.
So the next morning, Gurg tries his ideas to be like Guy (looks wise and personality wise too), which fails, and they finally get to a cave after they hear an explosion. Eep tells him that they were not living and they need to go with Guy, and says that they would be dead if they listened to Gurg.
So they conspire a way to get out (they are stuck, so I don’t know how they got all the materials) to make a female version of that lion thingy I posted about above, which gets them out of the mud. They reconcile with the others, and the ground starts collapsing in front of them, and they want to run in the cave, but the newly changed Gurg tells them “No hiding” . I am so sick of the contrived execution of this film. Anyways, he tosses each of them across the gap to safety, and it collapses, with them thinking he died.
Everything collapses over Gurg forming a cave, and bonds with the lion thingy when they are stuck in the dark, and uses it to escape. with all the birds somehow. Anyways, they reconcile, and Emma Stone voices over on how they changed and adapted and all of that, showing them with the animals, and advancing, like technology. This ending screams sequel/franchise.
The characters in the film are all likable, but most of them are archetypes and nothing more. There are some that are deep, but the development of some are extremely rushed. Overall, they could have tried a lot harder with the characters in the film.
I am not gonna go to the baby or the belt because they are useless, and have no personality.
The animation in this film is STUNNUNG, especially the animals and the background designs. There are so many colors and details that are in each background and animal, and they look so vibrant and it feels like they are real because of all the characters. While the character designs are not really my type, they were going for the caveman thing, so it is understandable.
The music is actually very creative. There are a lot of tropical-like scores, and there is not much traditional caveman like music that are in stuff like the Flinstones. It weirdly works for the movie.
Reception at Release
When the film was released on March 22nd 2013, it topped the box office for 2 weeks and ended up making $187,168,425 domestically, $400,036,243 overseas, making a total of $587,204,668. It is the 89th highest grossing film, the 6th highest-grossing film of 2013 (some of the 2013 films are still in theaters, so this will most likely change), 20th highest-grossing animated film, and the 2nd highest grossing original DreamWorks film behind Kung Fu Panda.
Critically, it received favorable reviews. People liked it for its animation, “humor”, characters, but also complain about it being extremely cliche, and a mediocre story. Others find it extremely childish.
The accolades for all films this year are currently taking place, and it got a BUNCH of nominations that are currently pending. I think it is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, 9 Annies (and one including Best Animate Feature), a lot of these including directing and animation, and a bunch of other smaller awards, a lot of them for Best Female Characters and Best Animated Feature.
The film was released 9 months ago, so it’s reputation has not changed. It is one of the better films of this year, and it was a success, so there is a TV series and a sequel in development.
Story = 6.5/10
Characters = 6/10
Music = 8/10
Animation = 8/10