The Croods – Review

“No more dark.  No more caves.  What’s the point of all this?  To follow the light.”

 “We’re going to jump on the sun and ride it to tomorrow!”

 I must admit, I was a little skeptical going in.  Why?  Because of the preview.  I know I’m probably too serious sometimes, but there’s a part of me that is a little concerned about the effects of some of the rude and crude humor in children’s shows.  The preview shows a family, named the Croods (which has more than one meaning, granted, but should be a little telling), interacting in a very rough manner.  The fact that they are cavemen makes it a little more expected and forgivable, to be sure.  Nonetheless, I was a little wary when the preview shows the Dad getting beat up by some monkeys, and the mother-in-law jumps in on the “fun” and whacks him too, saying, “I’m loving this!”  What are we teaching our youth about respect and honor and love for each other and for our elders?  It seems to me that there’s an underlying message in much of our entertainment that as long as something is funny, the rules don’t apply and all is forgiven.

I tell you my misgivings so that you’ll understand even more my surprise and delight in The Croods.  It was so much more than funny.  And yes, some of the humor did generate from the family conflicts and roughness and even disrespect—and had it stopped there, I would have had a very different feeling about the movie, but it didn’t.

The Croods live in a cave, with very strict rules to enable their survival—rules about living safe, regimented lives, about avoiding anything new or inventive or creative or different…because those things can get you killed.  The dad, Grug, and his mother-in-law, as I’ve already mentioned have a love-hate relationship, you could say—but thankfully, their annoyance with each other feels more like teasing than mean spiritedness or bitterness.  Grug and his teenage daughter Eeep are the central conflict in the family—as she is naturally testing the boundaries.  The thing which really struck me though, is that they live in darkness, and Eep hates the darkness.  I guess they all do, but the darkness feels safe to them, so they stay in the dark (except for Eep in her desperation to escape the darkness).

While Eep is out searching for the light, trying to hold on to a few last minutes of daylight, she meets a young man, Guy.  Of course they hit it off, and he and her father don’t… at first… everything you might expect from a movie about a father and his teenage daughter—but that isn’t the exciting part.  The awesome, exciting thing about this movie is how the gospel message comes into it with Guy.

Guy knows how to start fire (something the Croods have never seen before).  They are fascinated by the light that he has.  Guy brings them the light, teaches them about the light, shows them how to use the light, and tells them they should join him as he follows the light/the son.  The Croods may have lived in darkness, but he warns them that things are going to get even worse.  The end of the world is coming and their only hope is to follow the Sun. They have to leave their darkness and literally, follow the light into safety.

Because of Guy, the Croods escape not only the darkness they lived in, but their certain destruction.  As they journey toward the Sun, they are changed for the better (just as any man is changed as he gets nearer to the Son of God).  Grug learns some humility.  The family used to think fear kept them alive, in fact, their motto was:  “Never NOT be afraid,” but the closer they get to the light, the less they are afraid, the less they feel a need to be afraid.  They make friends (or pets, I should say) with their enemies (I loved that!).   And perhaps most significantly, they all learn to love each other better.  I think the actual love between them grows, but certainly their appreciation for each other grows, and definitely their willingness to express their love grows.  The Croods may have been a little crude in the beginning, but as they move towards the sun, they are less and less so.   And in the end, they reach paradise.

Oh my goodness!  Don’t you see it?  The gospel is all over this!  Guy is like an evangelist who comes bringing news—bad news that they are living in darkness (of sin) and that the end of the world is coming and they will be destroyed if they choose to stay as they are, and good news that there is hope.  He gives them fire, which warms and protects them and illuminates the darkness (you could parallel that with the Bible and/or the Holy Spirit, really), and he teaches them how to follow the Sun (surely you see the parallel to the SON, here, right?).  As they follow the Son they are transformed.  They get out of the darkness, escape annihilation, relationships improve, people change, love is freely shown, even to their enemies (who then become friends)… and in the end, they arrive in heaven.

I was babysitting a 5 or 6 year old boy last night who had just seen the Croods (and loved it), and I was able to use the movie to teach him about how Jesus is the light.  He hadn’t ever heard that before, but it made more tangible sense having seen the Croods than it would have otherwise.  And the great thing about kids is that they’ll watch a movie a million times, so I figure I have about a million more opportunities to help him understand more and more the message of the Gospel through that movie in the next few years.  Don’t miss the chance to have those conversations (and have them several times) with the kids you know (and it’s not just for kids!).  This movie is a great way to teach some really significant spiritual truths!

“From now on, we’ll stay out here where we can follow the light.”

Questions for Discussion:

  • What are the signs of (or the effects of) living in darkness?
  • What changed as the Croods went towards the light?
  • Why didn’t Grug like Guy very much?
  • Have you ever tried to do what Guy did, and tell someone else that the darkness they were living in wasn’t good, and that they should go to the light?  How did they respond?  Did all of the Croods respond the same way to Guy?  How might that encourage you?
  • Guy told  the Croods that they would die if they didn’t come with him and follow the light.  Would Guy’s message have been as effective if he had only said they should follow the light with him, but not mentioned the danger they were in?
  • Do you know that the Bible says that Jesus is the light?
  • How might the Croods help you understand even more what the Bible means when it says Jesus is the light?
  • As the Croods move towards the light, they aren’t as afraid.  The Bible says, “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).  Have you found that as you move closer to the Son (the Light) you are less afraid?  Why might that be true?

Click here to read a collection of Quotes from the Croods.

By Stacey Tuttle