It’s a sad truth that animated movies rarely focus on an entire family, but The Croods is working to fix that. If you missed it in theaters back in March, the film is about a family of cavemen (and women), who face change and search for a new home in prehistoric times. The fun feature—which is now available on DVD—stars the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds.
We caught up with co-director (and father of two infant twins) Kirk DeMicco to get his take on kids’ movies:
Is there a particular message you want children to take away from the movie?
The characters are very pure of heart, especially the father, Grug. I felt like he was just afraid of anything happening to his family. It came from a very good place, even if to his children, it seems like he was wrong. The idea is that parents and children need to keep the lines of communication open.
How have families received The Croods?
It’s been really cool to watch our movie around the world. This is a story about a family and it transcends different cultures. There’s nothing outwardly American about it, so everyone could relate. In Italy, they’d say, “This must be an Italian family because the grandma is there.” And then the Spanish people would say, “This must be a Spanish family because the mother-in-law is there.” And so it was really interesting to see how many cultures took it on as their own, saying “Oh, that’s us.”
Your movie focuses on a whole family, but most animated kids’ movies only have one parent, if any. Why do you think this is the case?
We have a theory that there are often no moms because these movies are always about characters making giant mistakes, so they can learn a lesson in the end. The problem is, a mom would be like “Yeah, don’t run away.” And then the character would realize it was really stupid and then there would be no movie.
What are your favorite animated movies or TV shows?
As a kid, I loved the Charlie Brown episodes. I love how those stories never talked down to kids. They were just kids going through pretty profound situations and having big thoughts about life. Plus, the fact that the animation is not perfect makes it really charming. You see mistakes and it feels handmade, like you could see people working on it. Now, movies are so polished. It’s the little imperfections that bring charm sometimes.
We are excited to announce that Twentieth Century Fox is letting us give away a two-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack of The Croods to five of our readers! To enter, just leave a comment on this post. You can comment once a day between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. You can also read the official rules. Goody luck!
Update: The contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winners: Nicole Amorosi Rollins, Bonnie Leigh, Carmen Van Deursen, Mary Singer and Dana Amorosi.
Staying in tonight? You’ll want to check out Target’s brand new digital video service, Target Ticket. The site features more than 30,000 movies and television shows to choose from, including plenty of family favorites and recent releases. (I know where I’ll be catching up on this summer’s blockbusters!)
With so many online movie services out there now, it can be tough to figure out which one is right for you. But we like that Target partnered with Common Sense Media to give users access to thousands of reviews, each of which include an age rating, important information for parents to know, and even some topics to discuss after viewing. And if your children tend to disagree on what to watch, parents can set up a profile for each user, which allows different movies to stream simultaneously on multiple devices.
Anyone who opens a new account through February is given 10 free downloads on a group of pre-selected movies (among which, there are several kid-friendly films like Fern Gully, Rango and Space Jam, in addition to movies for Mom and Dad.) There are no subscription or sign-up fees, and prices start as low as $0.99.
What do you think of Target Ticket? Download the app or login on your desktop computer, and let us know!
Every family faces trials and upheaval. For the Pearce family, this manifested itself in the serious brain injury of their snowboarding superstar son, Kevin.
The story of Kevin’s life-threatening injury and recovery plays out in a documentary that premiered on HBO last night called The Crash Reel. With graphic crash footage, language, and partying, it may not be suitable for children, but it certainly contains lessons from which every parent can benefit.
A Vermont native, Kevin Pearce crashed on New Years Eve, 2009, on a half pipe in Park City, Utah, while attempting a double cork, an extremely advanced snowboarding trick. He was 22 years old and training for the Olympic trials at the time of the crash.
Though it’s about a 25-year-old, even parents of young children will get plenty out of this film, including the importance of wearing a helmet. Kevin now speaks to students, giving testimony on how he wouldn’t be alive today if he hadn’t been wearing his helmet at the time of his nearly fatal crash.
The Crash Reel shows the struggle between headstrong Kevin and his family when Kevin is adamant that he will snowboard again, regardless of the fact that he would almost certainly die or be wheelchair-bound if he were to hit his head once more. The push and pull among family members leads to many tension-filled dinner table discussions centered on complex issues like faith, trust, risk, and concern. Each family member’s feelings are articulated in a way that is sensitive to Kevin’s needs and expresses the deep desire to protect a brother and son they love.
Kevin’s brother David is especially effected by Kevin’s accident. David has Down syndrome (he prefers to call it Up syndrome, because he’s “an up kind of guy”) and faces his own struggle to accept his condition and appreciate where he is.
While Kevin and David both struggle with their individual situations, the family support system is central to each aspect of their progress, and is the backbone for the entire documentary. With each turn of the story line, the mood around the dinner table changes and some new feeling is unearthed.
The film is also informative on concussions and brain injuries, frequently emphasizing the impact that this kind of injury can have on individuals, as well as those who surround him or her. Kevin gives back to families and individuals who are in similar situations through The Kevin Pearce Fund, which supports organizations that help those affected by brain injury and Down syndrome. He also started a campaign called Love Your Brain.
While this may not be a movie to pop popcorn and snuggle in with the kids to watch, it shows viewers something relevant and essential. Acceptance and love can be borne in the direst of situations, and the very real, heart-wrenching story of Kevin Pearce demonstrates just how vital the family is to that discovery. The Crash Reel will be airing all summer on HBO.
Get ready for an alien invasion this winter! Well, actually, the aliens are the good guys in Escape From Planet Earth. Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Brendan Fraser star in the animated adventure about little green…er, blue…men. The studio released the teaser trailer this week. Check out the clip below:
Between Sandy and the election, it’s a great weekend to escape to the movies. AndWreck-It Ralph is here to help. The PG-rated film is a win-win: Kids will love the animated adventure set in video-game worlds; parents will get a kick out of walking down memory lane with ’80s and ’90s characters from Super Mario Bros., Pac-Man, and even Q*bert. Speaking of, check out this cute clip from the film.
DreamWorks released the first-look trailer for its big 2013 animated adventure, The Croods, which hits theaters in spring. The first part is a bit reminiscent of Brave, but then it takes an interesting turn. Check out the vid below, and let us know what you think.
Today’s blog is brought to you by the letters E and T. Actually, this entire column is kind of brought to you by the Spielberg classic. It was the first film I saw on the big screen and the last time my whole family went to the movies together. Stuff memories—and fan —are made of. I still remember being wowed by the movie as a wee tot, kicking off my lifelong film geekdom. So 30 years later, a big shout-out to the movie that started it all. Pick up E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Anniversary Edition, and phone home with your family.