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Western Animation / The Croods

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Set in a fictionalized prehistoric era, The Croods is a CG animated family film from DreamWorks Animation, about an overprotective caveman father named Grug whose one rule among his family is to never leave their cave. When his daughter Eep grows into a curious teenager, she wanders outside. Encroaching earthquakes destroy their home while the family is outside, forcing them to seek shelter elsewhere. Grug's philosophy is threatened when they must venture out into the world to find another home and brave dangerous creatures. They encounter a more evolved and intelligent male teenage caveman named Guy, who creates several useful inventions, and warns that the world is ending.

The Croods is written and directed by Chris Sanders, the director of Lilo & Stitch and How to Train Your Dragon, and Kirk DeMicco. It was released on March 22nd, 2013. It is the DreamWorks Animation's first film to be distributed under Twentieth Century Fox following their departure from Paramount a year earlier. The first trailer can be viewed here, and the second trailer here.

A prequel series, Dawn of the Croods, premiered on Netflix during Christmas of 2015 and concluded in 2017. A sequel, The Croods: A New Age, fell into Development Hell following Universal's takeover of DreamWorks Animation, but finally entered production and released on November 25, 2020. A follow-up series for that film, The Croods: Family Tree, premiered on Hulu and Peacock in September 2021. A tie-in mobile game (which is no longer available for download) was created by Rovio Entertainment, notable for being one of their first major post-Angry Birds projects.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Accidental Kiss: Eep and Guy have a mouth-to-mouth collision when they're trying to distract the predatory turkey beast.
  • Aerith and Bob:
    • It's kind of amusing when Sandy, the most feral of the cast, has the most normal name. Second most normal is Douglas, a pet dog-like thing.
    • Guy is also a real, albeit somewhat rare, modern name. Possibly justified being an entirely different class of human.
  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: All except Guy, that is. The Croods are all stocky cavemen with long, thick arms, short legs and barely any neck, often assuming a Primal Stance and sometimes even Running on All Fours.
  • All Women Love Shoes: Eep shows this when Guy makes her a pair. She and her mother also admire each others' shoes.
  • Almost Kiss: Eep and Guy come close to sharing a kiss after they escape from the maze.
  • Alternate Species Counterpart: In one story, Guy tells a story about a protagonist who he based off Eep, but in the story she's a tiger instead of a cavegirl (he was inspired by her tiger skin dress.)
  • Always Someone Better: Before Guy shows up, Grug is the best at keeping the family alive. Until they reach the mountain peak, and need Grug's strength to hurl them over the chasm to safety. He later comes up with his own idea to get himself across, without Guy's help.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The fauna comes in the wildest colors. Belt is a red sloth, Chunky is a green-and-blue sabre-toothed cat, the punch-monkeys are blue, orange and white, the ramu is a teal-colored horned bird, the girelephant is a giraffe-patterned elephant, and so forth.
  • Amazon Chaser: Eep is almost as tall as Guy, possibly twice his weight, extremely fast and nimble and more than capable of kicking his ass (and does so repeatedly). Guy is absolutely fascinated with her.
    Guy: (clearly smitten) She's awesome.
    • Zigzagged at first. Guy was at first both attracted and terrified of her. Didn't help that Eep kept on manhandling him throughout the first half of of the movie.
  • Ambiguously Brown: While all the voice actors are Caucasian, the character design of all the characters is racially vague enough so that they literally could be viewed as the ancestors of pretty much everyone.
  • An Aesop:
    • Just because the world can be a dangerous place, that doesn't mean it isn't worth exploring.
    • There is a distinct difference between "surviving" and "living."
    • And even with those two things being true, simple strength and discipline still play an important part in keeping you safe, and shouldn't be forgotten amid new and exciting problems and solutions.
  • Angrish: This is Grug's frequent response to new things that frustrate him.
  • Animal Motif: Eep seems to have this tiger thing going, especially where Guy is concerned.
  • Animal Sweet on Object: The eponymous cro-magnon family, plus the protagonist's crush Guy, hunt a creature by luring it with a puppet of another creature, which it flirts with.
  • Arc Words:
    • Grugg's responses to "We should go there!"
    • Also, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5.... 6."
    • Another one, "And they died!!"
    • There's also "Never not be afraid!" Then in the end he changes his saying to "Never be afraid."
    • "Let's go there!"
    • "To Tomorrow!"
    • Not so much as words, but a gesture. At points, the major characters raise their hands to the sun, representing a yearning for lives worth living. Even Grug gets in on this towards the climax, which becomes his moment of Heel–Face Turn. He even overrides Ugga when she starts to push the family to look for a cave.
  • Art Shift: The movie starts out with Eep presenting her life over a series of 2D cave drawings.
  • Badass Bookworm: Guy.
  • Badass Normal: Each of the Croods, from Grug down to Sandy, can hold their own physically with most animals and are much stronger than they look, mostly due to having to literally fight other creatures for food each day.
  • Bathroom Control: Subverted. When the Croods and Guy are looking for a new place to live, Thunk shouts that he has to pee, but Grug tells him to wait. After a bit, though, he relents and tells him to do his business behind a rock.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Ugga and Eep are designed as thick, broad and heavy set and they are perfectly happy as such.
  • Big Eater: Eep and her entire family. Done for laughs when they roast a giant turkey-saur for dinner; Eep grabs a leg that's the size of her body and horks down the meat in under a second. We don't see it, but we see Guy seeing it, who is absolutely horrified at how she did it. They also have no concept of "Leftovers", because they're used to having so little food that they eat all they can when they can.
  • Black Comedy:
    • Thunk is training Douglas and he tells him to roll over. He rolls off the tree.
    • Grug's delight on the mere thought of Gran dying.
  • Black Comedy Cannibalism: At one point, Gran tries to eat Thunk.
  • Book Ends: Eep's narration.
  • A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family: Thunk, Eep, and Sandy.
  • Brains Evil, Brawn Good: This is basically Grug's mantra. He later realizes that brain AND brawn are good and necessary for survival.
  • Brainy Brunette: Guy, in comparison to the Croods (some of whom are also brunette).
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Eep, who thinks her family are a pain to be around, strains against her father's rules and sleeps alone while the others gather in a bundle.
  • Buffy Speak: At one point, Guy takes Eep out hunting and they try to catch an enormous ostrich-like bird by propping up a fake female one while they hide beneath it behind a rock as a distraction so that it steps in the circle of rope on the ground that he's set. The creature doesn't step in the spot and Eep responds "Uh, it didn't step in your trappy thing."
  • Butt-Monkey: Guy has this role at the beginning, then Grug takes his place for a good chunk of the film. Also, Thunk throughout. The white liyote seems to be this within its pack.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: While Eep rejects Guy's offer to go with him when they meet, the Croods are still forced to vacate when "The End" collapses their cave.
  • Cats Are Mean: Played straight with Chunky until the end of the film where he becomes Grug's pet.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: All of the Croods are stronger, faster, and tougher than any hominid should be and can topple mammoth sized creatures by simply pulling them to the ground.
  • Chekhov's Gun/Chekhov's Skill: In the climax, Grug saves himself and the animals by utilizing tricks that Guy taught the family to use throughout their journey. He provokes the piranhakeets into chasing him and Chunky onto their makeshift carrier and traps them there using the tar that he and Guy were stuck in, then uses a burning torch to spook the birds so they can carry it into the air.
  • I Choose to Stay: In context with the monomyth, it is when the Croods refuse to hide in the new cave when they make it to the mountain. The Croods have all grown used to living out in the open and suddenly find the darkness of the cave uninviting. Eep calls out her father for keeping them in the dark (literally and figuratively) and that the old ways don't work anymore and that they would have been dead dozens of times over if they listened to him instead of Guy. This prompts him to attack Guy for essentially turning his family against him.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Guy reveals to Grug that his parents died when he was a child. He becomes a permanent member of the family by the end of the film.
  • Culture Clash: Guy and the Croods. Their caveman ways seem animalistic and barbaric to him, while his ways seem very weird and unnatural to them. It gets better.
  • Cute Creature, Creepy Mouth: The small bear pears briefly scene look pretty cute until they show off their rows of sharp teeth.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gran and Guy.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Eep narrates the story and sets things off by leaving the cave and meeting Guy, but by the end of the film, Grug is the one we're following.
  • Disney Death: Douglas, after falling out of the tree. He disappears long enough for us to think he's dead.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": A guy named Guy.
  • Doom Magnet: Grug. Cat-Owls and Macawnivores are practically drawn to him. Even mother nature doesn't seem to like him much.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Thunk, a bit thicker than the rest, calls Grug on his use of the safe signal.
    Grug: The signal isn't so you know it's me. It's so you know I wasn't eaten by an animal.
    Thunk: Then why's the signal an animal noise? Doesn't that just confuse things?
  • Dumb Muscle: Thunk. Many believed that Grug is this but he's actually smarter than he looks.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Croods must face their worst fears in an incredibly dangerous land, change their entire philosophy of their lives, face the probable loss of Grug in a moment of crisis to become joyfully adventurous explorers of their world.
  • Effortless Amazonian Lift: Eep can and does lift Guy off the ground with one hand.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Each of The Croods gets a moment one at a time that establishes their personalities.
    • First is Grug, who goes out to scare off smaller animals, only for the rest of the family to come out before he can even give them his signal, establishing him as a seldom-respected patriarch who's default behavior falls under "Anger Born of Worry" for his family in a world that could end them at any moment.
    • Eep is the first to leave the cave without her father's warning, basking in the openness beyond the cave and complaining about being in there "forever", showing that she is exasperated by her father's paranoia and would prefer a life more fulfilling than simple survival.
    • Sandy is introduced running out in all fours and biting at a giant bug with no fear while her mother Ugga comes out to get her and to go back into the cave so that Grug could warn them, establishing the former as a Wild Child and the later as a dutiful wife and mother who is willing to go along with Grug's precautions.
    • Thunk is the only one who waits for Grug's signal, only to point out how confusing it is that the whole reason why he gives the signal is to make sure that dangerous animals aren't about (even though Grug's signal is itself an animal noise), Thunk being the dutiful and loyal son inspite of Grug's faulty logic.
    • Gran announces "still alive" to the chagrin of an openly disappointed Grug, calling him fat when he quips that the day's "still early". This establishes that Gran is The Gadfly to Grug's authority, Grug in-turn having little respect for her back.
    • When Eep meets Guy, she very easy overpowers him before he quickly befriends her, introducing her to fire and a calling-shell if she changes his mind about coming with him, establishing him as less physically imposing than the Croods, but intelligent, compassionate and a touch lonely.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Guy believes that this is what's causing the earthquakes and destruction.
    Guy: I call it... THE END!
  • "Eureka!" Moment: "!"
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Team Mom Ugga wears her hair tightly up at the start of the film, symbolizing the family's adherence to Grug's strict rules. After using Guy's method of using her brain to avoid danger, she wears her hair loose, symbolizing the family letting go of their old fears and rules.
  • Face Your Fears: A central theme of the film where a cave family must brave the outside world and its dangers.
  • Family Title: Duh.
  • Fan Disservice: Grug gets the lower behind of his clothing ripped off, followed by a 5-second close up of his behind in leopard print undergarments.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Grug.
  • Fastball Special: Non-combat version where Grug hurls all the other people across the chasm.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: As it turns out, working together to escape an exploding continent does wonders for Grug and Chunky's relationship.
  • Flat "What": This is Guy's reaction to Eep telling him the other Croods are her family.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Chunky.
  • Food as Bribe: Guy and Sandy manage to get past a troop of punch-monkeys by offering them bananas.
  • Gas-Cylinder Rocket: A few million years short of a real gas cylinder, but Grandma manages to achieve the same effect when she accidentally sets some giant corncob-like plants on fire. The oversized kernels start popping, sending the cobs shooting off in all directions.
  • Gentle Giant: Surprisingly, most of the wildlife the cavemen come across, especially Ground Whales.
  • The Great Serpent: Although they are not seen in the flesh, a large spiky serpent called a Sand Snake is seen in the cave drawing portion of the opening swallowing an entire family of cave people.
  • Grounded Forever: After a father/daughter argument near the beginning, Grug threatens to keep Eep in the family cave "Until you're older than... y'know... (gestures to Gran) her!"
  • A Head at Each End: Actually an entire body at each end of a tail, for the lemur-like Conjoined Twins critters.
  • Headbutt of Love: Ugga and Grug have one prior to his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Held Gaze: Eep and Guy.
  • Herald: It is when Guy passed by the Crood's cave at night that marks the change of the status quo. Eep follows the light of his torch where she is introduced to fire. Guy and the rest of the family follows her, thinking that she was snatched by a predator. While "The End" would have come whether Guy had met any of them or not, if it wasn't for him, the Croods would have been crushed to death in their own cave and likely would not have survived afterwards.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Grug volunteers to throw everyone across a crevasse, knowing he will have to stay behind.
  • Hidden Depths: The Croods may be primitives, but they are not stupid as the below trope illustrates.
  • Historical In-Joke: The Interspecies Romance between Eep and Guy is likely one to the idea that Cro Magnons and Neanderthals interbreeding contributed to the eventual genesis of Homo Sapiens. Even today, many people possess genetic markers of Neanderthal genes in their DNA, indicating an ancestry of couples like them.
  • If You Die, I Call Your Stuff: Eep knocks out Guy and asks if he's dead, and also if she can have his fire if he's dead.
  • Ignorant About Fire: As cavemen, the Croods have never seen fire before. When they see Guy's fire, they think it's a living thing or that it's a baby sun. Confused by it, they end up burning themselves and the plains around them, get shot at by rocket cobbs and ending up buried in a giant pile of popcorn.
  • Innocent Bigot: Guy appears to have shades of this at first, labeling the Croods as 'cavies', calling them "practically animals", and being visibly shocked to learn that Eep is one of them. He seems to get over it pretty quickly, though.
  • Instant Roast: An ostrich-like predatory bird is slammed into the ground by a snare, leaving a carcass that looks just like a roast turkey. Although that is obviously a time cut.
  • Intellectual Animal: Belt.
  • Interspecies Romance: Eep (Neanderthal) and Guy (Cro Magnon). Granted, this depends on whether you're classifying Neanderthals as a different species or just a subspecies of Homo sapiens.
  • Killer Rabbit: The Piranhakeets. Their first appearance is them flying and circling in the sky and then reducing a land-dwelling whale to a skeleton.
  • Large and in Charge: Grug, The Patriarch of the titular family, is the tallest and largest of them.
  • Large Ham:
    • Nicolas Cage plays a caveman. What did you expect?
    • Ryan Reynolds goes toe-to-toe with him in this film.
  • Le Parkour: The whole family is skilled at it, particularly Eep.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: While not strict or uptight herself, Team Mom Ugga wearing her hair up in a tight weave symbolizes the family's adherence to Grug's strict rules. When the family embraces Guy's more casual, creative approach to solving problems, she lets her hair loose accordingly.
  • Light Is Good: A major symbol of the movie is the sun (fire is commonly referred to as little suns, and starlight is also compared to the sun), which to the Croods and Guy especially is their greatest symbol of hope.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • The entire Crood family. From Grug down to Sandy, they are all as amazingly fast and agile as they are freakishly strong.
    • What makes it a battle for the family to survive is that all of the fantastical creatures they come across are fast. Even bulky Ground Whales are agile runners.
  • Living Is More than Surviving: Eep the Cavewoman confronts her Father and his obsession with merely surviving in fear:
    Eep: "That wasn't living! That was just.... "Not Dying"! There's a difference."
  • Logo Joke: The DreamWorks Animation logo is painted on a cave wall, then flakes off and is blown away.
  • MacGyvering: Basically is what Guy teaches the others about inventions and everyone proves to have a knack for it, even Grug.
  • Made of Iron: Everyone, even the feeble old granny and the toddler!
  • Man-Eating Plant: Ugga, Sandy, and Gran have to get past a whole patch of huge, carnivorous flowers while travelling through the maze of canyons.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Eep is a strong and aggressive girl while Guy is a humble boy who is fairly skinny and prefers to use brains over brawn.
  • Matchlight Danger Revelation: While trapped inside a cave, Grug manages to light a fire, revealing Chunky right behind him. Chunky blows out the fire...then lights it up again because he's just as scared of the dark as Grug.
  • Meaningful Name: "Guy" is basically a synonym for "man", and the Hebrew word for "man" is "Adam". "Eep" also sounds a great deal like "Eve". We see what you did there, DreamWorks.
  • Meet Cute: Eep tries to beat the living daylight out of Guy from fright and even asks if she can have his torch if he's dead.
  • Mega Neko: Chunky the Macawnivore.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Gran, possibly justified due to, y'know, being a caveman.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: In a contrast to real life prehistoria from Ice Age, Chris Sanders' designs really show this in the fauna featured in the movie. The one exception is Guy's sloth pal. Apparently they're supposed to be missing links:
    • There's a saber-toothed cat with a macaw's colors (Word of God calls him a Macawnivore).
    • A giant saber-toothed rabbit with tiger stripes (Bunny Beast).
    • Sea turtles with bird wings in place of flippers called Turtle Doves.
    • Small birds that swarm and eat through things like piranhas called Piranhakeets.
    • Mice that look like elephants called Mousephants.
    • A giant "cat" with the face of an owl and the build and claws of a bear (Bear Owl).
    • Emu-like birds with duck bills and rams' horns (Ramu).
    • Lizards that look like dogs called Liyotes.
    • "Dogs" that look like crocodiles called Crocopups.
    • Kid-sized saber-toothed giant mosquitos.
    • An elephant with a giraffe's color pattern (Girelephant).
    • Land-dwelling whale-like creatures that disguise themselves as rocks (Land Whales).
    • A mouse-like species that is born in pairs, conjoined by a striped tail (Trip Gerbil).
    • A small mammal that looks like a gourd with piranha teeth (Bear Pear).
  • Mr. Fanservice: Guy, the only male with a "modern human" body design.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: The Croods' reaction to "meeting" fire. Eep's initial fascination with glowing cinders blown from Guy's torch is played for Heartwarming rather than laughs, and sells it well.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Played for Laughs. When Guy meets the Croods, not knowing that they're Eep's family, he casually tells her that he's going to have to kill them.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: There is No Antagonist beyond predatory animals, predatory plants and a highly-destructive World-Wrecking Wave following our characters. Though the moral of the story emphasizes that while the world is dangerous, it can also be beautiful.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Gran is a lot tougher than she looks.
  • Never Say "Die":
    • Averted frequently. All of Grug's cautionary tales end in some variation of "and then he DIED!"
    • When Guy first meets the Croods, he tells Eep (not knowing the she is a Crood too), that he'll have to "take their lives".
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer portrays Eep as The Ditz. She's not, she's actually rather intelligent and the first to want progress instead of keeping things as they were.
  • No Antagonist: Really, the only danger in the movie is something Guy likes to call "the end of the world" (which the intro heavily implies to actually be the beginning stages of post-Pangaea continental drift). But what a danger it is. This makes it a Man vs. Nature plot for the overarching plot, while the Main vs. Impact story is whether or not to embrace change, and various characters have major or minor arcs about overcoming their limiting mindsets (e.g. Thunk realizing that he can do things for himself and doesn't need to fearfully wait to be told how to act). The characters certainly butt heads a lot, but there's no villain, and even a few of the seeming baddies become allies by the end.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: When Grug and Chunky enact their desperate plan to escape the apocalypse, Grug sees various forlorn creatures facing certain doom and risks everything to save them too.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Nearly all of the wildlife. Even the big ones, despite their outward ferocity, are all fairly intelligent, and just like the Croods, are trying to survive. When they attempt to learn and understand these exotic animals, they find most of them are docile and/or tamable.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: While the threat of death is everywhere, Eep's biggest problem with life by the beginning of the film is the fact that simply "surviving" isn't enough for her.
  • Nubile Savage: Averted; see the Big Beautiful Woman description above. In fact, Guy probably follows this trope the closest out of all the other characters.
  • Obnoxious In Law: Grug's animosity toward's Gran is a Running Gag. Some examples:
    • Grug thinks Guy's destination is too far away and dangerous and does not want to risk the journey — and then his mother-in-law says she probably won't survive and Grug immediately changes his mind to support Guy's plan.
    • There's a scene where they can't find Gran and Grug starts showing a completely elated expression. Cue Grug's mother-in-law popping out saying "I'm still alive~!" Grug immediately becomes extremely disappointed and mutters to himself, "It's still early."
    • Later, Grug is upset over his family finding Guy's ideas amazing, as his philosophy has always been to distrust new things. Then Gran tells his wife that if Grug ever has an idea, she'll probably have a heart attack and die. Cue Grug trying to come up with new things.
  • Odd Name Out: Compare Grug, Ugga, Eep, Thunk, Guy, Belt, Chunky, etc. to... Douglas and Sandy.
  • Official Couple: Guy and Eep.
  • Oh, Crap!: Too many to count, since it's an Everything Trying to Kill You world.
  • Oh No You Didn't: Chunky's expression when he catches a rock that Grug threw at him screams this.
  • Only Sane Man: Due to being slightly more advanced mentally than the Crood family themselves, Guy comes off like this.
  • Orphaned Punchline: Seen a few times, as Guy introduces the Croods to the concept of "jokes".
    Guy: ...And so the bear says "Your cave? I've been dumping my bones here since last week!"
  • The Outside World: Eep hates being confined to the cave. Exploring and navigating the Outside is what she wants most, and a disaster forces the family to venture out into it. It turns out to be the right choice.
  • Papa Wolf: Grug outright states that it's his job to protect the family and keep them safe from danger. This comes to a head when he throws them all (including Guy) across the cliff to safety.
    • Shortly after, we can see that he's resigned himself to his fate, because as long as his family is safe, he's okay with dying. But the instant he thinks someone's in danger, he immediately comes up with a way to get back to them, because imminent death is no excuse for this man.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: When an enraged Grug is chasing Guy, Belt does this before throwing a piece of fruit at Grug that poofs in his face on impact.
  • Primal Fear: The Croods, and most of the wildlife are terrified of the dark. Even Grug dislikes it, which goes to show his love and devotion for his family, that he'll spend days in the dark, in order to protect them. By contrast, Piranhakeet are frightened of the light.
    • It's implied that several of the creatures we see are afraid of the dark BECAUSE the Piranhakeets are nocturnal.
  • Primal Stance: The Croods all have disproportionately long arms and able to run on all fours, opposed to the always-bipedal Guy, emphasizing their primitive nature. Sandy, in particular, runs on all fours all the time.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "I! Am! A! CAAAAVEMAAAAN!"
    • "I! Have! An! IDEA!"
  • Punny Name: The Croods are not exactly refined....
    • Douglas the (proto-)dog.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Rather, tar does. (Truth in Television - just visit La Brea.) Guy watched his family drown in it.
  • Refusal of the Call: While Guy gives Eep the option to go with her to avoid "The End", she refuses to because she has her family to help look after. He gives her a conch shell to signal him if she changes her mind.
  • Relationship-Salvaging Disaster:
    • Grug and Guy finally make peace when they get trapped in a tar pit. Thinking they're dead, Guy tells Grug that Eep does love and respect him, she just doesn't say it. This gives Grug the impetus to ask Guy for an idea to escape.
    • Chunky and Grug call truce when they're in a cave just as the world is ending and only light from a single torch for comfort. They commit to escaping together when Grug hears Eep's horn. As Grug later comments, he found out he's a cat person.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Many of the wildlife count, special mention to the conjoined-tail mice and the miniature elephants.
    • Standouts include Belt, and arguably, Sandy.
  • Riding into the Sunset: The Croods, once fearfully hiding in a cave all the time, now are the world's first family of explorers as they ride full tilt into the sunset at the end.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: When Guy shows the family the night sky, they marvel at at it being filled with "more suns in the sky than you can count." Technically correct in that stars are similar to our sun, but seem smaller because they're farther away. However, since they're cavemen that haven't learned to make fire or stayed out after sunset, they call every glowing thing they see (such as Guy's fire) a "sun."
  • Rule of Symbolism: With the heavy use of Light/Darkness Juxtaposition, this becomes a recurring theme in the film. The film's beginning has the rule that "Darkness brings Death" as a reason why the Croods (and by extension, Guy, Chunky and many of the animal characters) cower and hide away when the sun sets. Having not discovered fire yet, the Croods live most of their lives in the darkness of the cave which, while cosy and safe, is dull and oppressive, leaving the Croods to not so much "live" as "not-die". Guy — a positive and progressive influence on the family's lives — is the one who introduces fire to them, is himself afraid of the dark and has spent his entire life following the sun.
    • The sun itself (the original light-source) can be read as a symbol of hope, as Eep, Guy and later Grug (after reconciling with Guy) reach for it multiple times. The story Guy tells the family involves a young tiger riding the sun to "Tomorrow", an abstract idea of a better future.
    • Fire can also be applied as a metaphor for the outside world; this bright and beautiful thing that can also be incredibly dangerous. The light from Guy's torch peeking through the cave door leads Eep (and by proxy the rest of the family) out of the safety of the cave, an effect that proves to have both positive and negative effects on their lives. The Croods have seen the outside world as an inherently terrifying place frought with danger, but with Guy's help they learn how to adapt and appreciate the good things about it too.
  • Running Gag:
    • "Dun dun duuuun!"
    • Grug's rivalry with Gran.
    • "I call it ___ ...because it rhymes with Grug."
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Guy and Eep.
  • Scared of What's Behind You: After getting beaten up by a group of monkeys, the monkeys suddenly run away. Grug begins gloating until he hears Chunky growl behind him.
  • Scenery Gorn: The further the Croods progress, the more destruction "the End" rains down on them.
  • Scenery Porn: The landscapes and overall animation in this movie are gorgeous!
  • Shipper on Deck: Belt ships Guy and Eep and tries his best to bring them together. He starts off small by pulling the two closer together when they're near each other to eventually throwing flowers around trying to get the two together.
  • Shock-and-Switch Ending: The movie features an in-universe example: Guy tells a story about a tiger and it ends with the tiger peering off the cliff, slipping, falling... and flying.
  • Shout-Out: The movie starts with Eep snarkily narrating about her life, and ends with a parallel narration where things have turned out for the better. Remind you of another Dreamworks Chris Sanders work?
    • The first Piranhakeet you see stands up like Count Orlok rising from his coffin (complete with the sound of creaking wood.)
    • The Piranhakeets are light-fearing aerial predators that emerge from underground lairs at nightfall and hunt in large, vicious flocks. Guy even diverts a whole flock of Piranhakeets around them with a torch.
    • The owlcat is what Stitch might look and act like if Stitch were allowed to be dangerous in the Disneyverse.
  • Show, Don't Tell: Strikingly used in scenes like Eep and Guy's first meeting and when Grug is painting his family on a cave wall alone. Averted in Eep's opening narration which can border close to being anvilicious.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Eep, who appears to have been designed to represent a Neanderthal incarnation of her similarly auburn-haired, emerald-eyed and freckle-faced voice actress, Emma Stone.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Although the second one remedies this, the first trailer makes no mention of Guy.
  • The Stinger: After the end credits (before the production logos) some elephants-with-a-trumpet-like-trunks do a brief mariachi trumpet song heard earlier in the film.
  • Stripped to the Bone: A poor Ground Whale by a flock of Piranhakeets, which was disturbed out of its hiding place by the Croods' bad taste.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Eep and Ugga. It becomes more pronounced after Ugga lets her hair down.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Given that Chunky is always nearby to scare Grug, he appears to be following him to no end.
    • Justified as since they were headed away from "The End" it is likely Chunky was simply heading in the same direction.
    • Also the earlier unnamed cat-creature. They only shake it off their trail by falling off a very tall cliff.
  • Swallowed Whole: Adverted, after The Croods mistake a Ground Whale's open maw for a cave, and are then expelled through its blow-hole.
  • Symbolic Hero Rebirth: While the other Croods accept Guy as one of their own and adopt his ways for the better, Grug stubbornly sticks to his own ways, meeting the change he instills in the family with resistence or hostility out of both Pride and fear that it would endanger them. It is not until he gets to know Guy better when they're trapped in the tar and they work together to escape it does he accept these changes.
  • Team Mom: Ugga. Both literally and figuratively.
  • Team Pet: A lot of team pets actually, as the Croods discover that many animals are quite tamable and manageable. Grug gets a Macawnivore called "Chunky", Guy, his "pet" sloth Belt, they all get another trusty steed in the form of a Cat-Owl. Thunk manages a Crocopup called "Douglas" and even a young Ground Whale to ride.
  • Threshold Guardians: After narrowly avoiding "The End" as it destroy their cave, the Crood encounter a whole slew or dangerous animals that prove to be too much for them (Chunky, the Pirahnakeets, the Punch Monkeys, general starvation, etc). It is with Guy's help that they learn how to face these hardships (fire, bargaining with bananas, setting up traps) do they learn was of getting around such hardships beyond "fight or flight".
  • Title Drop: Literally. Some rocks forming the words for the title of the movie come crashing down above the Croods’ cave.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The parrot-colored smilodon (Chunky) appears distinctly threatening, and is certainly big enough to eat people, but is shown later in the trailer as Grug's mount.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: Guy and Eep get a moment of sharing one umbrella.
  • Umbrellas Are Lightning Rods: Grug gets annoyed at Guy and Eep’s moment under an umbrella and snatches it from them. Cue the lightning bolt striking Grug and leaving him dazed.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Grug. He gets better.
  • Visual Metaphor: Grug is separated from the others in a valley and is unable to escape, with the only other thing there with him a hollowed out log, a bit like the one which he kept Guy trapped in. This time, it's him that's stuck, unable to do his usual thing and brute force his way out.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Guy, though he's in a log for some amount of the film.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: The Croods are chased by two separate large catlike predators, but the second and cuter-looking sabertooth cat eventually turns out to be friendly and helpful to Grug when they need each other to escape certain death.
    • They do manage to tame a red owlcat too, though.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: The world outside the Croods' cave is fantastically beautiful.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: 'The End'.
  • Younger Than They Look:
    • Thunk is supposed to be 9 years old, despite looking and sounding as old as Eep.
    • Would you believe that some say Gran is only 45?
      • Justified. They're cavemen, their lifespan are much shorter than current humans.
      • Unlike modern humans the Croods are having to push their bodies to the limit on a regular basis. That kind of wear and tear tends to age you faster than when you don't have to actively avoid death every five minutes of your existence.


Video Example(s):


The Croods

The Croods find their "tomorrow" and the bright future that entails.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / Denouement

Media sources: