Ryan Reynolds proved himself a reliable performer in a variety of films long before Deadpool catapulted him up the list of Hollywood’s bankable stars. And one such prior effort, 2013’s animated adventure The Croods, has landed straight onto Netflix’s Top 10 most-watched movies chart this week.
The story takes place in prehistoric times, following the titular clan of cave people. Patriarch Grug is terrified of anything new and discourages his family from attempting innovative thought or exploration, much to the frustration of his teenage daughter Eep who dreams of a life of independence and adventure.
When they’re forced to look for somewhere else to live after an earthquake destroys their home, they meet inventive young man Guy, whose intelligence and creativity causes consternation for Grug, which is only intensified as he and Eep begin falling for each other, while the group journeys across a land of primordial dangers in search of safety.
Reynolds took on his first voice acting role as Guy, and even in audio form his charisma and dry wit is evident. As well as the budding romance between him and Eep (Emma Stone), his bickering with Grug (Nicolas Cage) over the best course of action in any given situation drives most of the story.
With the dangers coming from primeval monsters and natural disasters, there’s no real antagonist aside from the fear of the unknown, and the exciting encounters the characters face will keep the young ones enthralled. It’s also a story that parents can relate to, observing that as much as you might want or try to, you can’t protect your children by sheltering them from the world and sooner or later you have to trust that you’ve taught them well enough that they can manage by themselves.
DreamWorks might not churn out instant classics at the same consistent rate as Pixar, but they’re certainly no slouches when it comes to producing quality family entertainment, and The Croods, thanks in no small part to Ryan Reynolds’ charming vocal performance, is a prime example of that.