Like most parents this summer I took my daughter to see The Croods. She loved the movie (especially the little sloth character) and so did I! The characters were well defined and complex and the script was so well written. The animation was beautiful and the animal characters were really creative.
In August, I had the opportunity to visit the DreamWorks Animation Studios and meet some of the brilliant minds behind The Croods. I was in awe meeting creators Chris Sanders & Kirk DeMicco. Chris Sanders was an animation director for Disney’s Lilo & Stitch and DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon. He was also a storyboard artist, artistic director, production designer, and character designer on Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Mulan. Kirk wrote and directed Space Chimps and wrote and co-produced Racing Stripes.
After hearing about their vision of The Croods I had a completely new appreciation for the movie. Their key message was change centered around a typical family. Even though this family are cavemen, it is a family pretty much everyone can relate to. There is the dad, Grug, who wants to protect his family and is struggling to see Eep, his oldest daughter, growing up and discovering the world outside the family and falling in love with a teenager named Guy. There is the go-with-the-flow, always reliable, and somewhat dopey brother named Thunk; the rambunctious little sister, Sandy; and the level headed mother, Ugga. Finally, there is Gran who the judgmental, and a little bit crazy, mother-in-law. But, it is the father/daughter relationship that was so powerful for me. One of my favorite scenes is when Grug tells Eep that diving in the water may not be safe and she shrugs him off, but when Guy tells her the same thing she listens.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Sean Sexton who animated Sandy, the little sister, and Ugga, the mother. He explained that many of the characters were based off animals. Grug was based on a gorilla. Eep resembles a tiger. The mother-in-law has alligator qualities. And, Sandy is based on a wild terrier.
Then he taught us how to draw Sandy, Belt (the lovable sloth) and a mousephant, which is a cross between a mouse and an elephant. There are 35 other creatures in the movie including flying turtles, piranha-like birds, “Douglas” the crocopup and “Chunky” the very colorful tiger with an enormous head.
At the end of the day I got to meet with animator Line Korsgaard Andersen. She developed the scene when Eep puts shoes on for the first time. It was great seeing how she imagined what it would be like for Eep and then translated it to the screen. Eep’s shoes looked a lot like UGG boots, so fashion blogger Mr. Kate was brought in to teach us how to customize our own UGG boots which we go to take home. You can bet I will be wearing them this winter and channeling my inner cave-woman!
It was such a fun day at DreamWorks Animation Studios celebrating one of the best animated movie of the year. Click here to download some fun Croods themed activity sheets. The Croods is now available on Blu-ray and DVD, but I am giving one away along with a Belt plush toy!
DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Fox Home Ent Insiders. I did not receive compensation. All statements are my opinion and my opinion only. Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.