austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

That's where the sun is

Other movies we've seen recently: The Croods. We were lightly interested in this when we saw trailers back about nineteen months ago but it kind of slipped our minds. What made us go see it --- and would've made it a higher priority if we'd known --- was that the movie was directed by Chris Sanders, famed of Lilo and Stitch and How To Train Your Dragon. They should really have mentioned that more in the advertisements, since that makes much more of an impression than whatever it was they were doing. We got to the next-to-the-final screening of the movie in our area, and spoiled another couple's chance to have the showing to themselves.

The plot is, this tiny band of cavemen get evicted from their comfortable safe routine as a scrawny, nerdly guy with all sorts of ideas that terrify them arrives. (Who was it that said the story of every caveman movie is ``people walking''?) The story has a theme that's quite dear to my heart, certainly, and that feels too rare, that big problems require thinking, and imagination, and creativity to solve. Of course, this would appeal to somebody who liked learning stuff enough to go on to a PhD he's still paying for.

The movie overflows with wonderful, often creepy, often alien-type creatures, enough that it makes a bit confusing whether this is supposed to be a movie set on prehistoric Earth, or an alien planet, or just simple fantasy. I suppose loosely fantastic prehistoric Earth is the best fit, and the creatures are almost worth the admission by themselves. The giant sabre-tooth bunny is onscreen only a second, but makes an impression.

There's something a bit off about the movie. It feels like it can't quite decide whether the protagonist is the teenage-daughter who narrates the opening and closing, or the nerdy interloper, or the dad who feels his credibility undermined as his lifelong teachings (``new things will kill you!'') get ripped away. The dad's the most interesting character, I think, certainly the one with the most interesting story. And there's enough comic relief, including the reliance on giddy anachronism, that it's almost draining.

So it's not as great as Lilo and Stitch (but then, what is?). On the other hand, it's steadily beautiful to see, and there's a sequence of the family plus one passing through a labyrinth that's just perfect, and that does justify the price of admission by itself.

Trivia: ``Silly Putty'' co-creator Paul Hodgson eventually bought a ton of silicone from General Electric for $147 and packeged it in one-ounce, egg-shape containers. Source: The Genie in the Bottle, Joe Schwarcz.

Currently Reading: The Temperature of History, Stephen G Brush.


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