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Section Header
The Croods
(2013)
Composed, Co-Orchestrated, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:
Alan Silvestri

Co-Orchestrated by:
William Ross
John Ashton Thomas
Mark Graham
Victor Pesavento

Co-Produced by:
David Bifano

Label:
Sony Classical

Release Date:
March 26th, 2013

Also See:
The Wild
Predator

Audio Clips:
8. Piranhakeets (0:28):
WMA (188K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

16. Planet Collapse (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

20. Epilogue (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

22. The Croods' Family Theme (0:30):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Availability:
Regular U.S. release, but the CD version was primarily distributed in Europe, requiring Americans to pay higher import prices.

Awards:
  None.









The Croods
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Buy it... if you appreciate well-executed orchestral children's scores, this entry reaffirming Alan Silvestri's capabilities in the genre with better than average themes, orchestrations, and general personality.

Avoid it... if not even some grandiose, majestic interludes for choir and a few amusing references to Silvestri's own classic Predator score can justify what otherwise will sound like a generic and anonymous extension of genre norms.



Silvestri
The Croods: (Alan Silvestri) At a time when original ideas are in short supply in Hollywood, Dreamworks hit all the right notes with its 2013 animated children's film, The Croods. Directors Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders were greeted by positive reviews and surprisingly robust grosses for the project, earning the concept an immediate television spin-off and feature sequel. The story of The Croods, written in part by famed British humorist John Cleese, tells of a family of Neanderthal Cavemen going about their daily lives in pre-historic times but battling through experiences that have many parallels to modern life, including a significant amount of interpersonal familial drama. When a more intelligent Cro-Magnon boy disrupts the family with his inventions (including fire, shoes, and other essentials), gaining the attention of a daughter who yearns for a more exciting lifestyle, an overly protective father steps in to reassert his conservative viewpoints. Funny, inventive sequences and strange, mostly silly creatures abound in The Croods, the film aiming for an innocuous set of basic moral lessons that will satisfy children and leave adults watching the clock. One thing that can be said about the prior projects of DeMicco and Sanders is a tendency for their finished products to feature better than average children's music. For DeMicco, these films included Quest for Camelot and Racing Stripes, and for Sanders, his successes have been highlighted by Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, and How to Train Your Dragon. For The Croods, the production team turned to veteran composer Alan Silvestri, who had collaborated with Sanders on Lilo & Stitch and had written decent, if not occasionally strong animation music for that, The Wild, and The Polar Express, among others. While the composer will likely always been remembered for his intense action and thoughtful dramatic modes, his capabilities in animation have often gone overlooked. His workmanlike efforts for the genre may not have yielded any classics to the degree that John Powell transcended with How to Train Your Dragon, but Silvestri is certainly capable of writing serviceable, entertaining scores in these circumstances. In the case of The Croods, he does just that, executing a fun, carefree, large-scale orchestral score that is appealing in nearly all of its parts while never really blazing through new stylistic territory in the genre. The right ingredients are all applied by Silvestri in this work, the orchestra joined by specialty contributors to lend genre-bending infusions of character, a tasteful and limited touch of choral majesty layered at the right moments, and electronic embellishments held to a minimum.

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The Croods is about as organic a score as most listeners will hear in any genre during the 2010's, adhering to traditional animation music techniques at times but also remaining surprisingly true to Silvestri's adult-oriented works as well. The Mickey Mousing is restrained, and the diversions into the jazz and Latin realms are rare. One notable performance by a marching band does break up the listening experience. Otherwise, there are significant portions of The Croods that, when not tapping the feel-good, light-hearted drama that the genre demands, actually sounds similar to his roaring action favorites. These portions are highlighted by "Piranhakeets," a clear homage to Predator with several bursts of that classic score lifted with good humor for reference here. Despite this and other impressive action cues, the best aspect of The Croods is its well-developed thematic base. Silvestri rotates through three or four prominent themes in the score, one of which adapted for the obligatory song. While the style and performance of "Shine Your Way" (obviously aimed at teenagers with the tone of Minnesota band Owl City) will be obnoxious to Silvestri collectors, the composer's underlying melody in this song informs some of the prettiest portions of the score. Heard immediately in "Prologue" and fleshed out in "Going Guy's Way" and "Star Canopy," this theme is magnificently orchestrated in the latter half of "Epilogue." The interlude sequence of this melody is especially romantically appealing, wafting through "Going Guy's Way" in the string lines. It's difficult not to appreciate the brass counterpoint to this theme in "Epilogue," a heroic sendoff without trending towards corniness. The score's own primary theme exists for the family at the center of the story, its melody starting with superficial similarities to John Williams' Jurassic Park and its demeanor as redemptive and positive as possible. Silvestri provides an excellent arrangement of this idea alone in "The Crood's Family Theme," which follows similar treatment for the "Cave Painting Theme." This likewise somewhat anonymous but sufficient theme is utilized in the "Cave Painting" and "Big Idea" cues in the actual score. Other motifs rotate throughout the score, one of suspense in "Turkey Fish Follies" and "We'll Die If We Stay Here" and another brightly optimistic and wondrous with progressions that, by "Epilogue," will remind you of Hans Zimmer's Backdraft. Much of The Croods will strike film score listeners as derivative, but Silvestri executes the expected formula well enough to make the score an enjoyable listening experience should you be seeking this atmospheric cheeriness. These scores are not as easy to pull off as one might think, and the crisp orchestrations, the thematic integrity, the neat Predator references, and the right balance of emotional and stylistic appeals make this one recommended over many of its peers. A very strong 15 to 20-minute compilation assembled from the long album awaits any enthusiast of children's scores. ****   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Alan Silvestri reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.34 (in 32 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.23 (in 31,397 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.





 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  


Regular Average: 3.12 Stars
Smart Average: 3.11 Stars*
***** 26 
**** 32 
*** 33 
** 23 
* 22 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Review at Movie Wave
  Southall -- 5/30/13 (12:53 p.m.)
   The Mickey-Mousing is restrained??
  Edmund Meinerts -- 5/24/13 (1:25 p.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 70:35


• 1. Shine Your Way - performed by Owl City and Yuna (3:25)
• 2. Prologue (2:08)
• 3. Smash and Grab (4:09)
• 4. Bear Owl Escape (2:45)
• 5. Eep and the Warthog (3:52)
• 6. Teaching Fire to Tiger Girl (1:55)
• 7. Exploring New Dangers (3:33)
• 8. Piranhakeets (2:24)
• 9. Fire and Corn (2:06)
• 10. Turkey Fish Follies (4:17)
• 11. Going Guy's Way (3:15)
• 12. Story Time (3:55)
• 13. Family Maze (3:21)
• 14. Star Canopy (2:07)
• 15. Grug Flips His Lid (1:44)
• 16. Planet Collapse (1:44)
• 17. We'll Die If We Stay Here (5:28)
• 18. Cave Painting (1:12)
• 19. Big Idea (2:34)
• 20. Epilogue (4:25)
• 21. Cave Painting Theme (2:52)
• 22. The Croods' Family Theme (5:54)
• 23. Cantina Croods (1:12)




 Notes and Quotes:  


The insert includes lyrics for the song but no extra information about the score or film.





   
  All artwork and sound clips from The Croods are Copyright © 2013, Sony Classical. The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 5/23/13 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.