‘Croods’ best ensemble movie since ‘Incredibles.’ Take your kids!

My three daughters, my niece, my sister, and I LOVED “The Croods.”


From beginning to end, this movie is fantastic. The characters are great and the animation is gorgeous. “The Croods” is the best ensemble animated movie since “The Incredibles,” and like that classic, “Croods” is about a family that is populated with strong female characters.
“The Croods” is narrated by a female. That is a true rarity in movies made for children. Who tells the story is hugely important and leaving females out of this role has all kind of bad effects. Everyone needs to be able to writer her own story.

Not only is Eep the narrator, but…and this is truly amazing…she is not a Minority Feisty! Her family is comprised of a mom, a granny, a baby sister and then her father and brother. That’s right, 4 females to 2 males! This gender ratio is almost unheard of in mainstream movies for children.

There’s another male main character who comes on the scene: Guy. But even with this addition, the gender ratio still tips in female favor. There are various animals and magical creatures, but their parts are small, and the genders mixed, so I feel confident we don’t have to deal with the Minority Feisty issue at all in this movie.

Speaking of creatures, in the last scene of the movie, Eep is shown NOT “riding bitch.” She is on a flying creature, in front, with Guy behind her.

I do have a couple complaints. Eep’s outfit sucked. While the clothing of all the other characters covered them to their knees or more, Eep’s dress barely skimmed her ass. There were actual panty shots. For that, I am deducting one H.

Aside from Eep’s outfit, her look is great. She is a cavewoman and she looks it, with big arms, muscular legs, and bushy hair. Her armpits, shown in the movies first shot, are conspicuously hairless, an issue that could’ve been easily solved by giving her more clothing coverage, but whatever.

Eeps refers to herself as a “caveman” and that term is used to describe her family a few times in the movie. At least that gendered word seemed really out of place, I hope not only to me. With all the ways this movie defied gender stereotypes, couldn’t they change that word to cavepeople?

Much of the movie is battle for leadership between the dad and Guy. I admit, I was pretty nervous when Guy came on the scene. As with “Hotel Transylvania,” I was concerned the story would morph from a father-daughter to father-son theme. Though in some places, it teetered, the movie stayed faithful to keeping Eep and her dad the central focus. I liked the addition of Guy. Clearly, he admires Eep for her strength and vision. He is enamored of her without coming off as a wimp, a loser, or relinquishing his own attractiveness. I liked that Eep is shown as powerful and also in love. Defying another limiting gender stereotype for females in the fantasy world, being strong doesn’t mean Eep has to end up alone.

I think the Granny made a sexist comment, calling the dad and the brother “girls” at one point as an insult, but that seems so out of character and incongruent with the movie that I’m hoping I’m wrong.

“The Croods” is a movie about the strength and importance of family. Of course, “family values” is a common theme in children’s media, but too often, to communicate this bond, female ambition is stereotyped and sacrificed. Most recently, we saw this in the infinitely sexist “Escape From Planet Earth” which made the point with a “good” stay-at-home mom versus a wicked, bitter, delusional, and lonely working woman.

“The Croods” did something different, showing the value of family by illustrating that each member’s role and identity is dynamic and changing. People need to grow. Pigeonholing identities gives only the illusion of strength.

One final factor that I adored about the movie is how it showed the power of the narrative and the importance of a female protagonist. The father and Guy both told stories to the the family about a female character who was obviously based on Eep. Theses stories mirrored the thematic basis and structure of the movie. Through stories, real life heroes are born. Don’t miss this movie! Reel Girl rates “The Croods” ***HH***

Update There’s just one more scene that kind of bugged me in “The Croods.” I forgot to mention it here, but I’ve been thinking about it since. So the dad and Guy are trying to lure a creature into a trap and as bait, they create a female version of the creature, desperate for help. The damsel in distress is grotesque, with a lipstick mouth. The attacking creature rescues her. It was a bummer for me to see 3 male characters act out this gender stereotyped scene.


Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing From Children’s Movies in 2013

In 2012, I waited until the last possible minute. It wasn’t until December that I posted Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing from Children’s Movies in 2012. Even though in the age of the internet, the facts were impossible to miss, I kept hoping that, somehow, I’d overlooked something.

This year, I’m going to face the upcoming year of multi-million dollar sexism marketed directly at my three daughters– ages 3, 6, and 9– head on, in January.

Of the 21 movie posters for young kids pictured below, only 4 appear to feature a female protagonist; 16 seem to feature a male protagonist and 10 are named for that male star. In one case, “Peabody and Mr. Sherman,” the movie is titled for its 2 male protagonists.

Of the 4 movies starring females, just two are titled for the star. It’s the small budget 7 million film from Moscow, “Snow Queen,” that was brave enough to name its film after a female. “Frozen” is the title chosen for Disney’s version, the same movie studio that changed “Rapunzel” to “Tangled,” to obscure its female star. Fittingly, in the poster for “Frozen,” the woman’s image also fades into the background.

Both “Dorothy” and “Epic,” buffer the female on the poster with males, Epic with a constellation of them and “Dorothy” by listing no less than 7 famous male actors.

The poster for “Planes” may look mysterious, but it comes from the producers of “Cars,” a movie which had many more male than female characters. Tellingly, the preview for “Planes” doesn’t show a single female character.

From the position of characters on the poster in “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2,” it looks like the male is the star, but maybe, hopefully I’m wrong. When you look at the poster, try to imagine a gender flip, the female in front and the male’s legs and hip in the female’s red-carpet-ready pose. That image will make you laugh.

If you are going to argue that there could be strong females in all of these movies, even if they are not the star of the movie, that’s not the same. Please read The curse of the Minority Feisty in kid’s movies.

“Saving Mr. Banks” is coming out in 2013 but does not have a poster yet. On imdb.com, it’s described:

Author P.L. Travers travels from London to Hollywood as Walt Disney Pictures adapts her novel Mary Poppins for the big screen.

That movie could be really cool. But why, why, why is the movie called: “Saving Mr. Banks?” If there is a female protagonist in this film, could she be concealed any more?  I know the androgynous “P.L. Travers” is how the writer’s name is shown on her books, but Mary Poppins came out in 1934. The writer had to use the initials to sell her book. Of course, J.K. Rowling opted for the same tactic years later, but hasn’t her success done anything for women writers? The year is 2013. When are writers going to be able to come out as women? Finally, and I hate writing this, and I hope that I’m wrong: From what I see on the internet it looks like the protagonist of the movie is, in fact, Walt Disney played by Tom Hanks.

There’s a movie I’ve heard of with no poster and I’m not sure if it’s coming out: an indie, English dubbed release of the French movie “Ernest and Celestine”

I have not yet seen any of these movies. As I’ve written about a lot on Reel Girl, movie posters are their own media. Even if a kid doesn’t see the movie, she sees the ads drive by her on the sides of buses or loom above her pasted on walls. She hears the movie titles. Not to mention, she sees the protagonists on TV, cereal boxes, diapers, clothing, toys, sheets, and in video games.

The posters below are found from Google images. There are multiple posters, and I chose the one I’m predicting that I’ll see around town. Whenever I see a movie poster on a bus or wall with a female character solo, front and center who is not surrounded by multiple male characters, or when multiple female characters are shown, I rush to post the sighting on Reel Girl.

As you look at the posters below, ask yourself: Who looks like the star/ leader/ protagonist of this movie? What would this poster look like if the positions, number of male characters, and title references were switched to female characters? Why are females, half of the kid population, presented as a minority in children’s films? Why is the imaginary world, a place where anything should be possible, sexist at all?

So here we go.

Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing from Children’s Movies in 2013

Monsters University



Despicable Me


Smurfs 2

Chapter 14 smurfs-2

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson 2 Sea of Monsters


Leo the Lion


Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2


Mr. Peabody and Sherman




The Hobbit: There and Back Again


Escape From Planet Earth


Jack the Giant Slayer


Oz the Great and Powerful


The Croods




From Up on Poppy Hill



The Snow Queen





Turbo Movie Poster

Batman The Dark Night Returns