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The Croods: Another Overprotective Helicopter Parent Gets A Lesson In Letting Go

We went and saw a preview of The Croods this weekend, and the plot will be very familiar to parents.

Grug, is the over-protective father who boldly declares to his family that “Fear is good. Never not be afraid,” when warning them about the dangers of the outside world. In the prehistoric setting of the movie, the world is a rapidly changing place, and The Croods find themselves to be the last humans on Earth. Faced with watching the extinction of his neighbors, Grug (Nicolas Cage) has found a secure cave for his family to spend days at a time. To wile away the time, he’ll tell stories of the outside world that always involve someone trying something new, and dying.

Eep (Emma Stone), Grug’s oldest daughter, loves the sun and each night as it sets, she will reach her hand higher and higher to catch the rays. She longs to explore the world, and be free of her paranoid father. On a night escape, she meets Guy (Ryan Reynolds) a roaming free spirit who was told by his parents “Don’t hide – live.” And you can tell where it goes from there. Helicopter parents learn to loosen the leash, free spirit children learn to listen to their parents, and we all live happily ever after.

Helicoptering parents in movies is nothing new. To borrow a famous phrase, “it’s a tale as old as time,” but the question remains: are we learning anything?

Is it a cartoons place to tell us to loosen up? Is the theme consistently repeated because it accurately describes the push/pull relationship parents and children have had since prehistoric times?

Here are some other over-protective animated parents:


  • Helicopter Parents 1 of 10
    Helicopter Parents
    It's more than just a kid's movie. Look carefully and you'll see the films are trying to teach you a lesson.
  • The Croods 2 of 10
    The Croods
    Grug is afraid of everything, Eep wants to see everything. I may or may not admit to having shed a small tear when they hug after the climax and she says "I love you" to her dad. Despite the struggles isn't that all you want to hear from your kids?
    Photo © DreamWorks Animation LLC
  • Brave 3 of 10
    Brave
    Merida and Queen Elinor struggle with barriers and proper roles throughout. Should Merida settle for a traditional role or be allowed to pursue her destiny?
    Photo ©2012 Disney/Pixar
  • Finding Nemo 4 of 10
    Finding Nemo
    Marlin is the classic controlling dad. After losing his wife, Nemo is all he has left and he would wrap him in bubble wrap - if that existed in an underwater seascape. Nemo learns his lesson to listen to dad, Marlin learns to loosen the leash.
    Photo © Disney/Pixar
  • How To Train Your Dragon 5 of 10
    How To Train Your Dragon
    Less overprotective and more disbelieving. Stoick the Vast doesn't believe his son Hiccup will amount to much. Then Hiccup tames the fiercest dragon.
    Photo © DreamWorks Animation LLC
  • Hotel Transylvania 6 of 10
    Hotel Transylvania
    When Mavis turns 118, Drac must learn to let his little girl grow up and overcome his distaste for humans so true love can prevail. Dad once had a bad experience, holds that lesson over his child by keeping them on a tight leash. See also: Finding Nemo and The Croods.
    Photo © Sony Pictures
  • Ice Age 7 of 10
    Ice Age
    Manfred has had a grumpy and tight leash in every one of the Ice Age movies. That gets tested in Ice Age 4 when his daughter Ellie goes out on her own and get separated from the family. See also: The Croods, Finding Nemo, Hotel Transylvannia
    Photo © 20th Century Fox
  • Little Mermaid 8 of 10
    Little Mermaid
    Ariel wants to go out and experience the world. King Triton wants to keep her at home. Ariel breaks free, chases her dreams. See also: The Croods, Finding Nemo, Hotel Transylvannia
    Photo © Disney
  • Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 9 of 10
    Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
    Flint Lockwood has high ambitions for his life. His dad, Tim, is happy running his simple fish bait shop. While Tim never puts the breaks on Flint's high tech devices, he wishes he would take a simpler look at life. Eventually Flint learns the simple things can be the best.
    Photo © Sony Pictures
  • Ratatouille 10 of 10
    Ratatouille
    Django is happy eating trash. His son, Remy, has higher ambitions to become a celebrated chef. Son's ambitions get him in trouble, and Dad's simple ways save the day. See also: Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
    Photo © Disney/Pixar

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