DreamWorks's "The Croods" is about a prehistoric family forced to leave home after a devastating disaster. On the journey, they adapt to their new "modern" life: they get a pet, discover shoes, and try to figure out a mysterious entity called "fire" -- all while being delightfully quirky, of course. The studio is calling them the world's "first modern family," but they are definitely not the first strange clan to grace the big screen.
Plenty of wacky, weird, and just plain out-there animated families have charmed audiences throughout the years. Remember those swamp-dwelling ogres from another DreamWorks movie? Or the family of Pixar superheroes that thrashed its way into theaters?
Yeah, we figured. So, for your entertainment, we picked the most unusual animated movie families we could think of.
Wacky: 'The Simpsons'
"The Simpsons" were the reigning dysfunctional family on television, that is, until they brought their antics to the big screen in 2007 with "The Simpsons Movie." If your mom has mile-high blue hair, your dad is a drunken doughnut addict, your brother walks around telling everyone to "eat his shorts," and burping contests are a family event, we think it's safe to say that your family has earned the adjective "wacky."
Weird: 'The Jungle Book'
In "The Jungle Book," a panther finds a baby abandoned in a tropical jungle and leaves him to be raised by wolves. The boy grows up in the jungle, is able to communicate with the animals, and is taught the "Bare Necessities" from a singing bear named Baloo. That's just about as unconventional as you can get.
One of the first animated movies that featured an unusual family was Disney's "Cinderella." Poor Cinderella had to combat an evil stepmother and two entitled, weird-looking step sisters who made her their personal servant. If you can categorize multiple members of your family as "evil," you can probably categorize your family as "out-there." At least in the most basic terms.
Weird: 'My Neighbors the Yamadas'
"My Neighbors the Yamadas" is a 1999 Japanese cartoon (released on DVD in the U.S. in 2005) that chronicles the lives of the Yamada family through a series of vignettes. The movie starts off strange, showing Mr. and Mrs. Yamada's wedding day -- a scene that ends with the pair riding off into the sunset on a bobsled. It's obviously symbolic of them starting their lives together, but any couple that ends their wedding day in a bobsled has to be considered at least a tiny bit weird.
Wacky: 'Despicable Me'
The wacky family in "Despicable Me" came together by accident. Three orphan sisters ring the doorbell of a power-hungry super villain, hoping to sell him some cookies. He sees their arrival as an opportunity to use the girls to get to his nemesis, so he adopts them -- naturally. He eventually grows to love them -- and boom! -- another wacky, endearing animated family is formed.
Out-There: 'Happy Feet'
In "Happy Feet," a young penguin's parents fall in love after they hear each other's "heart songs" -- cute, but a little strange. After his father pretty much drops him while he's just an egg, Mumble hatches and isn't able to sing like the rest of his species -- he can only dance, an unheard of practice in penguin circles. The shame forces him to run away from home, which his parents seem fine with, until he returns years later. Um, what?
Weird: 'The Incredibles'
"The Incredibles" are just your average super-human family, fighting crime in the morning and eating dinner by 6 o'clock. A family is definitely unconventional (read: weird) if each member has a super power, like super strength, invisibility, or lightning-quick speed.
Wacky: 'Finding Nemo'
A family made up of a neurotic single dad and his son doesn't really sound that wacky, right? (Sounds a lot like our families, actually.) Well, multiply <em>your</em> parents' paranoia by, like, a million, add in a certifiable family friend who can't remember what year it is and a tank full of prisoners plotting their escape, and you get the wacky, inclusive family dynamic of "Finding Nemo."
Out-There: 'Shrek 3'
The family in "Shrek 3" is made up of two swamp-dwelling ogres and their children. Plus, Shrek, Fiona, and their kids basically share a home with Shrek's best friend, Donkey, who has a fire-breathing brood of half-dragon offspring. Sounds messy and, well, just plain out-there.
Wacky: 'The Triplets of Belleville'
This French cartoon is named after the off-kilter sisters a woman meets while trying to rescue her kidnapped grandson. The aging siblings / jazz musicians -- known as the Triplets of Belleville -- provide a definitively wacky family element. Even though they are past their prime, the trio still jams together when the mood strikes, and chooses to do so with unconventional instruments, like vacuums and refrigerators. We'd go see their show -- wouldn't you?