The 2013 Dreamworks animated film titled “The Croods” recently became available on Netflix. With no financial risk involved, I thought I’d give it a try.
This film confused me greatly. Every scene seemed to create more questions, none of which were given a clear resolution in the end:
Where did all these bizarre hybrid organisms come from?
Why were the Croods themselves so improbably unintelligent?
Several weeks after seeing the film, it clicked. It suddenly all make sense:
The Croods takes place in the distant future, long after the genetic apocalypse.
Let me explain. In today’s world, the ability to alter genomes is becoming more and more accessible and affordable. Individuals, hobbyists, even children, have access to technologies that were unthinkable just a decade earlier. The movement has become common enough that that it even has a name: biohacking. This is where the story of the Croods begins. Here and now.
Imagine a future where genetic biohacking is ubiquitous. The human race has been splicing genomes for centuries. It started as a means to provide food and fight disease for an ever growing population, but eventually evolved into something else.
Soon tinkerers began creating custom house pets. It started out with seemingly harmless things, like rabbit-sized rodent/elephant hybrids, and tree like terrestrial corals for garden landscaping:
Eventually, this grassroots movement became commercialized. More and more elaborate hybrids were created by genetic artisans, who in turn sold their genetic patents to massive corporations looking to take advantage of the latest trends in custom pets and zoological theme parks:
This ultimately culminated in the creation of avian/mammalian carnivore megafauna as status symbols for the extremely wealthy:
As trends in hybrid species shifted, their caretakers lost interest in the older breeds. Many of these animals were released into the wild, resulting in ever expanding feral populations. With no natural predators, these populations displaced most of the native species, and eventually became naturalized.
Meanwhile, the genetic revolution had also resulted in darker industries. Looking for cheap labor, natural resource harvesting corporations began exporting their operations to countries with lax genetic regulation. Here, away from the prying eyes of world governments, they were able to develop a new strain of human:
Their large and muscular bodies were well suited to hauling heavy industrial equipment. Their dimwitted nature meant they were easily contained, and their instinctual fear of anything new prevented any deviation from the oppressive status quo set forth by the corporation.
The genetic revolution wasn’t without it’s detractors however. Religious fringe groups had long viewed genetic tampering as an affront to god. In their eyes, tampering with genetic code was tampering with the divine plan of god himself.
Eventually, terrorist groups formed. These extremist sects began targeting government facilities dealing with genetic research. Rather hypocritically, they attacked such facilities with the very weaponized viruses they stole in their raids, apparently attempting to prove a point about the dangers of genetic modification.
Unfortunately, these viruses were not contained to the sites of terrorist attacks. The infection spread globally, killing over 14 billion people worldwide.
However, the commercially-developed labor caste possessed an immunity to the virus. Within a short time, they became the dominant human species on the planet.
Eventually only one surviving specimen of Homo sapiens sapiens remained:
Long after the last signs of civilization had crumbled to ruins, long after the genetic upheaval settled back into ecological equilibrium…
The bearowl from The Croods. This is a seriously cool looking critter. The real life animals are blended together so well you start to wonder if the designers worked on Avatar: The Last Airbender. Mod A’s favourite part? It’s cute feather ear-horns.
The speeding ear of corn CRASHES into a lone tree, sending Guy
and the Croods sprawling across the tundra. The flying
ears ROCKET SKYWARD and BURST like colorful fireworks. Popcorn kernels RAIN DOWN upon the Croods. They are