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The Croods: A New Age

Upon its release in 2013, THE CROODS was an undisputed financial success, grossing over $580 million at the box office. At the time, the market (as it continues to be) was saturated by animated ventures, and I wasn’t sure that it had made the type of lasting cultural impact needed to launch a franchise. The film played out was an entertaining update of the FLINSTONES, featuring a family of cave dwellers who lived amongst colorful, cleverly constructed creatures, with the voice talents of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, and Emma Stone leading the way. In 2014, there were talks of a sequel, but the project was canceled shortly thereafter. It looked as if the saga of THE CROODS had already run its course, but then, at the end of 2015, an animated series surrounding the family was released on Netflix, and a franchise was truly born.

Thanks to the animated series there was renewed interest in the THE CROODS, and the cinematic sequel got the green light. THE CROODS: A NEW AGE was released in theaters this November, and debuted on Video on Demand shortly before Christmas. Personally, I can assure you that there was no greater interest in the project than right here in my own household, where my children were literally counting down the days until its release. It was this passion and excitement (along with the fact that they’ve seen the movie half a dozen times and the series a couple of times through) that truly illustrated how popular the brand had become.

Though A NEW AGE may not be the movie sequel that the world needed, there is little doubt that it will delight those who give it a whirl. Bright, beautiful, and full of heart and humor, it is the type of instantly gratifying, albeit somewhat forgettable adventure that will delight children and pacify parents.

Picking up after the events of the first film, the Croods are still travelling as a pack, and newcomer Guy (Reynolds) has fit in nicely. He and Eep (Stone) continue on their path of young love, while Grug (Cage) attempts to remain relevant in his daughter’s eyes. As the couple becomes ever more enamored with each other, it becomes increasingly clear that they may be reaching a point in which they are ready to set out and start a pack of their own. Grug will seemingly do anything to stop this from happening.

Within their travels, the Croods encounter a giant wooden wall. Hidden beyond its doors is a utopia filled with water, warmth, and all of the food that they can eat. They soon discover that this is the home of Phil (Peter Dinklage) and Hope (Leslie Mann) Betterman. They were friends with Guy’s parents when he was younger, and he was very close to their daughter Dawn (Kelly Marie Tran.) The Betterman’s, with their plethora of modern creations such as soap, showers, plumbing, and a window (the first form of TV!) welcome the Croods with open arms once they discovered that they are travelling with Guy, but shortly upon the family’s arrival, find themselves disgusted by their guests primitive nature. They immediately concoct a plan to keep Guy with them, and to give their houseguests the boot.

A NEW AGE is certainly a visual delight. Much like the bright and bouncy TROLLS: WORLD TOUR, the vibrant colors pop off the screen in dazzling 4K clarity. The creatures (land sharks, wolf spiders, etc) are gleefully absurd, and the scenery in every sequence is meticulously expansive. The humor that fuels the production is not exactly highbrow, but when watching a movie called THE CROODS, you should have a pretty solid understanding of the way that the jokes are going to go. The voice talents of the cast are spot-on, with Mann, Dinklage, and Tran serving as excellent additions to the crew. The dialogue and its emphatic delivery at the hands of Cage and Reynolds highlight the unique personas of each performer, leading to multiple laugh-out-loud moments. Furthermore, as was the case the first time around, the pure over-the-top absurdity of Gran, voiced by a perfectly cast Cloris Leachman, lends itself to plenty of delightful and ridiculous shenanigans.

THE CROODS: A NEW AGE may not represent the potentially powerful viewing experience of Pixar’s upcoming SOUL, but it was never meant to. It set out to create a fun, entertaining distraction when it was needed the most, and in this regard, it certainly (and surprisingly) succeeds.

THE CROODS: A NEW AGE: B

RATED : PG

RUN TIME: 1h 35min

GENRE: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

STARR ING: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds

DIRECTOR s: Joel Crawford Writers: Kevin & Dan Hageman

GRADE: B

(Now available on Video on Demand)

Brian Miller
Film Critic
Based out of Central New York, Brian Miller is a film critic who works in television, radio, and print. Providing passionate and energetic takes on every movie he sees, he looks for the best in a movie, not the worst.