The Croods: A New Age
Kevin Hageman, Dan Hageman, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan, Kirk DeMicco, Chris Sanders
Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman, Clark Duke, Leslie Mann, Peter Dinklage, Kelly Marie Tran
While Pixar and its parent company Disney have been struggling to find new directions after their long-running successes in the animation medium, DreamWorks has quietly stepped up to fill the void with an array of palatable characters in entertaining, albeit sometimes cheesy, adventures. The Croods: A New Age tries to overcome the issues that often face sequels, namely a severe decrease in quality and a general lack of re-engaging excitement.
When the first film released, DreamWorks took a gamble on a concept that bore a lot of similarities to the already-popular Ice Age films. Setting their feature around a stone age human family rather than now-extinct creatures, the film’s directors, Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco, attempted to set their product apart from that existing series and succeeded in turning out a surprisingly fun and engaging prehistoric romp with a winning vocal cast and an endearing story.
Lightning striking twice is not common in sequels, especially with DreamWorks, but Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Paul Fisher, and Bob Logan largely succeeded with their script for The Croods: A New Age, bringing the best stone age family since The Flintstones forward in their narrative arcs under the winning direction of Joel Crawford. Emma Stone, Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, and Cloris Leachman return to roles they made so entertaining in the prior film while adding Peter Dinklage, Leslie Mann, and Kelly Marie Tran to the team.
This outing follows Reynolds’ Guy as he continues his search for the legendary Tomorrow that his parents spoke of before their untimely, tarry deaths. He and his semi-adoptive family The Croods traverse vast landscapes with increasingly beautiful and frightening prehistoric creatures as they move diligently towards a new home. Guy and Stone’s Eep are hopelessly in love and are carrying on in the most saccharinely sweet way possible, frustrating Cage’s patriarch Grug who fears losing his family unit should the pair find “privacy” elsewhere in the world. Grug thinks he’s succeeded in finding them a new region in which they can dwell when he locates Nirvana. Unfortunately for him, the bounteous walled landscape he discovers belongs to Phil and Hope Betterman (Dinklage & Mann) and their daughter Dawn (Tran), who just so happen to be old friends of Guy’s parents and who have a plan to send the Croods out beyond the wall while pairing Guy off with Dawn.
The film starts off with an exciting, colorful adventure and then settles into familiar territory. However, as the Bettermans’ plan begins to unravel, things rev up until the thrilling, laugh-fueled finale with plenty of great humor and familial frustrations along the way. While most such films are easily inferior to their predecessors, A New Age manages to hew closely to the original in terms of wit, creativity, and thematic excitement. While it is only a slight step down thanks to its overly familiar story elements, the end result is a fun adventure for kids and adults of all ages.
Potentials: Animated Feature
February 1, 2021