It’s been seven years since moviegoers were introduced to the goofy prehistoric family the Croods and now comes the not-so-eagerly awaited sequel, The Croods: A New Age. The colorful and very funny first film focused on the relationship of the loving but overprotective father, Grug (voiced by Nicolas Cage), and his daughter, Eep (voiced by Emma Stone), who yearned to explore outside their cave and see the world.
After an earthquake destroyed their home, the Croods teamed up with a newcomer named Guy (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) to try to find a new safe home. Grug took an instant dislike to Guy since Eep found him interesting and dreamy.
The sequel picks up with the Croods and Guy still traveling together looking for a new home. (Flashbacks reveal Guy’s dark origin story.) A chaotic but entertaining montage sequence of the family running and fighting off an army of deadly Kangadillos (a mix of kangaroo and armadillo) crosses the screen as Guy and Eep flirt back and forth while the song “I Think I Love You” plays.
From there the gang discovers a giant wall along with the family who built it – the Bettermans – who are much more evolved than the Croods and are part of Guy’s past. Hope and Phil Betterman (voiced by Leslie Mann and Peter Dinklage) want very much for Guy to stay with them inside their protected and thriving home which has running water, indoor plumbing, and plenty of food. It’s even overflowing with bananas. They’re also keen to pair up Guy with their daughter, Dawn (Kelly Marie Tran), while encouraging the Croods to travel on without him.
Poor Eep, who before finding the wall was talking about off with Guy on their own, sees how comfortable Guy is with the Bettermans and their lifestyle and begins to wonder if she and Guy are meant to have a future together.
Sadly, even with a talented voice cast and bright and colorful animation, The Croods: A New Age is nothing more than a forgettable sequel with few laughs and not much of a story. The promising and creative beginning of the film is followed by chaotic action, puns that don’t work, and stilted and boring new characters who detract from the fun and adventure.
Nicolas Cage and Ryan Reynolds deliver the best voice performances as Grug and Guy, the two main men in Eep’s life who love her and don’t want to lose her. Emma Stone is still solid as Eep, but her character has less screen time due to the introduction of the Betterman family. And unlike the first film, her character has almost no arc this time. Eep is nothing more than a secondary character in this outing which hurts the film.
Leslie Mann and Peter Dinklage are very effective as the voices of Hope and Phil Betterman but their characters are simply not that interesting, funny or engaging and steer the spotlight off other key characters in the movie.
Another element missing in this weak sequel is the blend of smart humor and creative slapstick antics that made the original so entertaining to both kids and adults. The film replaces those wonderful elements with silly dialogue and loud, outlandish, and headache-inducing action scenes.
On a positive note, the film looks great and the animation is once again lush and colorful. The use of songs such as “I Think I Love You” adds humor and heart to the animated romp.
The Croods: A New Age is the perfect example of an unnecessary, unoriginal, and inferior sequel.
MPAA Rating: PG for peril, action, and rude humor
Release Date: November 25, 2020
Running Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Directed By: Joel Crawford