TL;DR – A blast from start to finish
Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene, but not one you need to stay back for
The Croods: A New Age Full Review –
There is this common misconception that animated films are somehow an inferior form of cinema, especially those slated for a younger demographic. However, this is simply just not the case, and several animated films over the last few years have proved that point. This week we get to see another movie enter that frame with the follow up to The Croods.
So to set the scene, we begin with a tragedy as Guy’s (Ryan Reynolds) parents get caught in a tar pit and force Guy to move on without him hoping to return to a mystical place known as tomorrow. Fast forward and a lot of time marching he runs into the Crood Family, father Grug (Nicolas Cage), mother Ugga (Catherine Keener), daughter Eep (Emma Stone), son Thunk (Clark Duke), baby Sandy (Kailey Crawford), and grandma Gran (Cloris Leachman). They live a simple life of foraging for food and trying not to get eaten, but romance blossoms between Guy and Eep, much to Grug’s consignation. But everything changes when they find a big wall in the middle of the wilderness hiding mountains of food behind.
The first thing I want to talk about is just how beautiful this film is. I mean this is the studio behind How To Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda, so this shouldn’t be a surprise, but honestly, there were times where it took my breath away. The walled garden they find is this technicolour dreamcoat that walks the fine line between absurd and fanciful but also being based a little in reality. It has a feeling of the Pure Imagination scene from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory but updated to today. All these small touches add to everything, for example, these bioluminescent frogs that are all over the place that provide light in the night scenes.
You also see this in the scene where Eep and Dawn (Kelly Marie Tran) escape the wall in a bought of teenage rebellion and run through the wilderness that was once barren and hostile but is now full of life including these half birch trees-butterflies. The film takes the Avatar The Last Airbender form of creature creation where two animals get smashed together. The highlight of this has to be the wolf/spider creation that is both equal parts adorable and horrifying. All of these visual aspects help make the tone of the film work as well as it does and complements the storytelling.
With regards to the tone, it is very much a juxtaposition of a very-modern film packaged in a prehistoric setting. There is an almost Flintstones feel to the world where we have old-timey applications for real-world items. The most in the face is Thunk using a window as a TV analog which is a gag they come back to too many times in the film. But there a lot of subtle things, like how Eep gets the sabre tiger Chunky into gear by using a fur gearstick like this is a Fast and Furious film. Indeed, there are a lot of cinematic references dropped throughout this film. I clocked Psycho, True Lies, Watchmen, Mad Max, and Star Trek, just to name a few. I sometimes find this sort of juxtaposition filled with pop-culture references to be draining and dating, but they make it work here.
This is also true of the story that is filled with clichés from start to finish. We have the dad not wanting to let go of his daughter now she is finding a new life for herself outside of his care. You have the jealousy between males competing to be the top, with both Grug and Phil (Peter Dinklage), and the before-mentioned Grug and Guy. The debate about who is the most noteworthy, the down and out rural Croods, or the elite city Bettermans. Then the question about is it better to stay with your own kind or to mix with others, and yes they even throughout the “you people”, look subtle this film is not.
Usually, these in your face themes and ham-fisted applications are a big turn off for me. But if the themes are the big brushstrokes, the characters, humour, and sheer weirdness is the details that help fill it out. The Croods: A New Age is a tremendously funny film with jokes that range from smirks to chuckles, to full-on belly laughs. I think in this regard the MVP has to be Cloris Leachman with some pitch-perfect moments that lean into the weird rather than trying to pull back from it. This also extends to Emma Stone and Kelly Marie Tran who have to do a lot of heavy thematic lifting and who might have the funniest scene in the entire film. Also, this is a film with the best subtitle gag that I have seen in an age.
In the end, do we recommend The Croods: A New Age? Well, let’s be honest, this is a film for you to take your kids to keep them entertained over the holidays. From that perspective, there are a couple of scary moments for the very younger kids in the third act but nothing major. There are also some jokes aimed squarely at the parents, but I think they will likely fly over the heads of the little ones. Besides a couple of moments of cringe, I had a blast with this film from start to finish, and I do recommend it. If you liked The Croods: A New Age I can also recommend to you How To Train Your Dragon The Hidden World and Kung Fu Panda 3.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
Have you watched The Croods: A New Age? Let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias, and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Croods: A New Age
Directed by – Joel Crawford
Story by – Kirk DeMicco & Chris Sanders
Screenplay by – Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Paul Fisher & Bob Logan
Based on – Characters by Kirk DeMicco, Chris Sanders & John Cleese
Music by – Mark Mothersbaugh
Edited by – James Ryan
Production/Distribution Companies – DreamWorks Animation & Universal Pictures
Starring – Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Kailey Crawford, Cloris Leachman, Peter Dinklage, Leslie Mann, Kelly Marie Tran, Chris Sanders, James Ryan, Melissa Disney & Joel Crawford
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: G; United States: PG