20th Oct2021

‘The Croods: A New Age’ Blu-ray Review

by Jason Brigger

Features the voices of: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Kelly Marie Tran, Leslie Mann, Peter Dinklage | Written by Kevin Hageman, Dan Hageman | Directed by Joel Crawford

The Croods: A New Age, the sequel to the 2013 film The Croods, expands upon the universe the original film created by adding more “civilized” humans to the world and taking the prehistoric family out of their comfort zone. The new film, while not on par with Disney or Pixar films, is an enjoyable film for everyone in the family to watch over the holiday break.

The Croods are on a never-ending journey to find “Tomorrow”, a mystical land that the family can call home where they feel safe from the perils of the prehistoric world. After many travels, the Croods stumble across a land filled with enough food, safety, and water to create a new life. Unfortunately for the Croods, the land is already inhabited by the Bettermans, a more modern group of humans consisting of Dawn (Kelly Marie Tran) and her parents Hope (Leslie Mann) and Phil (Peter Dinklage).

The Bettermans, who are old neighbors of Guy (Ryan Reynolds), have been living in this lush paradise for over a decade, ever since Guy’s parents died in a tar pit accident, resulting in Guy to run off on his own. The Bettermans built a secured paradise to protect their daughter but the cost of safety comes at a price, as it secludes their daughter off from the rest of the world, while also causing tension with their animal neighbors, the Punch-Monkeys, and their gigantic baboon king. The Croods and the Bettermans, despite their differences, learn they work together to give their families what every parent wants: hope for a better future.

The Croods is not a perfect franchise but one of the stronger, underlying themes of the films is the sense of community. Whether it’s Guy and Eep’s (Emma Stone) relationship and their yearning for freedom or father Grug’s (Nicolas Cage) constant desire to keep the family together, the writers are able to perfectly articulate the need that everyone needs someone. Despite Grug’s constant worrying about keeping his family safe, which is very timely during our real-world pandemic, he learns that we are only stronger by opening ourselves and our loved ones up to the world, not shutting everyone out. It’s a wonderful message that is described perfectly in this film.

The original film has many “A-List” stars in the voice cast and the sequel adds to that list by adding Peter Dinklage, Leslie Mann, and Kelly Marie Tran to the cast. The voice actors fit their respective characters and each actor/actress seems to be having fun with their role, which transfers over to the film. The new voice cast does a great job adding to an already strong cast and brings in some new voices to animated films.

However halfway through The Croods: A New Age, I realized there wasn’t an enemy or a true antagonist in the whole story. Yes, the Bettermans annoy the Croods and they want Guy to stay in order to marry their daughter Dawn, but the new family isn’t portrayed as evil or even bad. Unfortunately, with no adversary being introduced until 50 minutes into the film, it leaves little room for a detailed backstory on the eventual antagonists, the Punch-Monkeys and their gigantic king.The Punch-Monkeys, think mutated monkeys, are enjoyable characters and even though they kidnap Guy, Grug, and Phil in order to sacrifice them to their king, the Punch-Monkeys never come off as villains. The reason the Monkeys even kidnap our heroes is due to Phil diverting the river, in order to create his “Tomorrow” paradise, from the Monkey’s land to his own, which resulted in their way of life being altered. Heck, the Punch-Monkeys are even somewhat justified in their issues with the humans. Overall, introducing the Monkeys earlier in the film would have made them stronger characters and allow the audience to figure out the plot sooner than later.

The Croods: A New Age is a fine and entertaining family film that tells the lesson that we are all stronger together than apart, something that is very relevant in the real world. While the film is not on par with Disney films, it is a solid animated movie that despite it’s run time of 95 minutes, moves quickly and isn’t bogged down with any unnecessary storylines. The writers stay focus on the importance of family and working together, which allows the film to be enjoyable to both parents and children.

Blu-ray Special Features:

  • 2 All-New Croods Shorts
  • Deleted Scenes
  • How to Draw: Caveman Style
  • Stone Age Snack Attack
  • Famileaf Album

**½  2.5/5

The Croods: A New Age is out now on DVD, Digital and Blu-ray from Universal Pictures.


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