The Croods: A New Age – Review

Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman and Clark Duke as The Croods in The Croods: A New Age – Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

There’s something to be said about a studio that comes back after 7 long years with a sequel to a kids film. Sure, Pixar most certainly has a history of doing of it and doing it very successfully as the characters emotionally age with their audience but The Croods (2013) certainly didn’t reach the momentous size and popularity as your classic Pixar film; so that begs the question, has The Croods: A New Age done it successfully? Well, to put it plainly, yes.

The Croods: A New Age is as fresh and fun as ever – utilizing its adult jokes and situational humor to great effect. It’s got the whole package, from witty jabs at current day society, likable characters, an engaging enough story, and dazzlingly colorful visuals. It’s your classic “fun for the whole family” movie. There’s even elements of progression; the character are growing up and growing apart; and that’s just it, because The Croods: A New Age is really about family’s growing up and moving on with their lives. The story continues the journey of The Croods family as they come face to face with a new family, the Betterman’s (a play on words that they’re better than you). The meat and potatoes of this film involves The Croods and the Bettermans trying all they can to coexist in a new habitat while dealing with the issue that Guy (Ryan Reynolds) & Eep (Emma Stone) are searching for their new “tomorrow”, i.e they’re moving out.

The Croods: A New Age may not bring about a new era of storytelling or animation, but what it lacks in innovation it makes up for in strong humor and excess levels of fun. What greatly benefits this film is its wacky voice acting roles – with standouts being Nicolas Cage, Peter Dinklage, and Leslie Mann. Each of these voice roles provide very similar personalities that we know from today’s modern age – with Dinklage playing the role of the new-age hipster tech-dad with every new smart-home technology and Leslie Mann playing the role of your classic Whole Foods mom with a passive aggressive undertone. Nic Cage brings a level of energy to his role that really amplifies the overall tone. With that said, it is important to note that while this sequel does provide ample fun and energy throughout its runtime, it was clear to me that the first and second act of this film were the most enjoyable, with its conclusion leading more into your typical animated film thoroughfare.

Peter Dinklage as Phil Betterman and Nicholas Cage as Grug in The Croods: A New Age – Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

With a budget of $65 million, The Croods: A New Age surprises with top-notch quality of animation and a splashy, flamboyant colour spectrum. The animation style itself is conventional and doesn’t particularly offer anything fresh – however, it doesn’t need to. It satisfies the human eye by having a neat attention to detail and good contrast that allows its glorious colour palette to truly pop. The lighting in the film maintains the mood of the film allowing it to feel upbeat and vibrant. The animation cinematography and shot structure has its good moments by holding the camera shot long enough as it sweeps through environments helps establish the set and setting nicely.

The Croods: A New Age contains fresh, colourful environments that help build upon its world that it has previously established. The development of the universe acknowledges the evolution of humankind as the Croods family comes face to face with the Betterman family who are highly innovative in the way they live. This allows for fresh new environments that offer visual splendor that are simply a treat for the eyes – providing creative animation and a magnificent display of colour. Composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, he delivers a score full of mystery and wonder which perfectly suits what The Croods are going through as they explore this new world. There are a few soundtrack pieces used throughout the film which help elevate the comedic tone in which they are played in.

If I’ve said it once I’ll say it again, The Croods: A New Age isn’t doing anything particularly revolutionary with its story, it’s doing a lot of small things very right, ultimately leading to a nicely balanced kids film that zooms by in a flash.

6.8/10

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