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Film Review: “The Croods: A New Age” Evolves Its Jokes Before Its Story

Written by: Patrick Howard | November 24th, 2020

Film poster: “The Croods: A New Age”

The Croods: A New Age (Joel Crawford, 2020) 2½ out of 4 stars.

Stacked with a star-studded cast (including Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds), the sequel to the 2013 animated comedy The Croods falls into the classic trappings of a typical sequel, in the best and worst possible ways. The safety-conscious Croods return, and their desire to survive the perils of prehistoric Earth has yet to end. They’ve overcome sharp-fanged beasts and natural disasters, but now they must face their biggest obstacle: another family.

The theme of evolution is central here. From it, director Joel Crawford lays out a treasure trove of inventive sight gags and moments of silliness with the introduction of the Bettermans (emphasis on the word “better”). Cage and Reynolds are dynamo voiceover performers, injecting competent witty banter with an unbridled manic attitude that works perfectly for the characters. 

Still from THE CROODS: A NEW AGE @DreamWorks Animation

A family of one of the first species of humans to face the unavoidable nature of change is a compelling story for an animated film. Crawford fulfills this idea with the visual capabilities of the medium, but the film never pushes its emotional beats past surface-level tension and payoffs. The Croods: A New Age is nevertheless an entertaining feature for families to watch while quarantined in their homes. I can’t say with confidence that the second part of The Croods’ story will draw water from your tear ducts, but the movie will leave you laughing and chuckling the evening away.

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Patrick Howard has been a cinephile since age seven. Alongside 10 years of experience in film analysis and criticism, he is a staunch supporter of all art forms and believes their influence and legacy over human culture is vital. Mr. Howard takes the time to write his own narrative stories when he can.

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