Movie Review: THE CROODS: A NEW AGE Starring Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds
The Croods are back in an all new feature hitting theaters just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.
In A New Age – directed by Joel Crawford – Grug (Nicolas Cage), Eep (Emma Stone), Guy (Ryan Reynolds), Ugga (Catherine Keener), Gran (Cloris Leachman), and Thunk (Clark Duke) are introduced to a new way of life via a hidden oasis Grug stumbles upon. There they meet The Bettermans – Phil (Peter Dinklage), Hope (Leslie Mann), and Dawn (Kelly Marie Tran) – who actually used to know Guy when he was a child.
The Bettermans are more sophisticated than The Croods (hence the play on words in their names), and the parents devise a plan to have Guy stay with them and marry Dawn – and send the Croods packing. Tensions flare, hilarity ensues, and it’s a battle between the cavepeople and the next step in evolution.
I really enjoyed the first film, which was a complete surprise back in 2013. Having looked forward to a sequel for some time now, I welcomed the stone age family back with open arms. And while the new film doesn’t quite capture the magic of the original, it’s still a fun watch during a time when laughs are much-needed.
Part of the reason the sequel falls a bit flat is that it’s basically just a variation on joke the entire time. The Croods are, well, crude. And the Bettermans have modern plumbing, and housing, and live an anachronistic life that is very similar to what we experience today. While it is funny, and there are quite a few laughs, that same routine starts to wear thin after a while. It’s a very contained film once they get to where The Bettermans live, and the action doesn’t pick up until the last fifteen minutes or so.
The voice acting is still good, with the cast returning from the original. Cage is perfect as the caveman dad who doesn’t want his daughter to grow up and leave the family. Emma stone is hilarious again as Eep, and Ryan Reynolds does what he does best. Keener, Leachman, Duke – all do the best they can with what they are given. And Dinklage, Mann, and Tran are welcomed additions to the cast.
While the idea of introducing The Croods to modern sensibilities is a fun one, I wish they could have gotten more clever with the new adventure. It’s still fun, and there are laughs throughout, but the story could have taken them to much more exciting places. While I appreciated all the colorful creatures they invented for the film, they aren’t enough to make the story more interesting.
If you like the first one, you will most likely enjoy A New Age. Just make sure to set your expectations appropriately.