#REVIEW: “THE CROODS: A NEW AGE”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
The Croods, led by patriarch Grug (Nicolas Cage), are searching for food and a new home. They happen upon both when they come across a beautiful area with walls on each side. They also discover another family living there: the Bettermans, who more than live up to their family name. As the two families squabble and feud, they must learn to come together if they hope to survive.
Much like the original film, The Croods: A New Age feels inconsequential and oddly-paced. The Plot takes a long time to get moving and the main “problem” the prehistoric families face is solved before the second half kicks into high gear and presents a completely new problem (which is inexplicably lifted from a throwaway joke from its predecessor). A New Age drops in a number of subplots for each character as well, shifting the Film’s focus all over the place. I will not say it is hard to follow, but it feels needlessly overcooked – as if the Filmmakers had worked on a few ideas for the sequel but forgot to trim out the stuff that was not important. I am not quite sure we needed a sequel to The Croods after seven years, but I imagine they had more than enough time to iron-out a clear and concise storyline instead of what we received.
What they did seem to use that extended time between films on was upgrading the look of the Flm and its characters. The animation in the first Croods film was dark, unrefined and for lack of a better word, crude. A New Age on the other hand is vibrant, gorgeously detailed and stunning to look at. I watched both films back to back, and it is staggering to comprehend how different they look. The characters are much more defined and expressive, the colours practically pop off the screen and the details packed into every frame are simply magnificent. This Film will look incredible on a big screen, whether it be at the theatre or on your 4KTV. It is not on the same level as other animation giants by any means, but the animation in A New Age might be the closest Dreamworks have ever gotten to being comparable to that level of craftsmanship.
The Voice Work is top notch from everyone involved. Cage and Ryan Reynolds are a bit more subdued than they were in the first film, but still manage to deliver more than their share of laughs. Emma Stone soars again as Grug’s daughter Eep, and I feel like the Film could have only been improved if they played into her growing friendship with Dawn Betterman (Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s Kelly Marie Tran) more than they actually do. Leslie Mann has a blast as Dawn’s mother Hope and Peter Dinklage is an absolute riot playing the kind of character that is so far removed from his dramatic work that he practically sounds unrecognizable.
The Croods: A New Age looks great and has some solid Voice Acting. It does suffer from the same odd pacing as its predecessor and has far too much going on within its 95-minute running time. While it is doubtful that youngsters will do anything but marvel at the chaos in front of them, it still feels like there was more than enough time to make A New Age substantially better than what it ended up being.
Universal Pictures Canada release THE CROODS: A NEW AGE in theatres on Wednesday, November 25, 2020.
*Please ensure you exercise caution in observing COVID-19 protocols if seeing this in-theatre.*