Remember back to 2013 – The Croods was never expected to become the Oscar-nominated hit that it was. Realistically it was supposed to be an alternative to the all conquering animated series of the day – films like Toy Story and Ice Age. Those films were filled with star power, The Croods was not. This cave-dwelling family was being voiced by star on the rise Emma Stone, the man who had become a B-Grade-straight-to-video guy – Nicolas Cage – and Ryan Reynolds who was licking his wounds after the flop that was Green Lantern.
Somehow though The Croods not only became a successful film but it gained a legion of fans, received a Best Animated Film Oscar nomination and managed to make a tidy US$187 million at the box office. A sequel was always going to arrive, it was just a matter of when the three leads would find time to find work on it.
Well now the sequel has landed in cinemas and picks up pretty much straight after the events of the first film. Grug (Cage – Gone In Sixty Seconds) is still protecting his family from all matter of creatures while disapproving of the relationship that he can see developing between his teenage daughter Eep (Stone – La La Land) and the new comer to their ‘family’ the adventurous Guy (Reynolds – Deadpool).
But the entire family’s lives change forever when on Guy’s search for tomorrow they suddenly come across a farm being run by the more sophisticated Bettermans. And while the father, Phil (Peter Dinklage – Game Of Thrones), is eager to learn more about The Croods, and his daughter, Dawn (Kelly Marie Tran – Stars Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker), quickly becomes friends with Eep, the mother, Hope (Leslie Mann – Knocked Up), wants all of The Croods, except Guy, gone as fast as possible.
Yes, the plot of The Croods: A New Age is pretty thin. It is a story that has been done so many times on screen that most audience members will see where it is heading pretty early on. A family from the wrong side of the tracks meets a family who believes they have it all figured out – if you’ve watched shows like Keeping Up Appearances or Married With Children you will have seen this play out a million times before.
What keeps the film interesting though is the work of the screenwriting team that is led by Kevin and Dan Hageman (the guys behind the highly successful The Lego Movie franchise) who have delivered an absolutely hilarious script that keeps the audience laughing throughout. To their credit they don’t just deliver one or two funny lines every now and then they keep the humour coming at a fast pace and that helps the audience forget that the storyline is very, very predictable.
Likewise director Joel Crawford (Trolls Holiday) appears to have learnt from his time spent in the Trolls universe as he brings bright and flashy colours to this film – a stark difference to the first film which used a much duller palette as it strove to capture the greys and browns of prehistoric times. Crawford’s take on The Croods sees a lot of musical numbers and quick-moving montages that move the story along nicely without ever overstaying their welcome.
In a year when cinema has been all over the place it is quite refreshing to be able to once again visit the world of The Croods. While The Croods: A New Age does take the original story in a whole new direction it also reminds us all just how fun this family is and is the perfect film for people of all ages this holiday season.
The Croods: A New Age is now screening in Phuket cinemas and it has been classified ‘G’.
David Griffiths has been working as a film and music reviewer for over 20 years. That time has seen him work in radio, television and in print. You can follow him at www.facebook.com/subcultureentertainmentaus