Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Movie with Abe: The Croods: A New Age

The Croods: A New Age
Directed by Joel Crawford
Released November 25, 2020

Cavemen are considered backwards and rudimentary, mainly because they existed early on in the evolutionary process before humanity discovered many ways to improve itself. Yet the notion that they have nothing to offer and were completely unintelligent because of how they did things is a judgmental and irresponsible conclusion, one that presumes there is nothing to be learned from the past. That concept can be easily applied to gentrification and other expectations of what it means to be sophisticated in the present. Such ideas are alluded to in an entertaining and fantastical manner in this sequel that improves substantially on its original.

The Croods are back and facing an unexpected challenge as their latest addition, Guy, brings them far from their comfort zone in his constant search for tomorrow. When he encounters two adults from his childhood, Phil and Hope Betterman, they introduce the Croods to their way of life, which looks very different and involves considerably more technology and industry than they know. Eep sees a threat in their daughter, Dawn, who grew up with Guy, while Grug and Ugga find themselves clashing with Phil and Dawn about their values and whether they can or should adjust to this new existence.

It’s easy to read into the storylines here and apply more meaning to them than children may digest, and that’s a good thing since the first film, which this reviewer honestly didn’t even remember having watched just over seven years ago, lacked in adult-friendly content to keep older audiences engaged. This film presents exactly what should be expected from an animated film aimed primarily at younger viewers, inserting fantasy elements into a story that does feel timeless even if a few of its specific plot points are exaggerated to make the experience all the more entrancing for fresh eyes easily wowed by monsters and seemingly superhuman abilities.

The best asset of this film, which does boast impressive animation, may be its voice cast. A number of the actors return from the first film, including Emma Stone, Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, and the late Cloris Leachman in one of her final film roles. The newcomers are just as fantastic, with Peter Dinklage and Leslie Mann complementing the other voice talent superbly as Phil and Hope. This film takes the next step after a thin caveman premise that didn’t serve its predecessor all that well, creating a visually appealing and relatively enjoyable universe that could feasibly produce its own perfectly decent sequels in the future.


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