New to the neighborhood. So everybody’s favorite prehistoric family is back, and I’m not talking about the Flintstones. The Croods are searching for a place that they can call home, and they think that they may have found it when they come across the primitive equivalent of a gated community. The only trouble is that another family has already taken up occupancy: the Bettermans. They are a bit more advanced with technology, and as we all know from the past, the Croods are slow to embrace change. Now I am found of the first Croods from 2013. It isn’t groundbreaking animation, but it is one of the better DreamWorks properties, and its stock has only gone up in my book. I wasn’t clamoring for a sequel or anything, but given the relatively weak year 2020 has been for movies, I was willing to welcome it. I’m pleased to report that everyone showed up for this.
If they phoned this in, no one would have been surprised.
Now I want to start by saying that this is a terrific option for families seeking something new to watch. Maybe it’s because I had just been traumatized by Playing with Fire, but this did check several boxes for me. I feel like DreamWorks brought their A-team with this. That means you get visuals gags that catch you off guard with some written jokes as well. All of the same voice actors are back from the first movie, and I enjoyed the dynamic created between them and the new family. I appreciated how they had two girls interested in the same guy, but neither is interested in fighting one another, which completely subverted my expectations. Also, I was entertained by the voice acting from Peter Dinklage. He is such an immensely talented actor, and I could see him have a big future in the animated world based on his performance here (Angry Birds is perfectly adequate, but this is a better showcase). The animation here is fluent, and if nothing else, there is always something innovative happening with the visuals. There are so many animal hybrids in this, and it almost always gave me a laugh when a new one would pop up on the screen. It reminded me of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 in that regard, and this movie won points with animal creativity.
The first movie is underrated, and I think this one will be categorized the same way.
I like this movie quite a bit. It gave me consistent laughs, and it never outstayed its welcome at a quick 90 minutes. I do feel like a lot of the old family members got pushed into the background. If you’re a Crood that isn’t voiced by Nic Cage, Emma Stone, or Ryan Reynolds, you probably only have one thing to do here. I also can’t say it improves much upon the original. It doesn’t do anything worse, but it doesn’t do it better, either. I think you should watch this if you were a fan of the first one; you will probably have a pleasant time with it.
The Croods: A New Age (2020) ***1/2
– Critic for Hire