Seven years ago, Dreamworks Animation introduced the masses to The Croods, a family of cave-people who are forced to find a new home after an earthquake destroys their old one, and they run into an inventive ‘modern’ human boy along the way. The first Croods movie performed well enough both critically and commercially to warrant a sequel getting the green light, and this week, The Croods: A New Age is finally kicking off its theatrical run after being delayed numerous times. So how does A New Age compare to its predecessor on the critical front?
The reviews for The Croods: A New Age have started pouring in, and so far, it sounds like this sequel is a decent-enough follow-up, although it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Starting off, CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg gave A New Age 3 out of 5 stars in his review, calling it a movie that serves as a fun distraction for kids and a welcome “babysitter” for adults. However, one of the movie’s plot points involving a character wanting to go adventuring in the outside world by any means necessary is unfortunately timed with the real world’s current health crisis and the recommendations to stay indoors as much as possible (though obviously there’s no way the filmmakers could have predicted what a mess 2020 would be).
It’s inoffensive, and by the end has a positive moral, but it also doesn’t leave much of an impression or foster a much of an emotional impact.
Charlie Ridgely from Comicbook.com was more positive towards The Croods: A New Age, awarding it a 4 out of 5 score. Ridgely stated that like the first Croods movie, the sequel starts off slow, but once the story starts to pick up the pace, the movie gets “downright weird,” but in the “best way possible.” In the tend, around 90% of the wackiness A New Age throws at its viewers ends up working.
Tucked away in the vast desert that is 2020's entertainment landscape, The Croods: A New Age is a strange and colorful oasis, much like the home of the Bettermans, and you're going to want to stick around as long as they'll let you.
Back to more mixed territory, Slashfilm’s Josh Spiegel stamped The Croods: A New Age with a 5 out of 10 score. In Spiegel’s mind, the sequel is just barely better than the various TV shows based on Dreamworks Animation movies, and is ultimately “intensely uninspired,” with only the visuals and Nicolas Cage’s performance being the standouts.
The Croods: A New Age is going through the motions, accomplishing the basic level of work required in pulling off a computer-animated feature.
The AV Club’s Jesse Hassenger bestowed The Croods: A New Age with a B-, saying how on a design level, the movie is “ might be even weirder” than its predecessor, and it unquestionably much sillier, which benefits the vocal performances. That said, A New Age can also come off as derivative of past Dreamworks animated movies at times, and as indicated earlier, adults probably won’t get much out of the story.
That The Croods: A New Age is both entertaining and utterly superfluous does feel like a sort of evolution for DreamWorks Animation: They’ve got nothing left to knock off but themselves.
Finally, Collider’s Drew Taylor awarded The Croods: A New Age with an A- grade, describing the sequel as a “nonstop delight” that boasts great visuals, talented new actors joining the main cast from the first movie and a story that’s not afraid to occasionally set the main narrative aside in favor of showing a series of “big, disconnected, extremely hilarious gags.” So some of you may end like A New Age more than the original Croods.
… To be sure, the film might pack more of a wallop just because it’s such an out-of-left-field joy. In other words, you might walk into Croods: A New Age wondering why they bothered making a sequel. But you’ll walk out of it wondering why it took so long.
The Croods: A New Age sees the eponymous family meeting another family called the Bettermans, who, as their name not-so-subtly hints, believe they are better and more evolved than the clan of cave-people. Along with Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Cloris Leachman, Randy Thom and Chris Sanders all reprising their respective roles, the new voices include Peter Dinklage, Leslie Mann, Kelly Marie Tran and Tara Strong.