In Brief: Taking the “new” and the “age” from The Croods: A New Age and you end up with a sequel that adds nothing new to the genre and that is a sequel formula we’ve seen for ages.
The term new age may be in the title but The Croods: A New Age contains very little that’s new. That’s where “aged” comes into play. This is the same old sequel crap we’ve been seeing for decades. Greedy producers throw something together and capitalize on the financial success of a first film.
In movies, this is the American way.
The first movie was partly developed by comedian John Cleese. He’s a super talented comedian and a master of deadpan comedy. Cleese’s absence from the sequel is glaring.
A New Age is directed by newcomer Joel Crawford and is written by four writers and is based on a story by original writers Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders. Two of the new writers are Kevin and Dan Hageman who helped write The Lego Movie and Hotel Transylvania.
Crawford worked in art departments for the Kung Fu Panda films and The Lego Movie 2.
The original cast returns. Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman and Clark Duke give voice to the Croods. They’re joined by newcomers Leslie Mann, Game of Thrones star, Peter Dinklage and Kelly Marie Tran.
The Croods — looking for new stomping grounds — stumble onto a paradise where food is plenty and it’s safe from predators. It turns out this is the place Guy’s parents wanted him to find. The people running the place are new agey, a bit on the shifty side and they knew Guy’s parents.
Bananas — which Grug had sampled once as a kid — are the key to the movie’s conflict. I’ll leave it at that. Bananas may be important but the movie will likely get more raspberries — as in pflifft — than bananas.
Like a lot of films in 2020, this one is a victim of COVID-19. Crawford and his art crew pack the movie with a gazillion colors and plants and scenery galore. That makes The Croods: A New Age perfect for a 3D version. It might even have been in the original plans of the producers.
And though I haven’t checked — and won’t because I don’t really care — there is the possibility that this film is being shown in 3D in theaters in some markets.
The Croods: A New Age is banking on the success of the original movie. I don’t remember being invited to a screening when it did a debut in 2013. That tells me it probably wasn’t a very good movie.
Friends who saw it loved it so I could be wrong. However, wrong or right, the sequel isn’t close to good. It has the cheesy quality of those old half-hour cartoon shows of antiquity done by Hannah-Barbara. The movie is beautifully done but is totally empty.
It is — however — kid friendly and the real target of the movie is children. Adults will only find The Croods: A New Age appealing if they need a nap.
Director: Joel Crawford
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman, Clark Duke, Leslie Mann, Peter Dinklage, Kelly Marie Tran
Rated PG for mature themes. Bad on an epic scale whether it’s the year 2020 or during the Stone Age. Give The Croods: A New Age a 1 on the Friday Flicks with Gary o to 5 scale.
The Croods: A New Age is streaming on a number of view on demand sources.
Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.