THE CROODS: A NEW AGE (2020) is the sequel to 2013’s THE CROODS which centered on a family of Neanderthals trying to survive in a cold and barren world. This time around the film focuses on his now teenage daughter Eep’s (Emma Stone) romance with Guy (Ryan Reynolds), and her dad Grug’s (Nicolas Cage) worrying thoughts that he might lose her as the two look to starting their own clan.
Luckily for those that can’t remember the ending of the previous film (ahem..me!), THE CROODS: A NEW AGE picks up pretty much exactly where the first film ended and this fun prehistoric family, which also includes Catherine Keener reprising her role as Ugga, Gran (Cloris Leachman) and younger brother Thunk (Clark Duke) who are going all out in fending off insane creatures and attempting to survive one catastrophe after another.
Everything changes when they break down a wall and stumble upon a valley paradise that has food aplenty. Much to everyone’s surprise this utopia valley is occupied by another family – the Betterman’s – Phil (Peter Dinklage), Hope (Leslie Mann) and Dawn (Kelly Marie Tran), who live in a simply amazing and vastly huge treehouse complete with toilets an elevator and a ‘picture screen’. As it turns out, the Betterman’s knew Guy’s family as they all grew up together and they welcome him home with open arms. All the while having a eye out for him getting into a relationship with Dawn and not even attempting to acknowledge the possibility of him and Eep. This is all done with a bit of arrogance as they are keeping the rest of the family at arm’s length and giving subtle hints with a ‘moving basket’ of food for the road while wanting Guy to stay back with them and all their creature comforts. This immediately creates a rift of which ensues some cute fun moments with a cast of characters that include punch monkeys and the inevitable ‘monster.’ But the biggest question posed for Guy is a toss-up between what he ‘should do’ or what ‘he wants to do’ as this decision will affect them all.
While the clan faces all kinds of perilous moments, most of them are over-the-top and slapstick fun as things like fending off wild beasts is just another day in this family’s life. The movie is sure to be a nonstop delight for kids as there isn’t the usual frenetic pacing and pop culture references that go over most kids (as well as some adults) heads. It’s full of bright, colorful visuals with a storyline where there are clear themes of courage, teamwork, and the importance of being yourself. There are also some great “girl power” moments when Eep and the other female characters become the Thunder Girls and have to rescue the captive guys.
All in all, this is a cute, decent holiday watch that while not be for all the adults in the room – it is for the kids and that’s how it really should be.