Clark Duke, Kailey Crawford and Cloris Leachman voice Thunk, Sandy and Gran in “The Croods: A New Age”
Remember “The Croods?” It would not be surprising if your answer was “no”.
The Animation of dream jobs the film seemed to hit the radar in 2013 and disappear despite racking up $ 600 million at the global box office. A sequel had been planned after its box office success and Oscar nomination, but it took seven years to materialize.
“The Croods: A New Age” is set to hit theaters on Thanksgiving Day. The film follows the Croods, a prehistoric family voiced by Nicholas Cage (Grug), Emma Stone (Eep), Catherine Keener (Ugga), and Ryan Reynolds (Guy), as they seek a safe place to live. The family discovers a fortified paradise which is already inhabited by another family, called the Bettermans.
The enlightened and evolved Bettermans know Guy, a nomadic character the Croods met in the first film, and spend much of the film trying to push the young man away and pair him with their daughter, Dawn. Peter Dinklage, Leslie Mann and Kelly Marie Tran complete the vocal cast of The Bettermans.
Tensions are mounting between families, but these differences will need to be addressed when a new threat forces them to work together.
“The Croods: A New Age” currently holds a 69% “Fresh” rating from Rotten Tomatoes out of 29 reviews. As more reviews come in, this rating is subject to change.
In the pre-pandemic period, there would be dozens of other reviews present on the assessment site. However, due to social distancing guidelines, screenings of reviews have been rescinded in favor of sending digital links. Additionally, some publications have reduced reviews, which may rely heavily on payment from freelance writers, for budgetary reasons.
Despite a decent review list, many critics wonder if it’s really worth it for audiences to ditch their sofas and head to the big screen to see the movie.
“Will people put on a mask after Thanksgiving turkey and go see one of the few blockbusters released this season?” Brian Tallerico, of RogerEbert.com, asks in his review of the film. “The business story here could grab interesting headlines, especially if it ends up being a financial loser for the company willing to risk opening it in theaters.”
Theater owners hope “The Croods: A New Age” will draw parents and children to the theater despite a continued increase in coronavirus cases and the threat of further cinema closures. But industry analysts aren’t as optimistic that the family title will be a box office savior.
Here’s a look at what critics said about “The Croods: A New Age” ahead of its Thanksgiving debut:
Tallerico described the film as “hyperactive and superficial” in his review published on Monday.
“A decent first half and solid vocal work throughout the second half succumb to the utter chaos and the realization that there is almost no real artistic intention here,” he wrote. “No story, no character, no world building, no design. It’s just bright colors and loud noises.”
Like many critics, Tallerico was quick to point out that “The Croods: A New Age” was retreading on familiar ground covered in the first film. Grug, the father of the prehistoric family, learns that he cannot be too protective of his children and must step out of his comfort zone to survive.
The film “just tells more or less the same story but louder,” he said.
Emma Stone voices Kelly Marie Tran Eep and Dawn Betterman in “The Croods: A New Age”.
David Rooney, a critic for the Hollywood Reporter, also found the story overloaded and repetitive. He blamed the writing staff of brothers Kevin and Dan Hageman, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan and director Joel Crawford for the uninspired plot.
“This committee took characters with limited charm and gave them even less distinction, plugging in an almost identical sequel to their action-packed story so manic and exhausting that it often plays out like a video game,” a- he writes.
A rare bright spot in the film, however, comes from the editorial staff’s decision to reverse the trope of two girls arguing over a man. Eep and Dawn Betterman are presented as likely rivals for Guy’s affections. However, the two girls become friends and bond over their very different life experiences.
Ultimately, that subplot isn’t enough to carry the film, which has an “almost identical concluding message to the first film,” Rooney said.
“Despite the talents of the professional vocal cast (Cage and Stone are once again MVPs) and the attention to detail in CG environments, the film is more often aggressive than engaging, and rarely really funny,” a- he declared.
“’The Croods’ as a concept is always a good concept,” IGN reviewer Matt Fowler wrote in his review of the film.
He praised the voice actors, returning actors and new additions, for their chemistry.
“Cage’s mania pairs perfectly with Stone’s jubilation, and Reynolds is just a gift for action comedy, in general,” Fowler wrote.
For Fowler, the world of the “Croods” is always worth a visit, whether in the cinema or in a few weeks when the film will be available in premium video on demand.
“’The Croods: A New Age’, while at times modestly funny, always crumbles a bit under the weight of the animation sequel,” he wrote.
The prehistoric Crood family is challenged by a rival family, the Bettermans, who claim to be better and more evolved.
“Even if the pandemic wasn’t a thing, this second ‘Croods’ would be a puzzle,” Josh Spiegel writes of the film in his review for Slashfilm. “Aside from its decent success, the original film is arguably sufficiently forgotten that the second film has to open with one of its characters catching up with us in the story.”
Spiegel said the film is a reminder of how recently Dreamworks Animation has become a competitive threat against from disney animation groups Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Animation. He said that “The Croods: A New Age” did not feel “inspired” by movie franchises such as “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Kung-Fu Panda”, which were praised for their quality. animation and their emotional resonance.
“The story is quite routine, a mixture of the older ‘Flintstones’–esque clichés to fill a feature film, “Spiegel wrote.” Will Eep and Guy reconcile? Or will Guy be influenced by the Bettermans to change his whole personality? Will Grug learn to live with the Bettermans? Contain your lack of surprise at the answers. “
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Dreamworks Animation and Rotten Tomatoes.