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Review: 'The Croods: A New Age' offers a familiar, needed message of unity

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(clockwise, from top left) Sandy Crood (Kailey Crawford), Grug Crood (Nicolas Cage), Thunk Crood (Clark Duke), Gran (Cloris Leachman), Eep Crood (Emma Stone) and Ugga Crood (Catherine Keener) in DreamWorks Animation's The Croods: A New Age, directed by Joel Crawford. (Photo: DreamWorks Animation)

The Croods: A New Age
3 out of 5 Stars
Director: Joel Crawford
Writer: Kevin Hageman, Dan Hagman, Paul Fisher, Bob Logam, Kirk DeMicco, Chris Sanders
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds
Genre: Animated, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG for peril, action and rude humor.

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SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) –Synopsis: Having set out to explore the world beyond their cave, the Croods discover the edge of the world. And walk through it only to discover a lush world cultivated by the Bettermans, an evolved family.

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Review: Yes, it took 7 years for the sequel to 2013’s “The Croods” to make its way to theaters. It took twice as long for Pixar to release a sequel to “The Incredibles.” Despite what you might believe, Hollywood is not a fine oiled machine. It is a business constantly trying to fly off its rails. It is a quiet miracle that any film gets made.

I’m of (at least) two minds when it comes to “The Croods: A New Age.” I wasn’t a huge fan of the original but must admit that I enjoyed it more than I expected to. It was a familiar story that relied on the same family dynamics that we’ve seen in numerous films and sitcoms. “A New Age” is similar in that it doesn’t break any new ground as it explores a version of the social structure that exists outside our window. I crave originality. Sometimes audiences need more of the same.

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The Croods are simple people. Patriarch Grug (Nicolas Cage) is quick to reject the modern world. Ugga (Catherine Keener) is more dazzled by technological innovation. The Bettermans, Phil (Peter Dinklage) and Hope (Leslie Mann), see themselves as more complex and look down their noses at the “primitives” until they realize they aren’t as prepared to take on world beyond their carefully constructed walls.

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While the adults deal with the social structure, the teens find themselves anxiously navigating a love triangle as both Eep Crood (Emma Stone) and Dawn Betterman (Kelly Marie Tran) come to realize that Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is the only eligible bachelor in the entire world. Eep’s brother Thunk (Clark Duke) doesn’t count for a variety of reasons including his immaturity.

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Eep wants Dawn to be a friend but sees her as a threat. How she can compete with the refined charms of Dawn? Her confidence is stolen away and replaced by insecurity. And yet, Eep soon realizes that she and Dawn aren’t all that different.

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None of this is particularly new, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant. “The Croods: A New Age” isn’t innovative, but it is timely as it explores what it means to be a family and how the outside world can affect the way we interact with each other. It reminds us that it takes all types to survive and the sooner we figure that out and work together the better our chances are at surviving.



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