The idea that the collective is stronger than the individual underpins The Croods 2: A New Age. This is of course the sequel to the successful animated film The Croods (2013).
The story picks up when young Guy (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) is left to fend for himself. His loved ones’ last words to him are to go off and “find his tomorrow”. Convinced it is a place, he travels far and wide for a long, long time. Along the way he falls for cave girl Eep (Emma Stone) and is introduced to her family. While the rest of the clan is keen on him, dad Grug (Nicolas Cage) isn’t sold as quickly, although gradually even he warms to Guy. So much so, that they collectively search for “tomorrow”, sleeping as a pack, all rolled together on top of, and entwined in, one another. They chance on a fertile walled farm, where Guy comes face-to-face with old family friends, the Bettermans, who have a daughter Dawn (Kelly Marie Tran), who is the same age as Guy. The Bettermans’ practices are more sophisticated. They’re a couple of steps above the Croods on the evolutionary ladder. And that’s when everything changes.
The Croods are used to hunting for their food. The Bettermans are surrounded by a veritable cornucopia of delicious treats. Their farm presents as a Garden of Eden. Daddy Betterman Phil’s (Peter Dinklage) only rule is not to eat the abundance of bananas. Why becomes clear later in the film and leads to more than a few hairy moments. And then there’s the issue of the Bettermans wanting to pair up their daughter with Guy, sidelining Eep in the process. That leads to more trouble in paradise.
Fun, colourful and kooky, The Croods 2: A New Age is a kids’ charmer. In fact, it becomes more off-the-wall as it progresses. The richness of the animation – like a multi-coloured lollipop – makes it a big winner. Bouncy popular songs give it even more fizz. And it never takes itself too seriously, with good humour a driving force.
The characters have distinct, relatable characteristics and are voiced by some of the biggest names in the movie business. I particularly appreciated the way the father and daughter were drawn.
It doesn’t matter whether you saw the original – this is a stand-alone story. The filmmakers (first-time feature film director Joel Crawford and a team of four writers) have done a fine job playing to their target audience.
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Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.