Nic Cage is going to keep on keepin’ on. This man will never stop making movies. His soul will forever dance. I will keep watching him.
Although Cage isn’t the sole focus of the sequel to The Croods, he’s a big part of why it’s not a disaster. Since I’m willing to bet there are a lot of people who don’t remember the original (or never saw it), and are craving any interaction with the medium of film during a pandemic and thus are catching this sequel; it was smart of DreamWorks to include a recap here by default.
But just in case! Basically, The Croods are a prehistoric family that lived in a cave their whole lives; only to eventually discover the splendor of outdoor life. It was…odd and cute: two descriptors that also apply to A New Age. The first act is essentially a series of wacky montages. There’s even an extended sequence where the entire Crood family eats uncontrollably and laughs maniacally, then Nic Cage goes on an extended monologue about how good a banana tastes.
It’s lovely, but then we get to the crux of the sequel, the fish out of water story framework. The Croods are basically the Flintstones to the “Betterman’s” Jetsons: a more advanced family that evolved into flip flops and a more “civilized” society. Guy (Ryan Reynolds), the Crood’s potential son-in-law and beau of the patriarch’s daughter, is basically a Betterman. See what’s building here?
What follows is a very familiar familial tale with some talented vocal performances. Peter Dinklage doesn’t shy away from laying the sarcasm on thick with the holier than thou Betterman leader, while Leslie Mann matches his pride as Mrs. Hope Betterman. Cage, as usual, is brilliant as who I’ve dubbed “Mr. Crood.” He overacts, but it helps add some absurdity to his quick-to-anger character.
There’s a lot of quick barbs with great deliveries, then more montages and crazy gags that usually involve on-screen text. A lot of it straight up doesn’t make sense. The Croods sequel is not at all concerned with continuity or conflict, as it is quick to move on when a new joke would fit in its place. Things are resolved rapidly, even the central conflict that rears up all of a sudden and near the end of the flick. It’s commonplace for family films to adhere to this rapid-fire structure, especially in the last decade or so, but The Croods: A New Age doesn’t consistently sell it. You could do a whole lot worse if you need to pick out something new to watch during the pandemic though; and there are enough loud out loud moments to not label this as a miss.