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Review: Exceptional Sequel 'The Croods: A New Age' Explores A Better World

by Michael  Cox
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Mar 2, 2021
Review: Exceptional Sequel 'The Croods: A New Age' Explores A Better World

Before you discount this latest feature installment of "The Croods" franchise as "just another sequel," you should take a sober look at this outlandish human-origins comedy. If your children are obsessed with dinosaurs, as so many are, and if they can name each species - distinguishing subtle differences in bone structure, habitat and diet - this movie will set their education back, at least, to the Upper Paleolithic age. If, however, they can be as mindless as we adults are, turn off their brains, and indulge in non-stop, silly fun (not to mention mind-boggling visuals), "The Croods: A New Age" will be a delight for the whole family.

The earlier film's premise continues: This is a comedy of manners between early homo sapiens and those displaying behavioral modernity. Only this time, the Crood family faces not just one modern man, Guy (Ryan Reynolds), but a whole family of them.

A better world is on the horizon for Grug Crood (Nicolas Cage) and his hopelessly primitive family when he stumbles upon an advanced human civilization created by the elegant and over-protective Guy Betterman (Peter Dinklage) and his wife Hope (Leslie Mann). The cruel and savage world has somehow been tamed, thanks to the use of agriculture and irrigation. But why would these people open their doors to the Croods? It turns out that they are old friends of Guy's former parents, and knew him when he was a small child.

Each family is trying to survive in a harsh and dangerous world, but each has an agenda: The Croods want to maintain and support the pack, and the Bettermans prefer to wall themselves off from the nature and promote privacy.

While the Bettermans set out to ditch the Croods and keep Guy as their own, considering him the perfect mate for their daughter Dawn (Kelly Marie Tran), the Croods must contemplate their devotion to Guy, and Guy must evaluate his commitment to his girlfriend Eep (Emma Stone), balancing his attraction to her against the comforts of civilization.

But no one will be able to whine about these modern world problems for long when a tribe of punch monkeys invade. This even more primitive society may be further down on the evolutionary ladder, but they are evolving quickly.

Turns out that in this situation, the men are hopelessly inept and the women, led by Gran (Cloris Leachman) and Ugga (Catherine Keener) and harkening back to an ancient matriarchy called the Thunder Sisters, will need to save the day.

The hyper-saturated, mega-chromatic world in which this movie takes place would make a tropical flower hang its head in shame, and the animators fairly indulge in their detailing; from leaves, to water, to hair the realism is surreal. This wouldn't be such a big deal if not for the splendor of 4K Ultra HD. Can you remember the stone age, when content in standard definition played on your home media? With deeper blacks and colors you've never before seen on television, this evolved Blu-ray experience is a game changer.

And unlike CGI films that are beautifully animated but merely "okay" content-wise, the incredible voice actors in this movie set it above the rest. Dinklage, Cage, Reynolds, Stone, and Tran bring their digital characters to life with sparkling chemistry, and Leachman is flat-out funny in all of her outrageousness.

In addition to the feature, this Blu-ray Combo Pack includes a delightful short film called "To: Gerard." Other special features include two all-new exclusive short films, deleted scenes, and a featurette on how to draw caveman style.

"The Croods: A New Age" is now available on 4K Ultra HD, as well as Blu-ray and DVD.

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