One of the few genuine box office hits in the pandemic era, The Croods: A New Age brings its family friendly fun home on Blu-ray this week. Picking up where the original film left off, the Croods, along with Guy (Ryan Reynolds), are still together and seemingly tighter than ever. While searching for place to call their own, they stumble on a new advanced land that holds connections to Guy’s past.
Tended to by Phil (Peter Dinklage) and Hope (Leslie Mann) Bettermans, and their daughter Dawn (Kelly Marie Tran), who was childhood friends with Guy, the land is rich with food and “new” inventions. Wowed by their new surrounding, everyone in the Croods clan, except for patriarch Grug (Nicolas Cage), begins to see a potential future in the Bettermans home. Eep (Emma Stone) immediately forms a bond with Dawn and takes great delight in finally having a gal pal. While the Croods are thinking long term plans, their hosts have more short-term goals in mind.
Feeling that they are far more evolved than their new cave family guests, the Bettermans set in motion a plot to place a wedge between Guy an the Croods. Hoping to convince Guy to stay with them, so he can fall in love with Dawn, the Bettermans systematically try to push Grug and Ugga (Catherine Keener) out of their man-made paradise. Distrusting of the Bettermans, and worried about Eep and Guy potentially leaving the pack, Grug’s act of defiance sets off a chain of events that will force the Croods and the Bettermans to unite against a greater threat.
Staying close to the formula of the original, The Croods: A New Age will delight young viewers but does not offer much for older audiences. While some of the references to modern society, as seen through prehistoric eyes, offer some chuckles, they are not enough to sustain a whole film. The shortcomings in the script become apparent as the sequel stumbles from one plot device to the next. Even key moments of female empowerment never feel as inspired as the film would like it to.
Lacking the family drama to make the comedy resonate or the thrills to make the action sequences pop, The Croods: A New Age meanders from one set piece to the next without any genuine heart. While the film may not live up to its predecessor, the Blu-ray is stacked with extra that will entertain those of all ages. There are two new animated short films – “Dear Diary, World’s First Pranks”, where Eeb and Dawn play pranks on the rest of the clan, and “Family Movie Night: Little Red Bronana Bread”, a play on the classic Little Red Riding Hood tale – that will entertain younger viewers. Older kids will enjoy the “How to Draw: Caveman Style” feature where story artist Heidi Jo Gilbert offers a step-by-step walkthrough of how to draw the characters in the film. Parents will enjoy “Stone Age Snack Attack” which provide recipes to make healthy caveman inspired snacks with the kids. However, it is Taylor Meacham’s short film “To: Gerard” that is the true highlight of the disc. Meacham crafts a magical tale of a mailroom worker who opens a young girl’s eyes to the joy of magic.
Bonus Feature: Dear Diary: World’s First Pranks, Family Movie Night: Little Red Bronana Bread, Gag Reel, To: Gerard, Deleted Scenes, The Croods’ Family Album, The Evolution of…, How to Draw: Caveman Style, Stone Age Snack Attack, Feature Commentary with Director Joel Crawford, Producer Mark Swift, Head of Story Januel Mercado and Editor Jim Ryan