Sunday, 27 December 2020

Film Review: "The Croods: A New Age" (2020).

"The future ain't what it used to be" in The Croods: A New Age. This computer-animated adventure comedy film directed by Joel Crawford, his feature directorial debut, written by Dan and Kevin Hageman, Paul Fisher, and Bob Logan, and produced by DreamWorks Animation. It is the sequel to The Croods (2013). Searching for a safer habitat, the prehistoric Crood family discovers an idyllic, walled-in paradise that meets all of its needs. Unfortunately, they must also learn to live with the Bettermans -- a family that's a couple of steps above the Croods on the evolutionary ladder. As tensions between the new neighbors start to rise, a new threat soon propels both clans on an epic adventure that forces them to embrace their differences, draw strength from one another, and survive together.

In April 2013, DreamWorks Animation announced the sequel with original directors and writers Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco set to return to helm the sequel. In mid June 2014, it was announced the film was set for a November 3, 2017 release date. However, in late August, the film was delayed to December 22, 2017. However, in early August 2016, nearing Comcast's impending acquisition of DreamWorks Animation, 20th Century Fox removed the film from the release schedule. The film would be instead released by Universal Pictures sometime in 2018. Later that month, it was reported that Kevin and Dan Hageman were hired to rewrite the script. In early November, DreamWorks announced that production for the sequel was cancelled. However, in September 2017, DreamWorks and Universal revealed that the film was back in production with a September 18, 2020 release date. It was also revealed that both DeMicco and Sanders would not be returning. In October 2017, it was reported that Crawford would replace both DeMicco and Sanders as director. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, production of the film shifted to employees working at home.

The film features the voice talents of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Cloris Leachman, repairing their roles, with Peter Dinklage, Leslie Mann and Kelly Marie Tran. The original cast are all very good in their respective roles, but it is the supporting characters that really make the film a cut above most family fare. The characters are charming, the animation really is spectacularly smooth and expressive, and the Looney Tunes-style humor and pop-culture in-jokes are as inventive and hilarious as before.

The film actually tells a creative story and doesn't just make fun of the fairytale genre but subverts it in some clever ways. The animation by which it stands or falls is as brilliant as ever and, though it wouldn't really be right to call it totally anti-Disney, it certainly trumps that institution for sharpness of focus, notably as far as the screenplay is concerned. Don't get me wrong. I'm not sulking. I liked the film. Honest. Kids will like the film. Most mums and dads will like the film. My problem is this: I didn't love it the way I loved the first one.

Simon says The Croods: A New Age receives:

Also, see my review for The Croods and Trolls World Tour.

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