BAXTER — Everything old is new again in “The Croods: A New Age.”
Last year’s family-friendly sequel from DreamWorks Animation to the 2013 family-focused children’s film again features the voices of Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds.
Cage plays Grug, an overprotective caveman struggling to adapt with the changing times while dealing with a daughter who is thinking about leaving the clan with Guy.
Reynolds, as the hunky and forward-thinking Guy, steals the heart of Eep, who is voiced by Stone, much to the consternation of Grug, who believes in keeping the family together.
The Croods are “the world’s first family” claims Eep, who stumbled upon Guy in the original movie and was surprised by another’s existence, particularly an eligible young man.
The family is searching for the perfect place to call home after their cave was destroyed by an earthquake in the previous film, which also costarred Catherine Keener as the matriarch and Cloris Leachman as Gran. “The Croods: A New Age” was Leachman’s final film role.
The Croods and Guy come to a mysterious wall in their search for shelter and sustenance and upon breaking through the human-made barrier discover an abundance of cultivated produce.
They meet the Bettermans — emphasis on the “better” and not-so-subtle description of the husband and his wife — and their daughter Dawn, a childhood friend of the orphaned Guy.
Representing the next step in human evolution, the Bettermans walk upright, wear sandals, live in treehouses, irrigate and farm, and do a number of things that improve their living conditions.
In the sequel, the Croods are joined by new costars Peter Dinklage from HBO’s “Game of Thrones” as Phil Betterman, Leslie Mann of “Blockers” as Hope Betterman and Kelly Marie Tran from “Star Wars: Episode VIII-The Last Jedi” as Dawn.
Dawn and Eep become fast friends, refreshingly, rather than romantic rivals, but Dawn’s parents have other intentions for Guy and soon come to feel the Croods have overstayed their welcome.
There are some surprising and silly social commentary scenes such as Grug’s son Thunk addicted to and spending way too much time in front of a new window that acts as his TV or PC.
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The Bettermans and the Croods must find a way to unite in the face of a new danger that threatens their existence, but can they put their differences aside long enough or die trying?
Taking chances is a theme in the PG-rated film from director Joel Crawford, who has worked on many DreamWorks Animation films, including “Trolls” and the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise.
The animation in “The Croods: A New Age” is vibrant and colorful, and the danger from the wild habitat and creatures presented in the children’s film shouldn’t be too scary for today’s youths.
The Lakes 12 Theatre has been showing the 90-minute sequel almost since it was released theatrically the day after Thanksgiving, a testament perhaps to its enduring popularity.
“The Croods: A New Age” was the highest-grossing American movie during the coronavirus lockdown and had the biggest box-office opening since the pandemic started.
The movie also holds a 77% approval rating among critics and a 95% approval rating among audiences at Rotten Tomatoes, a review-aggregation website for film and television.