Movie #69 2021: The Croods: A New Age (2020)

Seeing as there were some extremely brilliant animated films last year, I was surprised to see that the sequel to The Croods had been nominated at the Golden Globes. After watching the first movie and being sorely underwhelmed by it, I thought to myself “this sequel surely can’t be good enough to be nominated for a major award.” Let’s see if I was right…

The Croods: A New Age pretty much follows on from the first film, beginning with a short recap of what you may have missed if you skipped the initial story. (Side note: the recap tells the entire story in less than two minutes, which proves my point that there was very little in the way of a comprehensive narrative in the first Croods movie.) In this sophomore effort, we see the caveman family stumble upon a protected paradise whilst in search of a safer place to live. Inside this oasis are the Bettermans; a family of humans who are a little bit more… well-developed than the Croods. After initially not being impressed by each other, the families must learn to live and work together in an attempt to create a more peaceful and better life for them all. Oh… and they must defeat some killer monkeys along the way.

Look, I can admit being wrong about films sometimes because… this was a lot better than the previous movie! Let me tell you why you should judge this book by its cover.

Firstly, there was actually some semblance of a coherent plot this time round. It gave us new characters, villains, better humour… even a few running gags! There are certainly better twists and things actually happen in the sequel, plus the jokes are more consistent, actually funny and much less cliched. A marked improvement in the scriptwriting department, that’s for sure.

Building on the upgrades made by the writers, the audio is much more pleasant too. What right does this animated sequel even have to contain such a brilliant soundtrack?! The Haim original song paired with “The Thunder Sisters” sequence is a highlight of the film, and the rest of the popular music choices were excellent too. (Spandau Ballet and Tenacious D make an appearance audibly, for instance.) Here’s the Haim song, in case you were wondering, which is almost a mash up of Aaron Carter and AC/DC, with a hint of Sleater-Kinney thrown in for good measure:

What a banger.

Not only are the story and the music better in A New Age, but the animation benefited from a major overhaul too. Much less clunky, much more vibrant, and the hair – which is always make or break for me in animated films – was amazing. When people say ‘the sequel is never as good, except for when it’s The Godfather”, they will now be saying “…except for when it’s The Godfather or The Croods.” Okay, maybe that’s a little bit dramatic but the sentiment still stands.

I’m not saying this is the best animated film you’ll ever see (that’s still Coco) but this was ten times more fun than its predecessor, in case you hadn’t picked up on that by now. I’m so glad the legendary Cloris Leachman was still with us to lend her voice to it to be honest because it redeemed her involvement in the first one.

Not that I want one, but now I won’t be so mad if they make The Croods a trilogy.

The Croods: A New Age is due to be released in UK cinemas on March 26th. This will likely change due to government COVID restrictions.

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