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The Croods: A New Age – Blu-Ray Review

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The Croods: A New Age – Blu-Ray Review

Rating: A- (Great)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Studios Home Entertainment

The Croods was a very creative and funny animated film that managed to touch on the subject of adapting and accepting the new. It made for a likeable adventure with a wonderful caveman family at its centre. The sequel, The Croods: A New Age, seeks to continue with those concepts, while also bringing some further fresh ideas to the table. Director Joel Crawford successfully follows in Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco’s footsteps and tackles new themes like classism. A lot of the attention here is paid to the relationship between Eep Crood and the modern Guy and the filmmakers cleverly subvert expectations here, especially when another teenage girl Dawn enters the picture.

Grug also gets his own arc here, as we see him interact with Phil Betterman, the patriarch figure in the modern family they encounter. Their scenes together provide some of the biggest laughs in A New Age and there’s also a brilliant running gag where the Crood son Thunk becomes addicted to windows. There are so many creative ideas here. Most involve the contrast between the Croods and the Bettermans, but Crawford also makes great use of the visuals to enhance the story and jokes. The hand-drawn cave paintings were a highlight of the first movie and we get more of those here, beautifully animated by William Salazar. The art direction and characters designs are also eye-catching and the animators give the cavepeople so much energy. It’s just a lot of fun spending time with these people in this unique prehistoric world. Meanwhile, Mark Mothersbaugh nicely expands on Alan Silvestri’s lovely score in the first film and provides some great music of his own.

The images look spectacular on the Blu-Ray, allowing one to appreciate the colourful world of the Croods even more. Everything looks perfect and the detail comes through amazingly. The disc also comes with plenty of worthwhile bonus features. There are three short films included, most notably the original animated short To: Gerard. This is a beautiful film, directed by Taylor Meacham, about a man with a fascination for magic and where it goes is incredibly touching. The other two shorts involve the Croods characters. Dear Diary: World’s First Pranks is an amusing little short done in 2D animation that involves Eep and Dawn discovering pranks and there are some creative visual gags throughout. Family Movie Night: Little Red Bronana Bread is a take on “Little Red Riding Hood” with shadow puppetry. It’s harmless, but nothing too special.

For looks behind the scenes, there is a gag reel, which mostly has the actors in the recording booth trying to get through their lines. It’s mostly interesting to see their multiple takes. There are over twenty minutes worth of deleted scenes, along with introductions by Joel Crawford. All of these scenes are great to see, especially since they give us a glimpse at the storyboards drawn by the talented artists at DreamWorks Animation. Many of the deleted scenes are very funny and they would have made for enjoyable inclusions in the finished film. The Croods: Family Album focuses on the characters and actors and is at its best when showing them recording their lines. The Evolution of…, meanwhile, provides insight on the production of both films and the impressive artistry involved. The audio commentary, featuring Crawford, producer Mark Swift, head of story Januel Mercado and editor Jim Ryan, gives us an excellent overview on the making of A New Age. There are plenty of facts presented and humorous behind-the-scenes tales with nary a pause.

The Blu-Ray even includes a few tutorials. For aspiring artists and character designers, there are detailed explanations for how to draw the Croods characters. You can also learn how to create a homemade photo album and create the snacks featured in the film. The Croods: A New Age is a worthy continuation with a good amount of hilarious sight gags, creative scenarios, imaginative visuals and some worthwhile messages. Through two films and a Netflix series, The Croods has become one of DreamWorks Animation’s most endearing franchises and this Blu-Ray is one sure to receive plenty of spins in the future.

Stefan Ellison