The Croods: A New Age (2020)
A fun and re-watchable sequel
I put off watching The Croods: A New Age (The Croods 2) for a long time. It just didn’t seem worth it when there were so many other things to watch or read. But for some reason, the movie just kept living on. Four months after its November 2020 release and it’s still (as of right now) one of the top five earners in North America. So I figured there must be something to this movie that I’m missing out on. And sure enough, after watching The Croods 2, I can honestly say that it’s a really fun movie. More than that, it definitely has the re-watchable factor to it.
The Croods 2 re-introduces us to the Crood family and Guy. They are exhausted and hungry from having to constantly evade dangerous situations when they discover a walled-in paradise. Built by the Bettermans, this new place is safe, comfortable and has plenty to eat. However, the Croods have difficulty adjusting to the new environment as the Bettermans seem more evolved in every way. The Bettermans are trying to get rid of the Croods but keep Guy – who they knew as a child. A new threat forces the two families to put aside their differences and work together.
I barely remember anything from the first Croods movie. I knew I had fun watching it but the details are vague. Despite that, The Croods 2 is still enjoyable. I found that I was immediately engaged with this sequel even though I was going into it with very little memory of its predecessor.
What I liked
Every time I finish an enjoyable movie, I reflect on its three-act structure. For me, the Setup, Confrontation and Resolution are the foundation of any good movie. When there’s a good three-act structure, the genre, movie rating and production quality become almost irrelevant. Its foundation is strong enough to withstand any other lackluster elements. I’m glad to say that The Croods 2 has a really good three-act structure.
In fact, The Croods 2 seems to have taken a page out of Pixar’s playbook in this regard. The studio, particularly in the last decade, has made a very conscious effort to master its three-act structure. And like Pixar movies, The Croods 2 has paid particular attention to the Confrontation element of its story. Too often movies are not rewatchable because its Confrontation is too intense for its narrative. The Croods 2 uses a masterfully light touch in this regard.
The Croods and the Bettermans are each looking out for their own best interests without wanting to hurt anyone else. There are no good guys and bad guys here. Just different and competing perspectives of the same scenario. Even the external ‘big bad’ in the third act ultimately boils down to a resolvable mistake. The Croods 2 lets you enjoy the movie without taking sides.
What I didn’t like
For some reason, Dreamworks animated movies tend to feel a bit empty. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes them feel empty. It could be all the pop culture references, the Top 40 song inclusions or the many overtly gimmicky characters. It’s as if the studio feels the need to dumb down its material for its audience. Sadly, The Croods 2 has a bit of that emptiness to it. Don’t get me wrong – it’s definitely one of Dreamworks better movies. But it doesn’t lean into its potential the way Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon did.
The Croods 2 is definitely not some great masterpiece. It has that unfortunate ‘creativity by committee‘ vibe that too many Dreamworks movies have. That said, The Croods 2 is a very enjoyable movie. It hits enough of the right notes, with just the right touch that you’ll want to see it again. If you’re looking for a fun movie with a little heart to it, The Croods 2 is for you.
Source: Dreamworks Animation (2020)