Along with the sequel to Sharkboy and Lavagirl, I saw The Croods: A New Age 3 times this past holiday. Three times! This is mostly because it’s on VOD right now and only available to rent—for now. But you would think that I would be sick of the movie by now, right? Well, actually, no, since I really liked the original Croods, and I like this one even more.
Granted, I didn’t watch this movie 3 times for my own health. No, it was because my kids wanted to see it 3 times. But each time I watched The Croods: A New Age, I caught more and more reasons of why this sequel is the perfect follow-up to the 2013 original. There will of course be some spoilers up ahead, so keep that in mind. And if you haven’t seen it yet, you can currently stream it on pretty much every rental platform, including YouTube, Amazon, Vudu, and Google Play. Now, let’s venture off into tomorrow.
The Sequel Expands Upon The World Of The Croods Astronomically
Remember in the first movie when The Croods (and Guy, voiced by Ryan Reynolds) experienced that earthquake and then found themselves in that tropical forest? Well, the sequel has an even bigger expansion of the world once the Croods and Guy find a giant wall, which actually has more advanced people living behind it (known as the Bettermans, and yes, they spell out the joke so that even kids can get it). The Bettermans are like Guy, who seemed like an anomaly in the first movie. This is because Guy is actually a member of this tribe, and the Bettermans knew Guy’s parents. This expands upon the world astronomically because it shows that this world really is much more vast outside of the cave than the Croods originally thought.
So much so that the Bettermans even have modern technology like an elevator, so evolution may be at play here. The question is, though, who is more evolved?: The people who have developed advanced technology but have to appease a group of monkeys with bananas just so they’re not eaten, or the Croods who can survive nomadically? This movie tries (and mostly succeeds) to answer that question.
Grug Has Grown To Accept Guy As A Member Of The Family, Showing Huge Character Growth
Nicolas Cage returns as Grug, the patriarchal figure of the Crood family. And like any dad, he’s not really happy about a boy making moon eyes at his daughter, Eep, who is voiced by Emma Stone. That said, Grug begrudgingly accepts Guy into the family to the extent that he even lets him stay with them as they journey to find another home. This shows huge growth for his character, because if you remember, Grug wanted to pound Guy’s face in the first movie. So the fact that he lets Guy stay and flirt with his daughter really does say a lot about how much Grug has changed since the first movie.
And that’s just in the beginning of the sequel. Throughout the rest of the film, Grug begins to dislike Guy even more once Guy starts to relate more with the Bettermans. But of course things make a turnaround, and Guy himself realizes that he hasn’t been the best boyfriend to Eep, as he calls her a “cave girl” as a defamatory term about midway through the film. In the end, though, once Guy sees the error of his ways, Grug gives him permission to date his teenage daughter, which I guess makes him a better man than me. My daughter’s not dating anybody until she’s 40.
There Is More Is At Stake This Time Around Than Ever Before
There is a lot of external conflict in the first Croods movie, making for a lot of broad comedy. And while there’s plenty of that here, too (including a pretty cool scene toward the end similar to the one in Avengers: Endgame when the women lead the charge), there’s actually a lot more internal conflict in this one as well, raising the stakes substantially on an emotional level.
There’s Grug himself, who often feels slighted and belittled by the Bettermans’ way of life. Then there’s Eep who is struggling to understand why Guy is turning away from her, since she doesn’t comprehend what it means to be “a cave girl.” That’s all she’s ever known, and it’s kind of throwing her for a loop. And then finally there’s Guy, who’s trying to make sense of who he was before he met the Croods. So, even though there’s all kinds of physical comedy in the sequel, the best stuff is all the emotional stakes involved, making this a much more compelling, personal film than the original.
We Get to Learn About Guy's Backstory
As mentioned earlier, Guy kind of sticks out in the first movie since he’s the straight man out of the bunch. This is quite strange since there really isn’t a main protagonist in the first movie at all. Because think about it. Is Grug the main character? I mean, he learns to let go of his fear of his daughter’s curiosity, so he has the most growth in the film. But then you have Eep, who better learns to appreciate her father and her family in general. So, I’m not really sure who the main character is in the original, because saying it’s Grug would be like saying that King Triton is the main character in The Little Mermaid, which obviously isn’t true. But I wouldn’t exactly say that Eep grows as much as Ariel does in that movie, either. So, I don’t know.
But I would say that Guy is definitely the main protagonist in the sequel as he has the biggest character growth. We also learn a lot more about his backstory because of where he originally came from, and how that must have impacted his life psychologically when he had to go out on his own and meet these drastically different people. And whew. I just realized that I’m thinking way more into this kids’ movie than I probably should be, but again, that’s what happens when you watch a movie multiple times. I’ll only watch Tenet once, but I’ve seen The Croods: A New Age three times already and probably put a lot more thought into it than I did with Tenet. I just find that comical.
It Has A Great Message For More Grown Up Children About Embracing People Who Might Seem Different
And last but not least, I really love the message of this movie. In the first film, I guess the message was to not stay in your comfort zone. And I only got that message when assuming that Grug was the main character, who again, I’m not quite sure if he was. But in the sequel, the theme of the film is clear—don’t judge a book by its cover. Yes, it’s a familiar theme and one that you find in plenty of stories. But for a kids’ film, it’s a worthy message and I’m happy that my kids, who are 4 and 5, could even understand it.
Because you see, by the end of the film, the Croods can respect the Bettermans’ way of life, and the Bettermans’ can see how woefully unprepared they were for genuine conflict. So, in the end, the two families work together to rescue one another. And I like how this film is clear with its message. Not every theme is as cut and dry as it is in this movie.
In the end, The Croods: A New Age is a natural progression of the story, and one that works really well. But what do you think? Did you get to watch the sequel yet? Sound off in the poll or the comments section down below if you liked the original movie or its sequel better. Ooga booga.
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.