Genre: CG Animation
Director: Joel Crawford
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman, Clark Duke, Leslie Mann, Peter Dinklage, Kelly Marie Tran
Runtime: 1 hr 36 mins
Released By: UIP
Opening Day: 26 November 2020
Synopsis: The Croods have survived their fair share of dangers and disasters, from fanged prehistoric beasts to surviving the end of the world, but now they will face their biggest challenge of all: another family The Croods need a new place to live. So, the first prehistoric family sets off into the world in search of a safer place to call home. When they discover an idyllic walled-in paradise that meets all their needs, they think their problems are solved … except for one thing. Another family already lives there: the Bettermans. The Bettermans (emphasis on the “better”)—with their elaborate tree house, amazing inventions and irrigated acres of fresh produce—are a couple of steps above the Croods on the evolutionary ladder. When they take the Croods in as the world’s first houseguests, it isn’t long before tensions escalate between the cave family and the modern family. Just when all seems lost, a new threat will propel both families on an epic adventure outside the safety of the wall, one that will force them to embrace their differences, draw strength from each other and forge a future together.
Want to introduce your kids to Cage rage? This sequel to The Croods (2013) might do the trick. If you have hung around the Internet for a while, you would be familiar with the meme where Nicolas Cage looks at you in an over the top and grimacing way – complete with a pair of intimidating bulging eyes.
In this animated sequel, Cage returns as the voice of Grug Crood, the overprotective father figure of the titular cave family. He is still as stubborn as ever, and with his teenage daughter (Emma Stone) starting to express more and more romantic feelings towards a teenage cave boy (Ryan Reynolds), it is no wonder he is agitated and throwing anger fits. Cue the Cage rage in animated form.
Grug’s trouble doesn’t end there. His family meets the Bettermans (you can’t get any clearer than this to show the contrast between old and new), and their lifestyle seems to be much more evolved than the Croods’ traditional ways. The Bettermans live in a beautiful paradise surrounded by a wall, wear tailor fitted fancy outfits, put on slippers before they head outdoors, and use efficient items like showerheads and elevators. For relaxation, there is a man cave where guys can enjoy a good sauna. Ladies can choose to pick flowers in a vast field. These are not agreeable with Grug’s way of life, and he is determined to get his family away as soon as possible.
The 96 minute movie moves at a breezy pace to make sure everyone in the family will be entertained. There are sight gags which involve screaming and adorable critters. There are jibes at our modern lifestyles (Grug’s son is obsessed with viewing things from a ‘window’), and there are messages for viewers to take away. The visuals are a treat to the eyes, especially when we are introduced to the Bettermans’ world. Bright colours and beautiful sceneries fill the screen, and there isn’t a dull moment in the movie. The animal characters are merchandise friendly. The filmmakers to the creative liberty to animate prehistoric creatures that are cute to a fault (even the villainous monkeys look irresistibly huggable).
Besides Cage, Stone and Reynolds, the voice ensemble cast also includes other familiar names like Catherine Keener, Peter Dinklage, Leslie Mann and Kelly Marie Tran). The actors sound like they had an enjoyable recording their parts. Look out for an outrageous sequence where the female characters take on macho personalities collectively as The Thunder Sisters, while Cage and Dinklage’s brothers become a duo affectionately known as The Banana Bros. This is the kind of humour you can expect from this entertaining movie.
It has been seven years since the release of the first movie. Director Joel Crawford faces the challenge of making the audience remember what the Croods are about. It doesn’t matter actually, because this sequel stands well on its own. Viewers just need to know that they will be in for a fun time, as older ones get an idea of what a milder, more family friendly version of Cage rage is like.
(Whether you are young or old, this family-friendly fare has something to keep you entertained)
Review by John Li