The Croods are back and they’re up against all sorts of odds, with the most problematic being teenage love. Picking up shortly after the events of the first movie, the loveable cave-clan find themselves in a new world (which looks a whole lot like a tropical oasis) where they are challenged by a more sophisticated family.

With a seven-year gap between films, the sequel fortunately provides a recap of previous events, which is also enough to bring newcomers up to speed. The original voice cast returns – including Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke and Cloris Leachman – and are joined by newcomers Leslie Mann, Kelly Marie Tran and Peter Dinklage. It’s a wonderful assortment of talent, with each player putting their own unique stamp on the story and characters.

The Croods was a whole lot of fun, and its setting in an alternative reality – where fantasy interweaves with the landscapes – was a refreshing point of difference to similarly themed movies. And the good news is that A New Age is even better, building on the established template with sharper wit and animated marvels.

From the hilarious opening recap to the explosive final act showdown, the movie barrels along at a hyperactive pace and not a moment is wasted onscreen. The newcomers add considerable charisma to the established cast dynamic, with Dinklage providing a particularly hilarious performance as the manipulative New Age hippie-type whose tranquil existence conceals a sinister secret.

Parents should note that there are a few moderately scary moments throughout the film, which might require open arms for some little ‘uns to hide in, but these scenes are never without a quirky and padded outcome and shouldn’t prove too problematic. Moreover, the assortment of mythical creatures and silly antics provides a quick and easy distraction.

Astute film geeks may want to pay attention, too, as the movie is chock full of nuances and in-jokes, such as a cheeky reference to the fact that the original movie began life as an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Twits.

Ultimately, The Croods: A New Age is the perfect fun-filled family flick for the annual Boxing Day pilgrimage to the cinema.

In cinemas: December 26, 2020
Starring the voices of: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds
Directed by: Joel Crawford

The Croods at JB Hi-Fi