Who knew the saga of The Croods was so … fraught. Look, I’ll be honest here, I had little to zero working knowledge of The Croods backstory before Universal sent me a screener of the new sequel, The Croods: A New Age. If you had asked me when the original The Croods came out I would have guessed 2017. But, no, it was way back in 2013, somehow. And that movie made over half a billion dollars. This sequel was supposed to come out in 2017 with the original directors, Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders (who is one half of the How To Train Your Dragon directors), but obviously did not and DeMicco and Sanders left the project. Now, seven years after the original, right smack in the middle of the worst time in history to release a movie, The Croods: A New Age, directed by Joel Crawford, is upon us. Reading between the lines here, it sounds like there are people walking the earth today who hear the words “The Croods” and respond, “I’m just not ready to talk about that yet.”
Also, the release strategy with this movie is pretty interesting: It will play in theaters over Thanksgiving weekend (if you look around at how the pandemic is very much out of control right now, you should probably not – beyond drive-in theaters or renting out a theater of your own – risk your life to see The Croods: A New Age in a movie theater; and if you want to spend the money to rent out a full theater to watch The Croods: A New Age, well that is between you and your god) and then on December 18th it will be available for streaming (if you want to see this movie, this should be your course of action).
Honestly, it’s hard to make heads or tails out of all these different release strategies, which seems to tell us that no one quite has this figured out. The Croods: A New Age gets a three-week run in theaters, while Wonder Woman 1984 will be on HBO Max, with no extra charge, the same day it hits theaters. Sure, the latter is to boost HBO Max subscriptions (over the last few months, I’ve probably used HBO Max more than any other streaming service, so I get why they probably want to promote it more, thinking, hey, we’ve got a good thing here), but why doesn’t Universal to the same thing with Peacock? (Speaking of Peacock, a few days ago I tried watching Mad Dog and Glory on their premium service and it still had commercial interruptions. It was so maddening I wound up renting it on iTunes instead. This seems like a bad way to run a streaming platform.)
Oh, right, The Croods: A New Age. Like I said, I knew very little about The Croods mythology before watching this movie. I had never seen the first one, but, I guess not surprisingly, I caught on pretty quickly and got the gist. They are cave people (voiced in part by Nic Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, and Catherine Keener), who have the intelligence of people today, but haven’t set up a Flintstones-style community with foot-powered cars, or jobs down at the gravel pit, or having an alien friend named The Great Gazoo.
In this adventure, the gang stumbles upon a utopia of food and safety, run by a guy named Phil (Peter Dinklage), his wife, Hope (Leslie Mann), and their daughter, Dawn (Kelly Marie Tran). Everything seems fine and dandy, except the one rule about not eating any bananas and Nic Cage’s Grug really wants a banana. Hijinks ensue! Whatever! I actually found myself enjoying this movie even though I didn’t think that would be remotely possible. What a world.
Again, it should be noted, “I actually found myself enjoying this movie” is not an endorsement for, “and I think it’s worth risking your life to see it in theaters.” Please do not do that. Wait until mid-December and, if you have kids, they will probably love this because it’s very colorful … and even I found myself mesmerized by how colorful it is. A cornucopia of colors! (I guess that’s my pull quote.)
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