Great Voice Acting
Decent Character Usage that is balanced
Humorous and Fun without going too far down stupid
Perhaps a little more time to really amplify all character arcs
The action scene at the end could have been a little longer
The political times a little more prominent at the end for the finish
Like Disney, DreamWorks is not shy to really bring animation A game to their movies, and this film is no exception. The Croods may not look the most realistic or revolutionary, but dang do they still move fluidly during the adventure of facing the elements of the wild, primitive stone age. Much like the first installment, the design of the world is beautiful, vivid colors filling much of the landscape that energizes the audience members, but not being afraid to fall into dark, drabber color and shadows to make foreboding landscapes meant to scare our "heroes" away. The whole design of the world maintains its cleverness as well, fusing various beasts together into forms that are humorous, fun, functional, and deadly all at the same time. As we reach the modern age, the clever devolution of our technology is hysterical to watch, not only in how it fits in the stone age's devices, but more so how the characters react to it in a sort of poke to our own traditions. This ingenuity is used well on multiple facets of this movie as story, design, and humor all maintain creative execution of the writer's talents. And yet that is not all this movie has to offer.
As I said earlier, animated features have a great potential to span all horizons, and the Croods takes that potential and balances it well. A deeper story lies beneath the comedic antics as themes of growing up, letting go, elitism, and several other themes are all addressed in the writing of this film. While not every character gets the same amount of growth, Crawford and his team managed to involve many people in uncovering the desires, truth, and weaknesses that were still present at the end of the first film. It takes the growth and continues to push helping our characters push to evolve into something more without taking too many steps back. That deeper side comes from good voice acting, the ensemble once more pulling their voices to match the emotions of the scene and characters without overstepping the boundaries too much. And even better is that so many of the characters have adequate time in the story and serve their purposes across the board, though some of the pets and accessories could have had some more time. Assuming they understood the importance of all their pieces, I was impressed to see the characters remain integrated, and not just included for the sake of being included a site that as I stated in the past is difficult to achieve.
Yet if you are worried all this multitiered approaches and deeper meaning make the movie less fun, you have nothing to worry about. Croods is still the same fun adventure that we saw back in the day, a blend of kid savvy stupidity that will bring out laughs, while also being just a fun vacation from reality with jokes that parents will get. Though it does still go a little far for my tastes, the movie just has that positivity that I always like to see, even at the darker parts, that make going to the movies the added flavor it needed. And as for the music, again, another piece to the puzzle that adds that tiny something that you did not realize you needed. Though no amazing chart topper or moving symphony piece, Croods 2 soundtrack is all about bringing out that same flair of fun that much of the movie is about, and using some other tricks for the more serious moments thereby adding to the scenes.
Finding dislikes was hard and perhaps a bit picky when it comes to most audience members going to see the movie, but nevertheless here we go. The first part is that though they did a nice job with keeping balance and the pieces moving, there was more room to dive into the character's story. Guy's parents and the adventures they had to connect to Dawn would have been nice, or perhaps more into Eep and the Betterman's personal interactions the way we saw Guy's integration would have been preferred for the full effect. Even without adding new content, a few of the impasses could have used a bit more development to fully maximize the moments. In addition, the awesome opening action scenes that were dynamic and fun, sort of got diluted at the final climax where after much buildup of about 10 minutes of dialogue, I expected more of the same clever antics the beginning showed. Instead, it was more one shot uses of some character's new names that quickly fell to background for our main protagonists to take center stage again. Certainly not the worst, but after such great things during the rest of the movie, to stumble at the end was a bit of a letdown for me. I supposed it could be budget, timing, or "violence", but I also feel the political component of the film started coming into play more into the decision making. Despite all the hoping, Croods was not completely sheltered from the movements of the modern age and though not the most aggressive (Black Christmas and New Charlie's Angels) it still had no troubles sneaking its own voice in. Again, had the ending scene shown me the buildup was worth it great, but the demotion of three of the characters to forms that were weaker and outside of their character, could have done with a little better balance. Still not the worst and will most likely affect few people.
Despite my concerns of 2020 and sequel syndrome hitting, the second installment of the Croods was just as fun and energizing as its predecessor. With the same fluid design and fun chemistry, an amazing use of clever planning that blended story and fun, and a humorous atmosphere throughout the whole film, it is certainly worth a visit to check this out. Sure there are some picky things I would have liked to see, but overall, the movie is one of the better animated sequels I have seen in a long time. Are their scary parts for kids, sure as there are loud sounds and some darker designs that might creep them out, but overall it's a pretty safe kids film for those probably 6 and up, and for braver 3 year old's and up. Overall, I was very happy with the film and encourage families to check it out when they have the time.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.5