Fans of the Stone Age spectacle “The Croods” had to wait seven and a half years for a sequel. Now it’s here: despite the corona pandemic, it was successful THE CROODS – EVERYTHING AT THE BEGINNING a strong performance at the box office. Now we can only hope that we will see the film in United Kingdom soon. We reveal more about this in our review.
OT: The Croods: A New Age (USA 2020)
What could be more dangerous than prehistoric creatures with huge teeth? What could be worse than the end of the world? Since they first left their cave in the distant past, the Croods have faced every danger. But now the family suddenly encounters their biggest challenge yet: another family! When the chaotic group around head of the family Grug (original voice: Nicolas Cage) sets out to find a new and, above all, safe home, they discover an idyllic paradise hidden behind high walls. This seems to solve all their problems because there is huge quantities of food here. There’s just one tiny problem – the Bessermann family (emphasis on “Besser”) already lives there! A modern tree house, the latest inventions and a professionally landscaped garden full of fruit and vegetables – the Bessermanns (Peter Dinklage and Leslie Mann) have apparently already arrived in the future, while the Croods still have a few steps ahead of them on the evolutionary ladder. It’s only a matter of time before the primeval sparks fly when the Bessermanns take the Croods in as house guests. But the two families are forced to accept their differences when a new threat emerges…
Between 2010 and 2020, Hollywood film studios managed to establish ten new, mass-market animated film series. With the exception of “Sing” – a CGI casting show with singing and dancing animals, whose sequel has already been confirmed – “Despicable Me”, “Pets”, “Frozen” and Co. will have at least one sequel by the end of 2020 brought about. For a long time, things didn’t look that way for Dreamworks’ 2013 “The Croods.” After initial difficulties in the production process, Universal Pictures stopped plans for “The Croods 2” in November 2016, only to restart them almost a year later. This means that there are around 7.5 years between the start of the first and second part – it is the longest period of time between two series parts from Dreamworks Animation, the previous record being held by “Kung Fu Panda”. However, due to the Corona crisis, it looked as if this long wait wasn’t worth it for the studio. But then “The Croods – Everything at the Beginning” surprisingly achieved by far the best reboot of a cinema film since the beginning of the pandemic – and even if the income was of course nowhere near the regular box office figures, the film was able to meet its production costs of around 65 million US dollars have long since been brought in again. What the film release will be like in this country is currently still up in the air. “The Croods 2” has now been released as a rental VOD in the United States and, as expected, is topping the streaming charts there. Given the once again outstandingly animated, colorful worlds, we can only hope that USA audiences will be able to marvel at the animated film sequel in cinemas.
Guy (Ryan Reynolds) and Eep Crood (Emma Stone) are still inseparable.
“The Croods” came away empty-handed at the 2014 Oscars. But that’s not all that surprising when you look at the competition in the “Best Animated Feature Film” category: The Stone Age adventure not only had to compete against the eventual winner “Frozen”, but also against “Despicable Me 2”, the Ghibli anime “As the Wind Rises” and the French underdog “Ernest & Célestine” prevail. In addition, the Pixar prequel “The Monsters University” as well as “Cloudy with Meatballs 2”, “Epic – Hidden Kingdom” and “The Smurfs 2” also started around “The Croods”. Cinema-loving families couldn’t complain about too little choice in 2013. Good for the cinemas, less good for the potential start of a series that first has to earn its followers. The fact that the two directors Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders were able to achieve this is primarily due to the highly charming characters, the outstandingly creatively conceived world (you have never seen animal and plant creations like this before!) and the dry humor where Grug, Eep (Emma Stone), Guy (Ryan Reynolds) and the rest of the group go on their adventure. Although there was a lot of shuffling behind the scenes, it was the four-person writing team around Dan Hageman (“The LEGO Movie”) and director Joel Crawford (“Trolls: Partying with the Trolls”) congenially succeeded in capturing the tonality of the first part – and continuing it!
“Although there was a lot of mixing behind the scenes, the four-person writing team around Dan Hageman and director Joel Crawford succeeded brilliantly in capturing the tonality of the first part – and continuing it!”
A striking trademark of the first “Croods” film was to repeatedly invent Stone Age equivalents for numerous later achievements of humanity. In the sequel, such observations are more than just side notes and gag templates: they are the actual plot. With the appearance of the Bessermann family, the Croods are immediately catapulted to the next level of evolution. A premise that is absolutely promising given the knowledge of the limitless imagination of the creators of part one. In “The Croods – Everything at the Beginning,” viewers don’t just get an insight into how people once discovered living in apartments, farming or composting. You’ll also get an idea of how television was invented and how tattoos became the ideal of beauty – to name just a few of the countless inventions whose origins are explained in “The Croods 2”. In addition, the arsenal of fantasy animals and plants is once again huge. The highlight: a crude mix of wolf and spider that isn’t as evil as it seems at first glance. An excellent keyword for the surprisingly current message inherent in “The Croods – Everything at the Beginning”. The way in which the Croods interact with the Bessermann family and, in addition to the fascination for everything new, also brings with them a certain basic skepticism and even fear, later becomes a fundamental discussion between the conservative Croods and the progressive Bessermanns. With great sensitivity, those responsible manage to work out the many facets of the conflict by taking the Croods’ fears just as seriously as the Bessermanns’ lack of understanding of the Croods’ backwardness.
Phil (Peter Dinklage) and Hope Betterman (Leslie Mann) embrace Guy (Ryan Reynolds).
When the differences between the families are highlighted in the middle part and the advantages and disadvantages of both lifestyles are weighed against each other, “The Croods – Everything at the Beginning” is clearly the strongest. In the last third, the makers then reflect on another outstanding aspect of the first film: the action. It was camera legend Roger Deakins (“Blade Runner 2049”), who helped light the animated film sets to make the chases and fight scenes look as realistic as possible. The team had to do without the Oscar winner for part two, but that doesn’t detract from the dynamic of the action scenes. These are once again spectacular to watch and score points not only for their speed but also for their high level of slapstick content. The lively Punch Monkeys in particular are likely to win many fans among the very young viewers with their extremely physical way of communication. The older ones, on the other hand, will particularly appreciate the monkeys’ background story. Why the cute animals target the Bessermanns and why they largely caused their own misfortune reveals more than a simple good versus evil conflict that is simply based on the fact that one side doesn’t like the other. On the contrary: the problems addressed here can be applied to the causes of many profound conflicts in reality.
“The way in which the Croods interact with the Bessermann family and, in addition to the fascination for everything new, also brings with them a certain basic skepticism and even fear, later on it becomes a fundamental discussion between the conservative Croods and the progressive Bessermanns.”
The voice cast from “The Croods” returned to their roles for the sequel. A stroke of luck. Although the synchronous recordings are usually not carried out with everyone involved together, but with each actor individually, there is once again a remarkable feeling of togetherness. You immediately believe that the Croods are perfectly attuned to each other, just as there is perfect chemistry between Peter Dinklage and Leslie Mann as Mr. and Mrs. Bessermann. Two well-known voices, Uwe Ochsenknecht and Janin Ullmann, also return in the USA version. Comedian Chris Tall and TikTok star Dalia Mya are joining the cast.
Conclusion: “The Croods – Everything at the Beginning” is a successful sequel to the equally funny and creative first film, whose tonality the makers picked up and expanded on excellently. The colorful worlds are made for the big screen.
“The Croods – Everything at the Beginning” can be seen in USA cinemas from July 8, 2021.