Christian Movie Interviews, News and Reviews

You Can Provide Clean Water to Persecuted Christians

4 Things Parents Should Know about Croods: A New Age

4 Things Parents Should Know about <em>Croods: A New Age</em>

Grug Crood is a loving, tough-nosed “cave man” father who would do anything for his family, including for his teenage daughter, Eep, the independent member of the pack.

She likes to get out of the cave. He’d rather stay.

She wants to explore. He doesn’t.

She’s adventurous. He’s not. Well, not until now.

Grug, it seems, has turned over a new leaf by discovering an idyllic paradise with ever-flowing waterfalls, plentiful food and colorful pastures. It’s unlike anything he’s ever seen – and it’s inhabited by another family, the Bettermans. They’re friendly and modern, and they invite the Croods to move in and try a taste of the new world.

It’s a big change, yes, but it’s not as big as another major change in Grug’s life: Eep has fallen in love with a teen boy, Guy, and wants to leave the family.

Will Grug ever be the same again?

DreamWorks’ new movie Croods: A New Age (PG) tells the story of Grug, Eep and their family as they get to know another family that seems to have everything together. It stars Nicolas Cage as Grug, Emma Stone as Eep, Ryan Reynolds as Guy, and Catherine Keener as Ugga.

It’s a sequel to the 2013 movie The Croods.

Here are four things parents should know:

Photo courtesy: ©DreamWorks

The Croods still

1. It May Be Better than the First One

My four children laughed as much during A New Age as they did during the original Croods. I did, too. Instead of sleeping in a bed, the Croods family sleeps in a pile. (It looks as crazy as it sounds.) Instead of walking through a door, they’d rather crash through a wall. (Much to the frustration of the Bettermans.) And Thunk Crood – the Croods’ teenage son – treats windows the same way today’s generation treats smartphones and televisions. (“Time to watch some late-night window,” he says one night, staring outside).

A New Age includes the zaniness that made the first film great, with plenty of new story angles to make it a worthy sequel. Thankfully, the humor stays in kid-friendly territory. (More on that in a moment.)

Director Joel Crawford told Crosswalk there is a temptation for filmmakers to create a sequel that is “darker and more dramatic” than the first one. Crawford said he did just the opposite.

“Everybody loves that family,” he said of the Croods. “And they love the journey the family goes on. I wanted [the film] to feel like a celebration that this family's back. We all relate to them.”

Photo courtesy: ©DreamWorks

The Croods and the Bettermans

2. It Has a Thought-Provoking Message about Technology

Granted, the Bettermans don’t have modern-day technology – they don’t even have electricity – but they have many things the Croods don’t: roofs, walls, shelter, bridges, ziplines, a field full of colorful food, and a wall to protect them from outsiders. In other words, they’ve tamed nature. They’re more “evolved.” (That’s what they say.) They’ve made life better. They’re the Bettermans!

Ironically, though, they’re not happier. In many ways, the Croods’ family has a stronger bond.  

Of course, the teens in the story – Eep and Thunk Crood, Guy, and Dawn Betterman – want what the other family has. Eep, Thunk and Guy desire modern conveniences. Dawn wants to escape the walls. She desires freedom. Eventually, though, the teens see the error of their ways. As one of them says, “Perhaps the window by which I view the world is flawed.”

This clash-of-culture plot has a message for our technology-crazed world: Too often, modern advances don’t “advance” life. (They often add stress and addiction, distracting us from what’s truly important.) Too often, we want what’s on the other side of the fence, when what we really need is a stronger connection to the friends and family we already have. This plotline has another Bible-based message: Don’t look down on others. After all, the Croods family ends up being as smart as the Bettermans.

Photo courtesy: ©DreamWorks

The Croods still

3. It Has a Family-Centric Plot

Despite their appearances, the Croods are anything but dumb. (In fact, their survival skills keep everyone safe.) In many ways, the Croods are a typical American family – striving to love one another more each day while they fight to survive.

But God didn’t design parents and children to stay together forever. Eventually, the kids leave the nest to marry and to begin a career. That happens in A New Age when Eep and Guy fall in love and consider living on their own. (The word “marriage” isn’t used, but that’s the implication when Guy proposes: “Do you, Eep Amber Crood, think you could spend your tomorrow with me?”)

Grug, though, is in denial: “Eep would never leave us,” he says, sounding a lot like Steve Martin’s character in Father of the Bride.

“The first Croods was a wonderful father-daughter story, which has those elements of Father the Bride,” Crawford told Crosswalk. “And we definitely continued that and carried it over. ... Grug was afraid of Guy coming into the pack in the first [movie], but he's accepted him. But now Eep and Guy want to leave the pack, and he's not OK with that. It's just these constant changes a family goes through.”

Photo courtesy: ©DreamWorks

The Croods zip-lining

4. It’s Kid-Friendly

Families who enjoyed the first Croods likely will be satisfied with the sequel. A New Age contains no coarse language (minus a “heck,” “gosh” and an unfinished “what the …). It contains no sexuality (although Eep and Guy do kiss, and we see Granny Crood in a two-piece “Thunder Sisters” warrior outfit and we also see the two fathers in loincloths). Violence is minimal, yet could frighten sensitive children: So-called “punch monkeys” invade the village and kidnap the three older men and then take them back to their pack. The punch monkeys communicate by punching each other (it’s used for slapstick effect). We also see “wolf spider” animals that look just like a wolf with eight legs. (They’re friendly.)

Overall, though, Croods: A New Age is a fun, kid-friendly film that delivers positive messages about family, love, friendship and forgiveness.

The Croods: A New Age is rated PG for peril, action and rude humor.

Entertainment rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Family-friendly rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Photo courtesy: ©DreamWorks

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Related podcast:

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.