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The Croods 2 Trailer Shows The Dawn Of A New Age

Stone age sequel The Croods 2: A New Age has an unusual (pre)history. The film had been in development for some time when it was unceremonioulsy cancelled by DreamWorks Animation.  Unexpectedly, DWA later had second thoughts and brought the project back from the dead. Despite being on the calendar for release during 2020, we hadn't heard much from the project at all, so you'd be forgive for wondering if it would make its Christmas opening. And that's before you factor in the pandemic effect. Then last week, a poster was finally released, revealing the designs of the new characters appearing in the sequel.

Surprisingly (especially given the current situation) Universal Pictures announced that they were actually bringing the film's US release forward to November 25,  putting it in prime place to take advantage of the traditionally lucrative Thanksgiving Holiday. This is a pretty provocative move, considering that's just five days after the release of  Pixar's Soul. November 20 was originally due to be the release date for Walt Disney Animation Studios' Raya and The Last Dragon until Disney pushed all their previously announced dates back earlier in the year. However, it was already widely anticipated that Disney is likely to move Soul from that date, either to delay it further or (more controversially) to give it a Mulan style Premier Access release on Disney Plus. 

It might seem strange for Universal to take this move, considering that the US box-office returns have shown that even Christopher Nolan's blockbuster Tenet isn't enough to tempt audiences back into cinemas in significant numbers. Especially as they had  considerable success with releasing Trolls World Tour on premium rental earlier in the year. The distributor managed to negotiate a smaller window with cinema chain AMC, after agreeing to back down from their plan to release digital day-and -date with theatrical, following protest from embattled exhibitors. This means that they will be able to release The Croods 2 digitally within just 17 days of opening- ensuring the film will be available well in time for Christmas. Assuming Soul does move, and with Sony removing Connected from their schedule, The Croods could be the only game in town for some time.

Following last week's poster reveal, the first trailer has also now dropped. The sequel follows "the world's first family" as they encounter another, much more  modern family, The Bettermans living in an apparent Paradise. Tensions soon ensue, but the two families must learn to get along when they find themselves on an adventure together.

The trailer shows off some really pretty and colourful looking animation, with some beautifully designed environmnets. There's also lots of the adventure and fun character moments that made the first film enjoyable. Particularly standing out here is the relationship between daugther Eep (Emma Stone) and Dawn Betterman (Kelly Marie Tran) with the two teens getting to experience freindship with girls their own age for the first time.

There may not be anything here that looks to give DreamWork's How To Train Your Dragon trilogy- still the benchmark in quality for the studio, arguably- a run for its money, but this is still looking pretty decent.

The Croods 2 is directed by Joel Crawford, making his feature directorial debut after working as a story artist on The Kung Fu Panda trilogy, Head Of Story on Trolls and storyboarder on Avatar The Last Airbender.  The screenplay is written by Dan and Kevin Hageman (Trollhunters,  The LEGO Movie) and Mark Swift is producer.

The voice cast features Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone, Cloris Leachman, Catherine Keener and Ryan Reynolds reprising their roles as the epponymous family.  The Bettermans are voiced by Kelly Marie Tran, Peter Dinklage, Clark Duke and Leslie Mann.

The Croods 2 is due to be released in cinemas in the US on November 25, with a digital release to follow. The UK cinema release will follow on January 29, 2021.