HOT 4K NEWS / 4K ULTRA HD REVIEW / HDR FRAME SHOTS
Rich bold 4K/HDR colors are featured throughout “A New Age.” Guy and Eep continue to fall in love as the Croods are attacked by a pack of angry kangadillos.
(Click an image to scroll the larger versions)
GREAT NEWS! High-Def Watch is offering a free 4K Ultra HD disc copy of DreamWorks Animation’s “The Croods: A New Age” from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
To win, follow us on Twitter and tell us your favorite Crood character. Then subscribe to our High-Def Watch website. Find info at the bottom of this page.
We’ll select one name from our subscription list Tuesday, February 23 at 11:00 p.m. PST and contact the winner via email Wednesday.
“THE CROODS: A NEW AGE”
4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Digital copy; 2020; PG for peril, action, and rude humor; streaming via Amazon Prime Video (4K), Apple (4K), FandangoNOW (4K), Google Play (4K), Movies Anywhere (4K), Vudu (4K), YouTube (4K)
Best extra: A gang commentary with first-time director Joel Crawford and his creative team
HERE’S A cool distinction. During the pandemic quarantine, “The Croods: A New Age” earned the biggest weekend box office total of any motion picture released in North America...
Even as coronavirus cases surged and millions remained unsure if gathering inside a multiplex during the five-day Thanksgiving weekend was a good thing. With less than 40 percent of U.S. and Canadian screens open, DreamWorks’ animated film still collected nearly $15 million in North America and $35 million worldwide. Its final global box office topped $151 million. “The Croods” (2013) made $587 million.
“The Croods: A New Age” has also received respectable numbers on Rotten Tomatoes with a 77 percent “Fresh” rating from critics, and a glowing 94 percent from audiences. It has been nominated for Best Animation by Golden Globes voters, with a possible Oscar nod in three weeks. But getting the DreamWorks sequel to the screen was a seven-year adventure itself, a struggle of tangled Hollywood acquisition, director changes, and at one point being canceled altogether.
“A New Age” followed Universal Studios’ new three-week release model between theaters and home viewing, premiering on Video on Demand (VOD) in 4K/HDR on parent company Comcast and a half-dozen streaming platforms.
It’s now on safe home ground again showcasing the voices of Nicolas Cage (Grug), Emma Stone (Eep), Ryan Reynolds (Guy), Catherine Keener (Ugga) and Cloris Leachman (Gran) in her last performance. On Tuesday, it finally arrives for physical 4K purchase – and results are as expected. WOW!
4K Ultra HD vs. Blu-ray
(Top) 4K provides more controlled mid-tones and highlights evident by more detail on Guy’s necklace and vest, plus a slightly darker palette and richer colors.
(Bottom) Blu-ray has a slight yellow tint and less fine detail.
Right off the bat, there’s an uptick in visual quality compared to the original, which was animated with 3D in mind. We’re not sure about that film’s advancements in animation technology or possible 4K rendering, but overall clarity and sharpness in “A New Age” is excellent. Hair texture and other details are much more refined and realistic in 4K UHD.
Aspect ratio is super widescreen 2.39:1, with HDR toning, standard HDR10 and Dolby Vision (digital & disc) graded slightly darker than the 1080p version keeping highlights and mid-tones in check. Color fidelity is rich and natural – especially in new characters', the Betterman, territory, home to Phil (Peter Dinklage), Hope (Leslie Mann), and their daughter Dawn (Kelly Marie Tran). Their walled-in estate features a multi-room Swiss Family Robinson treehouse, with a shower and flushing toilet. The Betterman parents don’t want neighbors (The Croods), although they expect Guy to become their son-in-law. He and Dawn had been previous playmates before Guy’s parents died.
(1) The 1970s Partridge Family single “I Think I Love You” provides the love motif for Guy and Eef. (2&3) Brother Thunk (Clark Duke), sister Sandy (Kailey Crawford), Gran (Cloris Leachman), and the rest of the Croods are shocked by the lush gardens within the Betterman walled compound. (4) Grug reaches for the forbidden fruit - strangely the banana.
The 4K (disc & digital) and Blu-ray both feature the eight-channel Dolby Atmos soundtrack. It's active from start to finish, with orchestrated music cues from composer Mark Mothersbaugh (“Thor: Ragnarok”) and effects. Several classic tunes show up such as “I Think I Love You” performed by Partridge Family, and “True” performed by British band Spandau Ballet.
“The Croods” were already a staple in Leslie Mann’s home. Her girls continually watched it while growing up, so when asked to join the cast, she says, “I was thrilled.”
The bonus feature highlight is the commentary with director Joel Crawford; producer Mark Swift; head of story Januel Mercado; and editor Jim Ryan. Right from the get-go, these guys deliver one story after another. First off, we learn how Jim Ryan suggested the sequel should begin from Guy’s (Ryan Reynolds) point of view, leading to artist Colin Jack who animated young Guy, recruiting his young son Gabriel to voice the little fellow.
Crawford admits “A New Age” is an adventurous “romantic comedy,” focused on the relationship between Guy and Eep. They also salute animator William Salazar (“Kung Fu Panda 2,” “Road to El Dorado”) who delivered the hand-drawn 2D cave painting sequence introducing the young couple, and everything that happens between them from “The Croods” to “A New Age” – all in 60 seconds on-screen.
The 4K disc and digital include all of the bonus features including two exclusive shorts: “Family Movie Night: Little Red Bronana Bread” and “Dear Diary: World’s First Pranks.” Altogether there are nine deleted scenes, a gag reel, and featurettes “Caveman Style, The Croods’ Family Album – with Zoom interviews with the cast, and “The Evolution of…Croods,” with an interview with the director, who says making a sequel can tempt creators to make it “bigger more dramatic and darker.”
Crawford’s aim was to make “A New Age” a “celebration of people.”
— Bill Kelley III, High-Def Watch producer