Croods, The: A New Age 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 254, March/April 2021

WSR Score4.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Peril, action, and rude humor
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Joel Crawford
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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In "The Croods: A New Age," the first prehistoric family is ready for another rocking adventure. The Croods have survived fanged beasts, natural disasters, and even young love, but now they must face their biggest challenge yet: another family! In search of a new home, the Croods discover a walled-in paradise created by the sophisticated Betterman family. As they try to coexist, the differences between the two families escalate into a full-blown feud, but when a new threat forces both families to embark on an epic adventure, they must all learn to work together...or they'll all go extinct! (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director Joel Crawford, Producer Mark Swift, Head of Story Januel Mercado and Editor Jim Ryan; the original shorts "Dear Diary: World's First Pranks" (HD 02:54), "Family Movie Night: Little Red Bronana Bread" (HD 03:39) and "To: Gerard" (HD 07:32); a gag reel (HD 01:51); eight deleted scenes (HD 23:07); five featurettes: "The Croods' Family Album" (HD 08:24), "The Evolution Of..." (HD 10:17), "How To Draw: Caveman Style" (HD 29:05), "Famileaf Album" (HD 02:58) and "Stone Age Snack Attack" (HD 05:52); upfront previews and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

The 2.39:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was animated digitally and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. Animation is terrific. Colors are vibrant and intensely saturated throughout with strong primaries that pop with brilliance and punch. Hues are nicely nuanced with fine shadings and textures. The imagery is filled with a broad spectrum of color with abundant reds, greens, blues and yellows and provides an impressive level of depth. The Betterman's are extremely colorful and brilliant. HDR contrast is excellent with perfect black levels and shadows. Bright highlights are extensive with overall high-illuminated imagery, which pop against brown earthy backgrounds. Resolution is excellent with far-reaching textural detail from environmental settings, to interiors, to wild animal furs, to hair, to Phil Betterman's beard, to Grug's hairy chest and so much more expressed in the elaborate foliage and landscapes. This is a wonderfully colorful and reference-quality animated picture that is sure to please all members of the family. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is wonderful with an aggressive directionalized surround field with distinctive dimensionality. The orchestra/choral score extends wide and deep across the soundstage and completely envelops the surrounds and soundstage completely. Foley sound effects are perfectly in sync with any movement. Sound effects perfectly enhance the action. ADR dialogue is intelligible with decent spatial integration. Deep bass is effectively part of the music at times, which is often rhythmic. Separately, extension is to sub-25 Hz to support fire explosions, tree trunk crashes and the monster. The Thunder Sisters segment is very lively and dynamic. This is a fun holosonic® spherical surround soundtrack that projects a dynamic character, with impressive clarity. No channel is without impactful energy.

The Immersive Sound element is comprised of low-level extension of the choral score with bursts of energy, nuanced ambience and occasional environmental sound effects similar to a light wind, which at times is more intense. Occasional dialogue is heard such as when the Croods are captured in a tree net and the group encounters the monkeys. At times a sound effect will jump out, such as a lightening sound. While a decent measure of immersiveness, far more could have been created for a truly wonderful height channel experience.

This is otherwise a reference soundtrack that is tremendously fun and is a dynamic listening experience. (Gary Reber)