The Croods: A New Age is an animated family adventure comedy about a family of cave people that discover another family who is much more advanced than they are. Despite their differences, both families need to come together to overcome a much larger threat to their mutual existence.

The Croods are led by the strong but dense Grug (Nicolas Cage). Their teenage daughter Eep (Emma Stone) is enjoying a sweet romance with the only non-family member in existence, Guy (Ryan Reynolds). Together, they all dodge one life-threatening beast or natural disaster after another, narrowly eking out their survival.

Things change for the family when Grug discovers that Guy and Eep might want to live on their own. Without even the time to take in this proposal, the family stumbles upon a gorgeous paradise, seemingly free from creatures or life-threatening natural phenomena. However, as their luck would have it, the seemingly free lunch comes with literal strings attached, and the Croods are captured and taken in by the more modern family, the Bettermans.

Country meets city as the Croods discover the limits of how humans can exist, living a much easier lifestyle with their houses, fire, grooming and agriculture. But despite Eep finding an instant best friend in Dawn Betterman (Kelly Marie Tran) Guy’s past catches up with his present, and the entire Betterman family, including Dawn, would prefer that she end up with him. Guy is then faced with a tough choice of who he will end up with: Eep, the action-packed girl he already loves, or Dawn, the civilized and gorgeous socialite, whose family will do anything to have him.

The two families have more to worry about than a teenage love triangle though, and they will need to combine their talents, brains and brawn, to overcome a much greater threat.

Directed by feature newcomer Joel Crawford, an animation storyboard artist from Dreamworks, this is an amazingly accomplished first feature. For what should just be a kid’s comedy with juvenile gags, there is a surprising amount of depth amidst the many family members. Lessons are hard learned, and every cast member is always directed to put in a total effort.

Written by Kevin and Dan Hageman (The Lego Movie, Hotel Transylvania) with Paul Fisher and Bob Logan (The Lego Ninjago Movie) there are laughs around every corner, appropriate enough for the youngest audiences, yet layered enough that everyone gets a chance to appreciate the humor. The plot is fairly simple at first and then escalates quickly from a small family drama to a story of coming together for survival. Despite heavily borrowing the story from the original Croods in that a father must learn that he cannot be so overprotective, it’s still a story worth telling.

The Croods: A New Age is also an allegory for what it’s like to live in our modern society. The film is a reminder that people from all walks of life have something to offer, no matter how we judge them at first. In other words, positive family messages abound for people of all ages.

The movie is a gorgeous, action-packed, and surprisingly thoughtful sequel to an already surprisingly thoughtful film franchise. Abundant laughs geared for all ages and a nice, brief pacing filled with chase sequences and relatable characters make for both easy and quality viewing for the entire family.