Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.
Early Man is a 2018 stop-motion animated, historical-sports comedy film (that’s a bit of a mouthful!) from Nick Park and Aardman Studios. It stars the voices of Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, and Timothy Spall. The film follows a plucky cave man named Dug, his sidekick Hognob and the rest of their tribe as they face a grave threat to their simple existence. When Lord Nooth plans to take over their land and transform it into a giant mine, the primitive Stone Age valley dwellers have to defend their land from the Bronze Age enemy… in a football match.
I absolutely love Aardman Studios and their stop-motion films. I’m a huge fan of Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run and I think that The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! is a brilliant but underrated film as well. It’s the unique visual style coupled with a very British sense of humour that makes me love these movies.
Aardman films always remind me of my childhood, not just watching the Wallace and Gromit shorts, but also attempting (incredibly poorly I need to add) to create my own stop-motion films. It’s bizarre that in my head I always think that these are simpler and more honest forms of film making. Obviously forgetting the huge amount of effort that goes into every single frame. Granted these days they do benefit from CGI more than ever, but they manage to blend it together with the hand crafted models that you don’t even notice it. Which I think is great.
You might find that Early Man to be a ‘mildly’ inaccurate recreation of prehistoric times but any fault you have with its historical accuracy will be forgiven after you watch this charming, daft and silly film. This on form film is fun for the whole family, with plenty of jokes for all ages to enjoy. If you’d have told me a few years ago somebody would make a film about caveman football, I’d have said they were nuts but honestly this works.
Crammed full of both jokes both visual and dialogue based, this film has something for everyone. I’d say the majority of the visual humour is aimed towards children while the jokes themselves are often to the benefit of the parents in the room. It’s also adorbale that Hognob is basically Dug’s very own Gromit.
Ultimately this is a sports film so yes it’s also packed with the most blatant sports cliché possible, scrappy underdogs verses the undefeatable, arrogant football champions as well as crises of faith, last-minute comebacks and training montages. It doesn’t matter that the plot points are predictable though as the unique setting and humour sees you through completely.
Tom Hiddleston steals every scene he is in as Lord Nooth, the stuck up french ruler of the Bronze age. Eddie Redmayne and Maisie Williams are both excellent as the naive caveman Dug and Goona, a young women who dreams of breaking the mould and becoming a football star respectively. I also have to praise to Nick Park himself as Dug’s pet wild boar who manages to convey more emotion and humour from a few grunts and Plasticine than some actors do in a life time.
Another brilliant project from Nick Park and Aardman, this is movie guaranteed to be added to my collection when it is released on DVD and Blu-ray. More than worth a watch as a family film on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Early Man is charmingly daft and incredibly silly. I loved it.