Early Man – Film Review by Katie McCann
Director: Nick Park
Writers: Mark Burton (screenplay by), James Higginson (screenplay by) Nick Park (story by) John O’Farrell
Stars: Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Eddie Redmayne
The prehistoric era, somewhere near Manchester, around lunch time, cave man Dug lives a simple life. Accompanied by his faithful sidekick, a wild boar named Hogknob, and his tribe of misfits he lives a peaceful existence. Occasionally hunting rabbits (with varying levels of success), in harmony with the world around them there is nothing that could upset their little world. That is until the day Bronze Age invaders arrive and upset everything. Now Dug must find a way to save his tribe and valley using the only form of combat these barbarians understand – Football.
From the people who brought Wallace and Gromit to life, Early Man is the latest Claymation extravaganza from Aardman Studios. The story is familiar – a group of oddballs must band together to beat the bad guys and save their home – but though the idea might be simple this is a film with a huge amount of heart. The characters and voice work are utterly engaging with Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston giving really engaging turns as our hero and villain respectively.
The humour throughout is a delight and jokes come thick and fast, especially visual jokes that make the most of those big eyed oddballs and the world around them. The writers and animators have a great time playing with our expectations of this prehistoric land and all that it holds. Capturing the beauty of Dug’s valley with cute bunnies and butterflies galore only to then throw us into the middle of a Bronze Age town at the forefront of modern invention. In this brave new world there are some great jokes about the inventions of things that we as a modern audience know and love: including the invention of sliced bread which is really the best thing since… well anything!
In a time where CGI rules the big screen it is wonderful to see this painstakingly crafted Claymation film shine. Full of charm and wit Early Man is a treat for the whole family with great jokes for both children and adults alike. At just under an hour and twenty minutes this is the perfect little warm up to the 2018 World Cup and will go down particularly well with anyone who enjoys the beautiful game.