The Oscar-winning Nick Park takes the sole directing reins for the latest hilarious release from Aardman Animations. The crew take us back to the Stone Age and produce yet another fine movie to add to their collection. The Early Man movie posters with the quotes ‘Meet the ancestors of Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit’ highlight the success and joy Aardman has brought to us over the years since Chicken Run, their first feature film, which was released in 2000. It also jogs our memories as to just how creative and different the films have been in the movie industry.
Early Man focuses on caveman Dug (voiced by Redmayne) and his furry pet boar Hognob (who is played by Park himself, apparently). The pair are not alone as they are joined by a warming friendship group, members who are portrayed by some of Britain’s very funny and talented actors such as Johnny Vegas, Timothy Spall, and Richard Ayoade. We see a very close bond from the group who hunt every day for rabbits in ‘the Valley’, a beautiful green setting full of trees and natural creatures. That is until we see the arrival of evil Lord Nooth (Hiddleston), the leader of the Bronze Age City, who in true movie villain tradition, he kicks the gang out of their home. It’s all down to Dug to beat Lord Nooth at his own game in an attempt to get his home back. The battle is unexpectedly set within a game of football and all those beautiful game lovers out there will enjoy this story even more as there are many hilarious references towards the sport -especially the mention of ‘overpaid’ players. There is also a nice touching equality moment in which the film addresses that girls can play football just as good as the men, a statement that has seen women’s football has grown significantly over the last few years in the homeland of the film’s creators.
Early Man has some very funny moments and plenty of little touches such as a small door bolt sealing a massive door entrance to the Bronze Age City that was sealed off with circular-shaped locks. As with Aardman’s previous titles, there is always a storyline of good versus evil. Think back to Ginger the chicken vs. Mr and Mrs Tweedy and Wallace and Gromit taking on Victor Quartermaine. But it’s a tried and tested concept that does not get old for the family audience, as we all root for the good guy to defeat their evil nemesis. And let’s not forget the characters we all fall in love with during their journeys. As we laugh at the bad guys, we finish watching films like Early Man wanting to see more adventures for the protagonists.
It’s very unclear if we’ll ever see a sequel to Early Man but either way, Park and Aardman have once again made a great and amusing family film, which no doubt will be placed not far behind the classics of Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run in the public’s affections.
EARLY MAN / CERT: U / DIRECTOR: NICK PARK / SCREENPLAY: MARK BURTON, JAMES HIGGINSON, JOHN O’FARRELL / STARRING: EDDIE REDMAYNE, TOM HIDDLESTON, MAISIE WILLIAMS, TIMOTHY SPALL, RICHARD AYOADE / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 26TH
Expected Rating: 6/10