Early Man – Review
Updated: Apr 10
I cannot tell you enough how excited I was when I initially heard that Aardman were releasing another feature film. Although the studio have gained a lot of attention over the years from the likes of Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run & Creature Comforts, the studio actually only have 7 feature films to their name including; Chicken Run (2000), Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005), Flushed Away (2006), Arthur Christmas (2011), The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (2012), Shaun The Sheep Movie (2015) and now Early Man (2018). That doesn’t mean that the studio isn’t busy in between these films though, you can often find Aardman’s signature stop motion animation gracing your TV screens in the form of TV shows, adverts and music videos!
Let’s just focus on Early Man for now. Like I said I was very excited for this film as 1) it’s an Aardman film (pretty much the only UK animation studio that regularly puts out films) and 2) it’s obviously a claymation/stop motion animated film as some of you may know Laika – who are basically the American Aardman – are one of my favourite animation studios and stop motion animation is pretty much my favourite medium of animation! So I was excited to experience those visuals on the big screen once again. Early Man follows the story of Dug, one of only a few Cavemen left in the valley who has grown pretty tired of only hunting small prey. The small group of Cavemen live a pretty simple life, that is until Lord Nooth turns up and attempts to harvest their valley for Ore. Dug and his pals then challenge people of the Bronze Age to a football match even though they’re pretty hopeless at it.
What I didn’t expect though is so much… football? Any of you that have watched the trailers/seen the posters can see that there’s barely any mention to football, although there are a few shots on a football field, that’s the only hint we get. So I went into the film expecting a film similar to perhaps DreamWorks’ The Croods (2013). What I saw however is a sports film that just so happened to involve cave people. I’m aware that it’s the distributors that create film trailers and therefore are considering the ticket sales when it comes to producing a trailer however more of a heads up would have been nice. As someone who has never had an interest or understanding really of football, I felt a little on the outside when it came to the football referencing jokes, the football figure cameos, etc. I can’t say that the loud young boy or elderly gentlemen in front of me in the cinema had quite the same stance on it as me though…
This however didn’t cause me to dislike or grow bored of the film, Early Man is of course full of hilarious one liners and puns as well as featuring many apologetically British mannerisms and themes without being too cheesy. It contains a cast of British royalty in the acting world including; Eddie Redmayne , Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Timothy Spall and Richard Ayoade.
As stated previously, I did enjoy Early Man, although I was slightly disappointed by the unexpected sports film I ended up watching, this didn’t take away from the overall charm and laughs it provided. If you’re on the fence about seeing this film – especially now that I’ve mentioned the football side of the film – don’t be. Although the main plot focuses on a football game, you won’t lose track of the story, it’s all pretty straight forward and almost predictable storytelling. So if like me you want Aardman to keep making feature films, buy a ticket to see Early Man! The more of a success it is, the more they can keep making movies.
For more animation reviews see what else I have to offer on here as well as my work on nerdoutwordout.com.