Today: June 21, 2024

Early Man

You just know that any film which manages to squeeze in meteor strikes, the extinction of the dinosaurs, a nod to Ray Harryhausen, and the beautiful game, in the first five minutes, is going to be all right. But, with Early Man, Aardman have have crafted something really special.

Aardman have always had a knack for making the small and the everyday seem epic and for those of us who share their wonderfully skewed world vision, Early Man is 89-minutes of snicker-some joy. If Chicken Run was their take on The Great Escape then Early Man is definitely their Escape To Victory. Only here, the plucky Brits are represented by Early Man, Dug (Eddie Redmayne) and his clan of Stone Age misfits, fighting to save their valley from the machinations of evil Bronze Age conquerers.

Along the way, there’s the usual mix of laughs, heart-warming story telling, and thankfully ‘low-tech’ visuals. Claymation is the process that made Aardman’s name but the likes of Flushed Away and Pirates! An Adventure With Scientists seemed to suggest that the company was moving towards more mainstream animation and CGI-polished productions. While Early Man clearly does use some CGI, the feel is old school Wallace & Gromit. Nick Park himself commented that they were looking for a One Million Years BC, aesthetic, with finger-prints on the Plasticine all part of the design. They’ve succeeded in spades. It’s easy to imagine Dug and his faithful sidekick Hognob as the direct ancestors of Wallace and Gromit, with their fertile valley home (“just outside Manchester”) evolving into West Wallaby Street.

Tom Hiddleston, of Marvel-Loki fame, delivers a brilliant Python-esque villain, complete with outrageous French accent. Game Of Thrones’ Maisie Williams gives the women a heroine to cheer for in the shape of football-mad Goona. While Rob Brydon populates the film with familiar voices that will bring a smile of recognition and the odd chuckle.

Like all the best films, Early Man rewards eagle-eyed audiences and keen re-watchers with groan-inducing background jokes that get better every time you view. This is one film you’ll want to own.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com

Previous Story

WIN! Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Next Story

The Post

Latest from Blog

Memory

Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

Joe Hisaishi in Vienna

Mamoru Fujisawa, known professionally as Joe Hisaishi, is a Japanese composer of over a hundred film scores. Known primarily for his lush Studio Ghibli soundtracks, Hisaishi’s collaboration with Hayao Miyazaki has been

Memories of Murder Unboxing

Long before Bong Joon-ho scooped up his Academy Awards for 2016’s Parasite, he crafted one of the most chilling serial killer thrillers of all time. Memories of Murder is compelling and truly

Farscape: The Complete Series Unboxing

The irreverent and imaginative sci-fi series Farscape is, quite rightly, a cult classic of the genre – and as it celebrates its 25th anniversary, Fabulous Films have put out a wondrous new

Early Man

If Chicken Run was Aardman’s take on The Great Escape then Early Man is definitely its Escape To Victory. Only here, the plucky Brits are represented by Early Man, Dug, and his plucky clan who are fighting to save their valley from the machinations of evil, Bronze Age conquerers.

Along the way, Aardman deliver up the usual mix of pun-fuelled, school-yard humour, and heart-warming story telling. But what makes Early Man such a joy is its determinedly low-tech visuals.

Stop-frame claymation is the process that made Aardman’s name but the likes of Flushed Away and Pirates! An Adventure With Scientists seemed to suggest that the company was moving towards more mainstream animation and CGI-polished productions. While Early Man clearly does use some CGI, the feel is pure old school Wallace & Gromit. Nick Park himself commented that they were looking for a One Million Years BC, Ray Harryhausen aesthetic, with finger-prints on the Plasticine all part of the design. They’ve succeeded in spades. It’s easy to imagine Dug and his faithful sidekick Hognob as the direct ancestors of Wallace and Gromit, with their fertile valley home (“just outside Manchester”) eventually evolving into West Wallaby Street.

Tom Hiddleston delivers a brilliant Python-esque villain, complete with outrageous French accent. Maisie Williams gives us a heroine to cheer for in the shape of football-mad Goona. While Rob Brydon populates the film with familiar voices that will bring both a smile of recognition and chuckles a-plenty.

Early Man is Aardman at its very best: silly, irreverent, nostalgic, and great, family-friendly fun.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com

Previous Story

WIN MOTHER! ON BlU-RAY – AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL NOW AND ON DVD, BLU-RAY, 4K ULTRA HD JANUARY 22

Next Story

Peter Rabbit, Meet Cotton-Tail

Latest from Blog

Memory

Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

Joe Hisaishi in Vienna

Mamoru Fujisawa, known professionally as Joe Hisaishi, is a Japanese composer of over a hundred film scores. Known primarily for his lush Studio Ghibli soundtracks, Hisaishi’s collaboration with Hayao Miyazaki has been

Memories of Murder Unboxing

Long before Bong Joon-ho scooped up his Academy Awards for 2016’s Parasite, he crafted one of the most chilling serial killer thrillers of all time. Memories of Murder is compelling and truly

Farscape: The Complete Series Unboxing

The irreverent and imaginative sci-fi series Farscape is, quite rightly, a cult classic of the genre – and as it celebrates its 25th anniversary, Fabulous Films have put out a wondrous new
Go toTop

Don't Miss

Robin Robin

Doctor Who, Carols from Kings, the Queen’s Speech, falling asleep,

Earwig And The Witch

When a studio famed for its lush visuals and traditional