Sunday, September 30, 2018

Early Man (on DVD)

Early Man
[DVD j Early] 

This 2018 film from Aardman Animation, the folks who’ve previously brought us Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit, and Shaun the Sheep, didn’t stay in theaters long in early 2018, on its initial release. This is probably due to its very originality — they weren’t capitalizing on any of their established characters, but were trying to break new ground. And, for whatever reason, the audience just didn’t “connect” with it as much as with their previous films. That’s a shame, because this a delightful, entertaining film.

The plot, in a nutshell, involves a tribe of Stone Age primitives, represented primarily by Dug (voice of Eddie Redmayne), struggling to protect the valley where they live, from incursion by miners from a Bronze Age city, represented by the venal local Bronze Age leader Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston). The chosen battlefield where their conflict comes to a head is…a soccer field, where Lord Nooth believes his experienced players will easily dominate the primitives, who’ve never played before. Little does he realize that Dug’s ancestors invented the game of soccer years ago, or that a rebellious girl from his own society, Goona (Maisie Williams), will help the Stone Agers to train and give them a fighting chance at saving their homeland.

The film has lots of humor, ranging from simple heartfelt comedy to broad slapstick farce. Director Nick Park provides the “voice” of warthog “Hognob”, Dug’s persistent sidekick, and gets some of the funniest scenes and “lines” for himself. The voice work is terrific across the board, as is the Aardman clay animation. There are a lot of visual jokes to catch, if you’re paying close enough attention. And for fans of “extras” on DVDs, there are a couple of very nice “making of” specials that are worth checking out. A fun film, although I do still prefer the previous offerings from Aardman.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit, and Shaun the Sheep (which is definitely aimed at a much younger audience).]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Early Man web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you seen this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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