Early Man review

I don’t think Early Man is quite at the peak of the Wallace & Gromit shorts – I hold The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave in particularly high esteem – but it’s very much a joyous family movie

The new film from Aardman sets out a very ambitious table of treats in its opening five minutes or so. A stop-frame animated piece, it immediately zeroes in on a prehistoric area of the planet just outside of Manchester. Early Man then starts with a lovely homage to the style of Ray Harryhausen (and more treats await in the end credits), charts the end of the dinosaurs, introduces some furry underpants and covers the early days of football. Oh, and it’s knocked someone off too. That’s efficiency. Proper storytelling efficiency.

Early Man, then, is the hugely enjoyable new film from the sure-to-be-knighted, multi-Oscar winning director Nick Park, who in turn has invented his first collection of totally brand new characters since 2000’s Chicken Run. He’s settled for his story on a bunch of generally lump-headed caveman and women, all with geographic roots in the UK, who live in a valley that’s overshadowed by the apparently progressive Bronze Age City next door.

Whilst the cavefolk, cheerily led by Eddie Redmayne’s Dug and his dad, Timothy Spall’s Chief Bobnar, try and prolong their existence, the dastardly Lord Nooth next door – Tom Hiddleston – has other ideas. The Queen – Miriam Margolyes! – too [ . . . ] More at: Early Man review

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