Early Man

Blu-Ray Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Early Man
Early Man

As you might expect, there's a gentle, self-deprecating warmth to the commentary track from Aardman's Nick Park and editor Sim Evans-Jones. There's also, despite a brief mention of 'soccer' a distinctly British 'cup of tea and a biscuit' vibe, along with references to the likes of Waitrose and Tommy Cooper that are likely to leave those beyond these shores scratching their heads.

Although Park and Evans-Jones couldn't be described as the most dynamic duo ever committed to a commentary track, their love of the animation shines through and there are plenty of interesting snippets of information, including the fact that Park had no idea that 'Gooner' was a nickname for an Arsenal fan when he named his leading lady Goona.

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In an era when CGI more or less rules, it's great to be reminded of why Park and his team persist with stop-motion, particularly when he talks of the welcome 'chaos' that using real fabric and fur brings to the mix. They also point out the moments where CGI was used to enhance the action, illustrating an attention to detail across the board.

The seven featurettes on the disc cover everything from the creation of the sets - constructed in five studios and involving 35 animators and 162 crew - through the casting and the recording of the voice artist work, to the assembly of 1000 people under the watchful eye of The Choir's Gareth Malone to record the crowd scenes. Tom Hiddleston (Lord Nooth), Eddie Redmayne (Dug) and Maisie Williams (Goona) offer their thoughts about the process, along with Park and his team. Speaking of the chaos of fur, there's also fun to be had in watching production designer Matt Perry's facial hair evolve throughout.

There is some duplication between them and Before The Beginning Of Time: Crafting Early Man is something of a greatest hits of them all, but this is nonetheless an interesting and informative little bunch of extras, particularly when it comes to celebrating the work of the production designers and animators.

It's a bit disappointing to note that HoH subtitles are only available for the feature itself and not the commentary track, something that is still all too common - yet, even here, there is a sense of humour at work, such as when we're told a caveman "babbles in early Geordie".

Reviewed on: 28 May 2018
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Early Man packshot
Stop motion animated cave men and a hog learn to play football and take on the best team in the known universe
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Product Code: OPTBD4084

Region: 0

Ratio: 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 1.85:1

Sound: English Dolby Atmos

Extras: The Birth Of Early Man, The Evolution Of Early Man, Match Of The Clay, Nick Park: Massaging the Funny, The Valley Meets the Bronze, Hanging at Aardman Studios: A Workshop Exploration, Before The Beginning Of Time: Crafting Early Man

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