Early Man
"Despite a star studded voice cast it lacks the comic invention required to make an impossible dream memorable"

Wallace and Gromit as cave men? Nice one. Except they are called Dug (voiced by Eddie Redmayne) and Hognob and cheese doesn't come into it.

This latest from Aardman, directed by Nick Park, is a big disappointment. Instead of having fun with prehistoric chaos and dodging dinosaurs and showing The Flintstones a thing or two about British humour, it turns out to be a satire on the beautiful game.

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Football is the last thing you associate with the morning of civilisation and should have remained so. However, Dug's ancestors in the time before anyone thought of saying, "It's not over 'till it's over," had a kickabout with hot asteroid spheres and Banksy's great great ad infinitum grandpops painted murals on the cave walls depicting this eccentric behaviour.

When the colonial power, in this case the Romans - WARNING: history is given a red card from the start - boot the cavers out of their valley, Dug has a tallow candle moment. Let's learn from our ancestors and become footballers so that we can take on the championship team from Roma, who are a bunch of narcissistic nancy boys with clever keepy up skills.

If the cavers win they get their valley back. If they lose they have to work in the mines forever. The villain of the piece is fat and corrupt. He is the queen's representative who likes nothing better than stealing money and being massaged in a bath by his favourite slave.

The film depicts the impossible. How can these brain poor country bumps possibly beat the best team in the known universe? They need a coach. They need a miracle. They find the coach, a girl called Goona. What about the miracle?

Despite a star studded voice cast Early Man lacks the comic invention required to make an impossible dream memorable. Dug is all teeth and Hognob is a hog. The others, with the exception of Goona (voiced by Maisie Williams), don't make the cut.

Reviewed on: 26 Jan 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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Director: Nick Park

Writer: Mark Burton, James Higginson

Starring: voices of Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Timothy Spall, Miriam Margolyes, Richard Ayoade, Rob Brydon, Mark Williams, Johnny Vegas, Kayvan Novak

Year: 2018

Runtime: 89 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: UK


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