Director: Nick Park
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Timothy Spall, Richard Ayoade, Rob Brydon
Aardman is one of the most innovative entertainment studios working in the industry today. They basically shaped my childhood with the wonderful Wallace & Gromit and Creature Comforts shorts and have since moved into making fantastic feature-length animated movies such as Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Chicken Run, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! and the Shaun the Sheep Movie.
They have dabbled in computer animation with the releases of Flushed Away and Arthur Christmas but their real strengths lie in making wonderfully whimsical and charming stop-motion animated movies. That’s where their latest picture, Early Man, comes in.
Directed by Nick Park, one of the key people at Aardman, Early Man tells the story of a small tribe that lives in an idyllic valley who are forced out of the place they’ve called home for generations by Lord Nooth’s (voiced by Tom Hiddleston) and his Bronze Age City.
Nooth wants to mine their valley for Bronze, however, a brave young tribesman called Dug (voiced by Eddie Redmayne) has other ideas and decides to do what he can to help regain his people’s land.
So I’ve been thinking, you know we always hunt rabbits, couldn’t we try hunting something bigger?
Nick Park knows how to make funny and charming movies full of loveable characters. Yet, his films are not only a joy to watch. They also tend to have a deeper message behind all the lovingly crafted plasticine models. This is one of the reasons why Aardman’s animated movies are always held in such high regard and they’ve done exactly the same thing with Early Man.
This film isn’t just a film about a tribe trying to get their home back. There’s a much bigger and more important message here. It’s could be seen as an analogy for our current political climate and how we should learn to really understand and even come to love our neighbours and respect their culture. It’s a delightful message and one that shouldn’t go amiss.
One slightly negative thing I will say about Early Man is that the film’s visuals didn’t impress me as much as their previous work has done. Maybe it’s just my memory playing tricks on me, but I didn’t find this film to be as visually arresting as Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Chicken Run or even Pirates. Early Man looked a bit flat and muted in comparison with fewer colours really popping off the screen.
You took our home. If we win you leave my tribe in peace!
Curse of the Were-Rabbit looked spectacular, especially considering the fact that they had to work with a lot of fur. Early Man didn’t quite have that visual wow factor for me personally.
That said, what Early Man lacks in visuals it totally makes up for in story, humour and entertainment value. Park has created yet another brilliantly entertaining family movie which can be enjoyed no matter how old or young you are. It’s the perfect family movie with cute characters (Hognob, Dug’s pet wild boar is adorable) and an important central message. It’s definitely a film that warrants a family outing to the cinema come half-term.