Many ages ago, near Manchester, at around lunchtime, a meteor crashed into the earth, leaving destruction in its wake, killing off the dinosaurs. What do the cavemen, who were definitely alive at the same time as dinosaurs, do with the round-shaped remnant of the meteor? Why, the only logical solution was to invent football! Or, soccer, if you prefer.
In Aardman Studios’s latest release, “Early Man,” a young caveman named Dug must lead his tribe to victory in a game of football against the people of the bronze age and reclaim their valley home.
One of the movie’s flaws is the story as a whole. Once you get past the bizarre idea of cavemen playing football, the story is rather predictable. It follows nearly beat for beat the tale of the plucky underdogs rising to greatness. This makes it easy to guess what would happen next.
Despite this, the movie is still enjoyable. The animation is superb. While the cartoony design of the characters makes them easy to follow and leaves their appearances iconic, the stellar backgrounds show the efforts of the set designers.
The characters also have the pitfall of predictable archetypes, with Dug being the ultimate underdog who wants more in life, and the Chief being a tough leader who wants the best for his people. This makes individual character arcs seem predictable, but the overall character dynamic as a group picks up the slack. The way all the characters work off each other is enjoyable to watch, even becoming heartwarming at times.
The movie’s strongest suit is the comedy. It works in many comedic moments, ranging from slapstick to wit. The comedic timing is excellent.
Despite the predictable story, “Early Man” is still an enjoyable film. The stellar stop motion would satisfy any animation fan, and the comedy will have kids and adults alike howling with laughter. Overall, it wins a four star rating.