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

Director: Nick Park

Release date: 26th January 2018

Our story begins many millions of years ago in the Neo-Pleistocene era, somewhere near Manchester, where primitive man and dinosaurs both exist. One day a huge meteor crashes into the Earth and the cavemen invent a new sport with it. Flash forward to many Ages later and we meet Dug (Eddie Redmayne) and his friend, a pig called Hognob (Nick Park). Along with the rest of their tribe, they head out to do a day’s hunting. Whilst foraging through the forest they are attacked by some mysterious ‘creatures’ who take over their valley. Dug accidentally gets taken by the strangers and ends up trapped in their gated village. While trying to escape he gets dragged into a huge arena where a football match is about to begin. He has no idea what’s going on but tries to fit in. He gets caught by the people’s leader, the evil Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston) and he sends Dug off with some soldiers to be done away with. Dug has a brainstorm and says to Lord Nooth that he and the tribe challenge the Bronze Age football team, Real Bronzio to a football match. Can he rally his friends and teach them how to play ‘the beautiful game’ or will they end up working in the mines?

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Early Man’ is brought to you from the brilliant mind of Nick Park, whose name you might know from a small little animation, called ‘Wallace & Gromit’. We first met Wallace and his faithful hound back in 1989 in ‘A Grand Day Out’, and since then they have found a solid and much loved place in people’s hearts. There are not many people you can mention Wallace & Gromit to and they’d not know what you were talking about. Since they debuted, we’ve also been introduced to a band of rowdy chickens in ‘Chicken Run’ and also ‘Shaun the Sheep’ who got his own movie in 2015. At a Gala screening of ‘Early Man’ recently, Nick spoke of ‘Shaun the Sheep 2’ being currently in production. I also asked him about the origins of Wallace & Gromit and he said that the character of Wallace is loosely based on his own dad. He also spoke of adventures that his family had when they were kids.

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You know exactly what you’re getting when you know you’re going to watch one of Nick Park’s animations; a brilliantly funny story, great characters and lots of fantastic ‘hidden jokes’ that the kids might not necessarily get. There are not that many movies these days that you can really go to as a family, i.e. little tots and their grannies both able to see the same movie. Nick Park’s animations are a genre all of their own.

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If you love the Wallace & Gromit animations than you’ll definitely love ‘Early Man’; a heart-warming story of a tribe of cavemen fighting for their home. The film runs for just over an hour and a half, and will keep the kids entertained throughout. The grown-ups will enjoy it too with all the usual in-jokes, plus a great story and great characters. The voice-over talent is a who’s-who of voice over legends that you’ll recognise as soon as they begin to speak. There’s the brilliantly funny Mark Williams, Johnny Vegas and also Richard Ayoade. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Have a family night out and go see this fantastic movie!

Overall: 8.5/10

 

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