Purposely didn’t blog this morning because I knew we were heading to the cinema to see Aardman’s “Early Man” and wanted to review it for you.
If somehow you are unfamiliar with Aardman, let me explain: These geniuses are under the leadership of Nick Park and produce the best stop-motion animations, including Wallace & Gromit, Arthur Christmas and Chicken Run (all hilarious, please check them out if you haven’t already).
The humour is British to a tea (see what I did there? 😉 ) and they always have a famous cast ready to give life to the adorable clay characters.
So Early Man is about some cavemen whose home is threatened by bronze age thugs. (Spoilers from here on, so if you want to see it then read this, that’s cool; catch ya later.) The tribe are bunny hunters- I was so thrilled to see the cute/cheeky rabbits from Wallace and Gromit.
Dug (voiced by Fantastic Beasts’ Eddie Redmayne!) is their young dreamer looking for bigger and better things. He sneaks into the Bronze city and sees that the people there are obsessed with football and challenges them to a game with the prize being the Stone-aged homeland. The hilarity of teaching cavemen (and women) to play football ensues and reaches the climactic match with a very close game.
There was a Bronze-age female called Goona (voiced by Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams…who I’m sure I’ve seen in something else, but can’t place her…..) this character basically whips the stone-aged folk into shape.
Being honest, it was a fairly predictable David-and-Goliath-type storyline and was never expected to be a big action-filled blockbuster, but there is a charm to all their work at Aardman that makes you proud to be British and gives it an almost cult following. We were fans going in and this did not disappoint!
The big-wig of the bronze side was Lord Nooth, voiced by Tom Hiddleston (Loki from the Marvel/Thor movies…I did say it was a good cast). He was hilarious and naturally got his comeuppance. I was surprised when I found he was not the same voice as the baddie in Flushed Away, certainly, he was styled in a similar way and had that greed and snobbery of the previous Aardman villains, so well-played Mr Hiddleston 🙂
As a nice little side note, the dog-like wild hog Dug has as a pet is voiced by Nick Park himself. 🙂
It was certainly worth watching just for the voice cast, especially for a Harry Potter fan; aside from Newt having the lead, the queen who dealt with Lord Nooth was voiced by the amazing Miriam Margoyles (Professor Sprout for the Potterheads among you)! Other Voice actors included in the line-up were: Mark Williams as Barry (Mr Weasley in HP) and Timothy Spall as the Chief (aka Wormtail), many British comedians like Richard Ayoade and Rob Brydon and the legend that is Johnny Vegas! In a nice nod to us Benidorm fans, Selina Griffiths (who plays Johnny’s sister in the ITV comedy) was also in the Early Man cast. In short, there isn’t a voice you wouldn’t want to hear!
There are some really hilarious moments in it for the adults as well as the kids, particularly the making fun of over-glam footballers and the training sequence to Mud’s Tiger Feet complete with the proper dance routine! 😀 (The whole soundtrack is awesome by the way, but I’m so much of a Mud fan I can’t even remember the song I liked that came before it!)
So yes, I’d highly recommend it to everyone (head’s up, Lord Nooth does say cr*p once- when he and Dug are in the caves- just so you know if you’re taking very young children). It’s really entertaining, (particularly for us Britsh grown-ups who get the footie and music references,) the cast and music are great, the animals are cute and funny (just like the Creature Comforts Aardman did in the 80s)…and the bunny gets the last laugh! 😉
Full film info and trailer can be found here.
Hope you get to enjoy it soon.