Nick Park returns to the world of moulded plasticine with his latest stop motion picture Early Man. Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston and many fellow Brit favourites star in this stone-age footy, flick set shortly after the dinosaurs' extinction. The action kicks off when Dug and his cave man tribe have to fight for their home as the thuggish Lord Nooth brings the bronze-age crashing into their cozy world...
Park's cave man caper may be set at the dawn of time but sadly is prehistorically uninspired. Creator of the legendary Wallace and Gromit along with the equally legendary (and academy award winning) Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Early Man fails to live up to the roaring slapstick success of its predecessors. Known for it's irresistibly zany Brit humour - Park fails to find the charm established in his works, clumsily -and perhaps surprisingly - falling into the trap of too much toilet humour over sharp one-liners.
Its apparent the majority of Early Man's efforts go into the gorgeous clay stop motion, which aside a from a few iffy CGI moments runs like clockwork. With Disney rapidly approaching global animation domination its wonderful to see smaller studios - like Aardman Animations - use old-school plasticine models and still seem impressive, especially in today's technology dependant society. Each fantastic actor voicing the clever clay figures may play for laughs but can't compensate for an under ambitious story that does far too little. Perhaps Early Man would have worked better as a thirty minute short rather than an overstretched feature.
For approximately eighty nine minutes the forever endearing Eddie Redmayne runs amok with his cave man tribe not really knowing what to do with themselves. The film would most certainly have been more interesting if it focused a little more on the the weird wonders of the stone-age moving into the bronze-age, yet simply becomes a film about prehistoric football. It has so much potential - yet so little of it is fulfilled.
Even taken at face value unfortunately it’s all rather dull. It's one little kids will most certainly enjoy and perhaps footy fans even more so, whereas I fear that film goers in general may not be very impressed. As always its up to you, but just be wary - this one is significantly unfunnier and far less original that any of Park's previous outings. There may be the odd chuckle and the animation certainly looks great, but for the most part Early Man should have probably stayed put in the stone age.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.