Their latest film, Early Man, takes us back to a prehistoric era, where the age of stone is coming to an end. Dug (Eddie Redmayne) is a caveman with ambitions bigger than that of his tribe. He sees their potential in life, while the rest of them have settled for happiness in hunting rabbits. But the Stone Age is coming to an end. They’re falling behind on the times. Enter the Bronze Age. Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston) is seizing control of all the land he can find, and one of the areas he’s laid siege to is Dug’s tribe’s home. To get his land back Dug strikes up a deal with Lord Nooth. If they can beat Nooth’s famed soccer team in a match, they can return home unharmed.
The stop motion design is beautifully crafted and affectionately handmade, but the story isn’t quite as thrilling as you’d hope given the impressive visual design of everything. While fun in the most Aardman of ways, the basic elements of the narrative are very formulaic and predictable. The characters aren’t nearly as memorable as Aardman animations of the past, perhaps due to the lack of connection between character and audience. They’re funny, yes, but you’ll struggle to remember any names or details of their personality. Plus, they’re all out-done by a scene stealing pig.
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