Early Man (2018)

Courtesy of Lionsgate
Courtesy of Lionsgate

A familiar story that still reaches the heart.

Early Man is the newest film out of Aardman Animations Studio. Aardman is known for their stop-motion claymation. Early Man has the same distinct look as other Aardman films such as Shaun the Sheep, Wallace and Gromit, and Chicken Run. Not only does this film have the same aesthetic, but you can also feel the same passion for storytelling. This is a story of a tribe of cavemen and cavewomen who are still in the Stone Age. Dug, voiced by Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), is an exuberant young caveman that dreams of bigger things for his tribe. The tribe’s way of life gets shaken up when a larger, more developed group of people invades their land trying to discover more bronze. Dug refuses to let these intruders get away with this, so he decides to challenge the devious leader of the group, Lord Nooth, voiced by Tom Hiddleston (Thor, War Horse), to a soccer match in hopes of reclaiming their home.

Each character is amusing and well developed. What added to the strong character development was that humor is weaved into every scene in such clever ways. The combination of puns, gags, wacky characters, and giant ducks keeps every scene fresh, even in a familiar storyline. HogNov, a loveable little boar, takes the spotlight in this film. Rarely in a film does a boar have a bigger role than most of the humans, but HogNov does not take his screen time for granted. He knows what is best for his friends and pushes them in the right directions. He also gets himself into silly situations that lead to big laughs.

Early Man uses astounding animation to encapsulate the importance of friendship, teamwork, and competition. A wonderful underlying message this movie touches on is women empowerment. About thirty minutes into the film, Dug meets a charismatic young woman named Goona, voiced by Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones). Goona proves society wrong by leading the Stone Age soccer team to success. Goona is a natural leader and brings out the best in all of her teammates.

Another reason this movie resonated with me is that it showed an appreciation for soccer. Being a soccer player and big soccer fan, I can connect on an emotional level with the characters, and the importance of soccer. Dug and Goona help everyone realize that the real reason to play soccer is for the love of the game. This is further apparent with the contrast of the Bronze Age team because they played soccer selfishly. The players only participated for fame and fortune which ultimately lead them to failure. Viewers quickly realize that success and enjoyment in soccer are found through teamwork and passion.

Early Man is undoubtedly predictable. Do not go into this movie expecting to see something you have never seen before. None-the-less the beautiful animation, amusing humor, and whole-hearted messages outshine the predictable story and make for a fun family film.

5.5/10

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