Early Man Review: A Family Film about Football

Back in prehistoric times (near Manchester, England), the ‘early man’ lived a fairly simple life. Wake up, greet one another, and hunt rabbits. But all of that changes when an evil man comes to steal their land and destroy their way of life.

Directed by Nick Park, Early Man tells of how a young boy named Dug (Eddie Redmayne) along with his sidekick Hognob (Nick Park) save their tribe from the evil Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston) who wants to destroy their forest and mine their precious land for ore.

Now when the film first began, the first thing I noticed was the logo for StudioCanal which immediately brought back memories of May 2014, our first experience at the Cannes Film Festival. They were one of the major sponsors of the festival and the provider of our internet access, so I knew immediately the comedy would be ‘different’ from what we’re used to locally and I was waiting to see the European influence in this film. Remember how I said the story begins near prehistoric Manchester? Well, Dug and his tribe have British accents and Lord Nooth and his Bronze Age people have French accents. If you’re wondering if it could be any more European than this, it can. The entire film revolves around football (American Soccer) and I couldn’t have been happier.

Early Man Image

Naturally, the people of the Bronze Age were much more advanced in their way of life than Dug and his tribe, but a young girl named Goona (Maisie Williams) felt sorry for Dug. To attempt thwarting Nooth’s hostile takeover of their land, Dug agreed to a football match between his tribe and the best football club of the Bronze Age, Real Bronzio (think Spanish club Real Madrid). Goona was a football diehard but women weren’t allowed to play. Dug seized the opportunity and invited her to play on their team and teach them the game and she accepted. I love how the Real Bronzio stadium looks just like Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu.

Early Man is a gift from the same people that gave us Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run. It’s a family comedy that’s laden with humor for adults but balanced enough that both children and adults will be entertained. Early Man gets an 8 out of 10. Now if you excuse me, I have to go outside and practice to get my skills up to that of Goona and Real Bronzio.

 

-Jon J.

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