Early Man is late to the game. What do cavemen and soccer have in common? Absolutely nothing, but Aardman decided to make a movie about it. Of course they do call it football since it’s a British production. After Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, studio founder Nick Park made Early Man his next project. I really think Aardman needs to choose their projects more carefully. Between The Pirates! and Early Man, no original concepts come close to what came before. It’s an enjoyable cave adventure, but not exactly Oscar material.
Which is why I’m glad it wasn’t one of many stop-motion animated movies nominated. It’s alright to be average every once in awhile. The animation is up to the usual standard, but it does look goofier than usual. This time the talented British cast consists of the mostly unrecognizable voices of Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, and Timothy Spall. Early Man takes place during a semi-modern Stone Age. Dug thinks big as he hunts with his pet boar Hognob and fellow dimwitted cavemen & women.
When their land is threatened, Dug discovers a much more evolved civilization from the Bronze Age. The eccentric and greedy Lord Nooth keeps everyone distracted with soccer matches. Apparently cavemen invented soccer, so Dug challenges the ruler to a high stakes game. He gets help from a lovely Bronze Age vendor named Goona and manages to teach his tribe how to play. Early Man is a funny romp, but I’m still not a big enough fan of sports or cave people to get properly invested.