Watson keeps beating me to the punch on these reviews. There’s a reason for that. See, Watson writes his reviews up to be published as soon as he sees things. That gives him the advantage of getting his immediate thoughts and feelings down for all to see. Me? I like to set mine for steady weekdays and leave them there in order to always have weekday content here at Gabbing Geek and to give myself time to edit the typos I know I will always make.
So, with that paltry excuse out of the way, here’s my review for Early Man.
Early Man is a sports comedy set in the barrier between the stone and bronze age when some arrogant Broze Age types take over the valley known as Manchester from a group of clumsy and fairly dumb cavemen. Among the cavemen is an ambitious hunter named Dug (Eddie Redmayne) who, with his dog-like boar pet Hognob, will challenge the technologically advanced citizens of the Bronze Age city that seemed to spring up very quickly to a game of football (or, as my American mind keeps saying, soccer). Winner gets the valley. The bronze-greedy leader of the city, Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston), agrees. With the assistance of a big-time football fan named Goona (Maisie Williams), Dug and his tribe train to play a game they’ve never played before to get back their rather peaceful life.
Here’s the thing: I’m not a sports guy, and I got the impression a lot of the humor, including the pun of the title (it’s more like Early Manchester), would mean more if I actually followed soccer/football. There’s some cute stuff going on, but since much of the movie depended on knowing something about the current game, well, I was lost. There is some blatant England-vs.-Europe stuff in the subtext since Hiddleston’s Nooth speaks with a blatant faux French accent and most of the Bronze Age-ers also seem to be French or German, but I spent a good deal of the movie wondering whether I needed to know more about the sport, and that made the movie less enjoyable as a result. That and the movie’s best gag involving a very large duck was ruined by the trailers. Maybe Jimmy was on to something…
All that said, Aardman Animations does its usual stellar job under director/voice of Hognob Nick Park. Eight out of ten tricky rabbits.