Early Man

Certificate: PG

Voices of: Eddie Redmayne, Maisie Williams, Tom Hiddleston, Timothy Spall

Release date: 2018

3 out of 5


British animation studio Aardman – the creators of Wallace And Gromit, Shaun The Sheep and Chicken Run – turn their claymation figures into footballing cavemen for this prehistoric comedy adventure.

Young Dug (Redmayne) and his tribe lead a peaceful life hunting rabbits and enjoying their lush surroundings until the day evil Lord Nooth (Hiddleston) and his minions turn up, determined to destroy their home so they can mine for precious metals. When Dug tries to stop Bronze Age Nooth’s evil plans, it is decided that the matter will be settled not on the battlefield, but on a football pitch. Can Dug’s scrappy team beat Nooth’s professional players?

While this starts as a prehistoric giggle, complete with fantastic-looking dinosaurs, woolly mammoths and a giant duck, it becomes more of a sports underdog movie in the second half, with less of the brilliant visual gags we’ve come to expect from Aardman. Dads (especially fans of Escape To Victory) will love it, but younger kids expecting the delicious silliness of Shaun, Wallace, Gromit and 2012’s The Pirates! are likely to be a little less entertained.

Sweet, terrific to look at, and very British (one suspects some of the gags won’t travel past the English Channel), this is a fun movie that could have been brilliant if it had been just a bit more bonkers.

Is Early Man suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

Very young children (under the age of 6) may find Lord Nooth a little scary.

There are a few scenes that may upset very sensitive young children – a meteor strikes the earth, you see dinosaurs fighting, and there is a giant duck who appears threatening when you first see it.

There is some very mild rude humour.

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