The art of the stone age
To think that it's been almost 30 years since Nick Park formed the clay piece of art that was Wallace and Gromit, the clay-mation shorts that paved the way for stop-motion animation. Nick and his crew have come a long way as they continually find new ways to perfect their art while also finding new inventive ways to tell stories as well. On paper, Early Man sounds like the most cockamamie plot ever written and yet the result turns out to be something endearingly entertaining and funny to boot. The story takes place during the Stone age, centering on a cave man called Dug (Eddie Redmayne) who lives with his tribe in a valley. Dug has aspirations to help the tribe prosper by suggesting they hunt bigger game instead of just rabbits but his ideas are brushed aside by the chief leader Bobnar (Timothy Spall) who insists that the tribe is better off conforming to a simpler lifestyle. Dug continues to be optimistic in hopes that the chief will come around to his idea but things take a sudden turn when a Bronze age army led by Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston) invades the valley and drives Dug and his tribe out. In an attempt to fight back, Dug is inadvertently caught and taken to Nooth's city where he finds the opportunity to challenge Nooth to reclaim his home in a game of (get this) soccer. Like I mentioned earlier, the plot for Early Man doesn't sound like it would make a lick of sense but once you embrace the story and divulge in the characters, the film carries the same heart and charm as in Aardman's previous projects. The animation is smooth and colorful, a caliber Aardman's never had problems with, and the humor is spot-on; same goes for the voice actors and the way they infuse themselves with their characters. Personally, I couldn't find any faults with Early Man other than......it's over too quickly? No seriously, it's really hard to find anything wrong with this film; I loved it that much. Aardman and stop-motion fans alike will definitely enjoy what Early Man has to offer, and whether you're a kid or a grown-up, the film is guaranteed to make you grin with glee.