Run time: 89 mins
Aardman are the little tribe fighting the giants, and putting their faith in old-fashioned storytelling and unassuming comedy. There’s something, more than heartening, about seeing actual fingerprints on clay models, it is painstakingly beautiful.
And what a treat the Wallace and Gromit creators have bestowed upon us now. Early Man focuses on an insular, small-minded tribe who live in a giant crater, cut off from the outside world. They’re surprisingly diverse for such a small group, with varying skin colours and accents, and voices supplied by the likes of Timothy Spall, Selina Griffiths, and Richard Ayoade. Mop-topped young Dug (Eddie Redmayne) is inquisitive and smart by comparison with the rest of his tribe. They’re soon forced out, and into the barbarous Badlands, by the gnashing metal and looming mammoths under the possession of Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston) who subdues his population with the thrill of the Sacred Game… Yep you got it… darts?
These little gap-toothed, eyes-too-close-together characters are every bit as expressive as their digital counterparts; and Aardman, Laika (Paranorman, Kubo) and indeed stop-motion animation in general, should be championed and preserved. (research Jack Whiting) Got it here early, for the whole half term! No excuse then, don’t miss it.