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Early Man is a 2018 British stop-motion animated historical sports comedy film directed by Nick Park, written by Mark Burton and James Higginson, and starring the voices of Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, andTimothy Spall. The film follows a tribe of primitive Stone Age valley dwellers who have to defend their land from bronze-using invaders in an association football match.

The film was produced by Aardman Animations and BFI and was released on 26 January 2018 in the United Kingdom, and in the United States on 16 February 2018. The film received very positive reviews from critics but it was a box office disappointment. It currently has a 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. Early Man/Transcript

Plot

An asteroid collides with the prehistoric Earth, causing the extinction of the planet’s dinosaurs, but sparing a tribe ofcavemen living near the impact site. Finding a roughly spherical chunk of the asteroid that is too hot to touch, the cavemen begin to kick it around and invent the game of football.

Many years later during the Stone Age, a young caveman named Dug (Eddie Redmayne) lives in the village with the chief Bobnar (Timothy Spall), and many other cavemen such as Asbo, (Johnny Vegas), Gravelle (Gina Yashere), Treebor (Richard Ayoade), Magma (Selina Griffiths), Barry (Mark Williams), Grubup (Richard Webber), and Thongo and Eemak (Simon Greenall). One day, Dug suggests to Bobnar that they should try hunting woolly mammoths instead of rabbits, but he brushes him off.

A Bronze Age army of War Elephants led by the Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston) drives the tribe out of the valley and into the surrounding volcanic badlands, proclaiming that the Stone Age has ended and the Bronze Age has begun. Dug tries to attack the army, but falls into a cart and is unknowingly taken to Nooth’s city. While trying to evade the guards and escape, he is mistaken for a football player and led onto the pitch before a full stadium crowd. He challenges Nooth’s elite local team to a match with the valley at stake and promises that the tribe will work in Nooth’s mines forever if they lose. Nooth dismisses the proposal at first, but changes his mind once he realises that he can profit off the match.

Dug discovers that although his ancestors invented football, the other members of his tribe are too dim to understand it. After their only ball is destroyed, Dug and his pet boar Hognob (Nick Park) sneak into the city to steal more but are found by a local resident of Bronze city named Goona (Maisie Williams). Resentful over the team’s exclusion of women, she helps them steal some balls and agrees to coach the cavemen.

Goona points out that the players on Nooth’s team are talented but too egotistical to work together effectively. The cavemen improve in skill and teamwork under her coaching. Nooth receives a Message Bird (Rob Brydon) from Queen Oofeefa, warning him to not underestimate Dug's team. To demoralise Dug, Nooth has him brought to the mines and shows him cave paintings made by his tribe’s ancestors, who proved so inept at football that they never won a match and eventually gave up the sport.

On the day of the match, with Oofeefa (Miriam Margolyes) in attendance, Dug announces his forfeiture as part of a deal to spare the rest of the tribe and agrees to take their place in the mines. However, his reinvigorated teammates persuade him to break the deal and play the match. They are down 3–1 at half-time, but rally in the second half to tie the score. Nooth incapacitates the referee and takes his place, making biased calls in favour of the local team that leads to Bobnar (the cavemen's goalkeeper) being knocked out.

Hognob takes his place and blocks a penalty kick, and Dug scores using a bicycle kick to win the match for the cavemen, 4–3. The cavemen win their village back with the respect of Oofeefa, the local team, and the crowd. Nooth tries to escape and steal the crowd's admission money, but Goona stops him with help from a giant duck; Nooth is arrested for his crimes and everyone gets their money back.

Goona and Nooth's elite local team joins Dug’s tribe for a hunt, but they are chased away by a rabbit pretending to be a woolly mammoth.

Voice Cast

  • Eddie Redmayne as Dug, a Stone Age caveman and the main protagonist.
  • Tom Hiddleston as Lord Nooth, an evil king of the Bronze Age City and the main antagonist.
  • Maisie Williams as Goona, a tomboyish vendor and football enthusiast in the Bronze City whom Dug befriends.
  • Timothy Spall as Chief Bobnar, the chieftain of Dug's tribe.
  • Miriam Margolyes as the Queen Oofeefa, the queen of the Bronze Age City.
  • Kayvan Novak as Dino, Lord Nooth's second-in-command and referee.
    • Novak also voices Jurgend, the team captain of Lord Nooth.
  • Rob Brydon as Brian and Bryan, football commentators in the Bronze Age City.
    • Brydon also voices Message Bird, a pigeon who carries messages.
  • Richard Ayoade as Treebor, a large and cowardly member of Dug's tribe who is constantly embarrassed by his mother.
  • Selina Griffiths as Magma, a member of Dug's tribe who is the overbearing mother of Treebor.
  • Johnny Vegas as Asbo, a fidgety member of Dug's tribe.
  • Mark Williams as Barry, a member of Dug's tribe who isn't bright and has a rock friend named Mr. Rock.
  • Gina Yashere as Gravelle, an injury-prone member of Dug's tribe.
  • Richard Webber as Grubup, a hungry member of Dug's tribe who will eat anything.
  • Simon Greenall as Eemak, a warm and funny member of Dug's tribe who the other tribe has trouble understanding.
    • Greenall also voices Thongo, a strong and silent member of Dug's tribe who mostly responds with a grunt.
  • Nick Park as Hognob, Dug's pet wild boar.

In addition to a rabbit that Dug's tribe constantly hunts every day, a Ceratosaurus and a Triceratops similar to the ones from One Million Years B.C. are seen fighting each other at the opening of the film prior to the asteroid striking Earth. In the end credits, they go by the name Ray (Ceratosaurus), and Harry (Triceratops).

Production

Reception

Release

Home media

Box office

Critical response

Soundtrack

References

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