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Early Man - Steinzeit bereit (Early Man)
U.S.A./U.K./France 2018

Opening 26 Apr 2018

Directed by: Nick Park
Writing credits: Mark Burton, James Higginson
Principal actors: Tom Hiddleston, Eddie Redmayne, Maisie Williams, Timothy Spall, Richard Ayoade

Anybody remember the American 1960s animated television series, The Flintstones? With Fred and Wilma, and Betty and inventor/gadget-aficionado Barney? Oscar® winner director Nick Park (Wallace and Gromit) emulates that series in this delightfully lustig stop-motion animation film; Parks co-wrote (Mark Burton, James Higginson) the screenplay.

Zooming from space onto Earth, a sequence, about dinosaurs and prehistoric tribes’ earlier period, whisks audiences to the next level: the Stone Age. Living in a paradise, Hognob (Nick Park) enthusiastically supports Dug’s (Eddie Redmayne) idea to tackle mammoths. When Chief Bobnar (Timothy Spall) and tribe hesitate, Lord Nooth’s (Tom Hiddleston) emergence presents much bigger challenges. The tribe is terror-stricken. Inadvertently Dug checks-out Bronze City, stumbling on Goona (Williams); admittedly, he is a sucker for challenges. One thing sets Dug’s tribe apart, though, and once they figure that out, they just may save their home.

Although voice work is grueling, the cast energetically delivers quips and visual wordplay lines that defy not laughing. Aardman Animation shines: clever craftsmanship, irresistible puppet characters – art department’s model makers, armatures, props and dressers; visual effects, special effects, animation and GCI (computer-generated imagery). Sim Evan-Jones edits smoothly to action that Harry Gregson-Williams and Tom Howe’s music completes. Even though the storyline takes a turn toward predictability, no dinosaurs were harmed, and 1000 crowd voices got work. Entertainment value is high, assuring guffawing throughout. (Marinell Haegelin)

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