MOVIE REVIEW: Early Man takes aim and mostly fires
YOU don't need to be a fan of the world game to enjoy Early Man.
The new claymation film from the creators of Wallace and Gromit and Shaun The Sheep imagines how the sport could have originally come about during cavemen times.
Immortalised in cave paintings, soccer has become a 'sacred game' for the residents of a Bronze Age city ruled by the morally questionable Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston).
But when their mining explorations disturb a peaceful valley home to a primitive group of hunters, it's up to plucky young hero Dug (Eddie Redmayne) to unite his dumb but lovable tribe as a team to win back their home.
The only trouble is, this isolated group has never played the sacred game.
They're still running around with rocks and spears, while their Bronze Age counterparts have developed an array of metal tools and weapons.
Enter Bronze Age gal Goona (Maisie Williams), who loves the game but isn't allowed to play because she's a woman.
She agrees to help train the hunters in exchange for the chance to play. Football is really just the conduit for this underdog story.
Dug and his sidekick Hognob, a bush pig, are lovable enough to cheer for but they're not quite as charming as Wallace and his canine companion Gromit.
You can't blame director Nick Park for wanting to try something new. Early Man is a delightful family film that fits well into Aardman Animations' canon, even if it doesn't reach the same heights as its predecessors.
Early Man opens in cinemas tomorrow.
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Timothy Spall, Miriam Margolyes, Rob Brydon.
Director: Nick Park
Verdict: 3 stars