Early Man (film)

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Early Man
Early Man Poster.jpg
British theatrical release poster
Directed by Nick Park
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Mark Burton
  • Nick Park
Music by
Cinematography Dave Alex Riddett
Edited by Sim Evan-Jones
Distributed by StudioCanal
Release date
  • 20 January 2018 (2018-01-20) (BFI Southbank)
  • 26 January 2018 (2018-01-26) (United Kingdom)
  • 16 February 2018 (2018-02-16) (United States)
Running time
87 minutes[2]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $50 million[3][4]
Box office $54.1 million[4]

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, and Timothy 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, grossing only $54 million against its $50 million budget. It currently has an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes.


An asteroid collides with the prehistoric Earth, causing the extinction of the planet’s dinosaurs, but sparing a tribe of cavemen 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), Thongo (Simon Greenall) and Eemak (Simon Greenall). One day, Dug suggests to Bobnar that they should try hunting woolly mammoths instead of rabbits, but Bobnar brushes him off.

A Bronze Age army of War Mammoths led by 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 from 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 resident 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 join Dug’s tribe for a hunt, and they are chased away by a rabbit pretending to be a woolly mammoth.


  • Eddie Redmayne as Dug, a Stone Age caveman and the protagonist of the film.[5][6]
  • Tom Hiddleston as Lord Nooth, an evil king of the Bronze Age City and the main antagonist of the film.[7]
  • Maisie Williams as Goona, a tomboyish vendor and football enthusiast in the Bronze City whom Dug befriends.[8]
  • Timothy Spall as Chief Bobnar, the chieftain of Dug's tribe.[6]
  • Miriam Margolyes as the Queen Oofeefa, the queen of the Bronze Age City.[6]
  • Kayvan Novak as Dino, Lord Nooth's second in command and referee.[6]
    • Novak also voices Jurgend, the team captain of Lord Nooth.
  • Rob Brydon as Brian and Bryan, football commentators in the Bronze Age City.[6]
  • Richard Ayoade as Treebor, a large and cowardly member of Dug's tribe who is constantly embarrassed by his mother.[6]
  • Selina Griffiths as Magma, a member of Dug's tribe who is the overbearing mother of Treebor.[6]
  • Johnny Vegas as Asbo, a fidgety member of Dug's tribe.[6]
  • Mark Williams as Barry, a member of Dug's tribe who isn't bright and has a rock friend named Mr. Rock.[6]
  • Gina Yashere as Gravelle, an injury prone member of Dug's tribe.[6]
  • 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.[6]
    • 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.[9]

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).


As with previous stop motion films created by Aardman, the characters in Early Man were developed over time with the voice actors to determine the way the characters look, move, and speak. The results were turned over to the film's 35 animators to work on individualizing the characters.[10] A crowd of people took part in an audio recording at the Memorial Stadium Home of Bristol Rovers.[11]


On 21 September 2017, a competition was launched on the CBBC television programme Blue Peter to design a prehistoric character inspired by Early Man, with the winner receiving the opportunity to see their character brought to life by Aardman, as well as receiving tickets to the premiere alongside the runners up. It closed on 12 October 2017, and the winner was announced in January 2018.[12]


Early Man was released in the United Kingdom on 26 January 2018, by StudioCanal. StudioCanal will also distribute the film in France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.[13] In the United States, it was released on 16 February 2018, by Lionsgate, through its Summit Entertainment label.[13] The teaser trailer was released on 16 March 2017, and the first trailer was released on 7 September.[14]

Box office[edit]

Early Man has made $54 million worldwide with the top countries being the United Kingdom ($15.7 million), USA ($8.3 million) and France ($6.9 million).[4]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 81% based on 148 reviews, and an average rating of 6.7/10, making it the lowest rated film Nick Park has made. The website's critical consensus reads, "Early Man isn't quite as evolved as Aardman's best work, but still retains the unique visuals and sweet humour that have made the studio a favourite among animation enthusiasts."[15] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 68 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "generally favourable reviews".[16] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[17]


Award Category Nominee(s) Result
People's Choice Awards[18] The Family Movie of 2018 Early Man Pending


Early Man: (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released 26 January 2018
Length 60:57
Label Globe: Soundtrack and Score
Universal Music UK
Singles from Early Man: (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  1. "Good Day"
    Released: 22 January 2018[19]
  2. "Tiger Feet"
    Released: 28 February 2018[20]

The soundtrack, titled Early Man: (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), was released under Lionsgate on 26 January 2018, On the same day the official release of the film on 26 January 2018.

Early Man: (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)[21]
1."Good Day" (New Hope Club) 1:46
2."Hope" (The Vamps)(Album Only)3:15
3."Tiger Feet" (New Hope Club) 3:41
4."I Predict A Riot" (Kaiser Chiefs) 3:51
5."Dug's Theme" (Tom Howe and Harry Gregson-Williams) 2:40
6."Prehistoric Prologue" (Howe and Gregson-Williams) 3:42
7."In The Valley" (Howe and Gregson-Williams) 1:27
8."Meet Dug" (Gregson-Williams) 0:41
9."Meet The Tribe" (Howe and Gregson-Williams) 2:12
10."Rabbit Ambush" (Gregson-Williams and Howe) 1:02
11."Bronze Attack" (Gregson-Williams and Howe) 2:17
12."City Of Bronze" (Howe and Gregson-Williams) 1:04
13."Dug In Bronze Land" (Gregson-Williams and Howe) 0:51
14."Stadium Chase" (Gregson-Williams and Howe) 0:39
15."The Ancestral Call" (Howe and Gregson-Williams) 1:04
16."The Message Bird" (Gregson-Williams and Howe) 1:57
17."Giant Badlands Duck" (Howe and Gregson-Williams) 3:10
18."Stealing Footballs" (Gregson-Williams and Howe) 1:04
19."She Shoots, She Scores" (Gregson-Williams and Howe) 0:45
20."Challenge The Champions" (Howe and Gregson-Williams) 1:45
21."Harp Escape" (Gregson-Williams and Howe) 1:59
22."They’re Not A Team" (Howe and Gregson-Williams) 0:46
23."Message From The Queen" (Howe and Gregson-Williams) 1:05
24."Foul Play" (Howe and Gregson-Williams) 1:18
25."Revelations In The Mine" (Gregson-Williams and Howe) 5:04
26."Royal Game Day" (Gregson-Williams and Howe) 1:40
27."Forfeiture And Humiliation" (Gregson-Williams and Howe) 2:10
28."Do It For The Valley" (Howe and Gregson-Williams) 2:08
29."The Final Game" (Howe and Gregson-Williams) 4:40
30."Chief Is Down" (Gregson-Williams and Howe) 0:54
31."Hognob In Goal" (Howe and Gregson-Williams) 3:34
32."Mousing Around" (Howe and Gregson-Williams) 1:07
33."Trophy Presentation" (Gregson-Williams and Howe) 1:34
Total length:60:57


  1. ^ filmmusicreporter (13 November 2017). "Harry Gregson-Williams Scoring 'Early Man'". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  2. ^ "EARLY MAN (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 16 January 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  3. ^ Jaafar, Ali (6 May 2015). "Studiocanal Doubles Down On Family Fare: Reteams With Nick Park And Gilles De Maistre For New Pics – Cannes". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Early Man". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  5. ^ Ritman, Alex; Szalai, Georg (9 May 2016). "Cannes: Eddie Redmayne Joins Aardman's 'Early Man' Team". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Early Man: Cast & Crew". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  7. ^ "Tom Hiddleston joins the cast of Early Man, voicing villainous Lord Nooth". Aardman. 19 October 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Maisie Williams joins the cast of Nick Park's 'Early Man'". Aardman. 13 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  9. ^ Rose, Steve (14 January 2018). "Early Man review – Aardman claymation comedy brings Brexit to the bronze age". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  10. ^ Failes, Ian (3 April 2018). "Aardman Goes Back to Stop-Motion Basics with EARLY MAN". VFX Voice. Visual Effects Society. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Take part in a Crowd Record for Aardman's latest movie!". Aardman. 29 May 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  12. ^ KS (20 September 2017). "Blue Peter to launch Awesome Animation competition". BBC Media Centre. BBC. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  13. ^ a b McNary, Dave (25 May 2017). "Eddie Redmayne's 'Early Man' to Be Released by Lionsgate in North America". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Aardman announce 2018 release dates for 'Early Man'". Aardman. 7 January 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  15. ^ "Early Man (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Early Man reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  17. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (16 February 2018). "'Black Panther' Arrives: Thursday Previews Come In At $25.2M – Friday Update". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  18. ^ Macke, Johnni (5 September 2018). "2018 People's Choice Awards: Complete List of Nominations". E! News. Archived from the original on 5 September 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  19. ^ New Hope Club (22 January 2018). "Good Day". Vevo. Archived from the original on 22 January 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  20. ^ New Hope Club (28 February 2018). "Tiger Feet". Vevo. Archived from the original on 28 February 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  21. ^ Various artists. "Early Man: (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Amazon. Retrieved 26 January 2018.

External links[edit]