Nick Park’s excellent stop-motion animation is all very British; however, Wallace and Gromit has a universality that Early Man might be lacking. Sure, soccer—OK, football—is the world’s most popular sport, but Early Man, whose title is a not quite veiled Manchester United reference (which is also a joke made in the movie), may be too European to connect with a broader American audience.
If a tribe of rabbit-hunting cavemen best represented by Dug (v. Eddie Redmayne) and his pet pig, Hognob, want their valley back, they must do battle on the sacred pitch with a team of soccer superstars put together by regional governor Lord Nooth (v. Tom Hiddleston). Fortunately, Goona (v. Maisie Williams), a frustrated young woman with a heck of a leg volunteers to join the cave-team, since her gender bars her from playing with the Bronze Age booters.
Early Man is a cute if underwhelming underdog tale that does not quite live up to the high expectations set by Aardman’s excellent earlier features.