EARLY MAN Blu-ray Review
After the dinosaurs have gone extinct from an asteroid that collides with the Earth, one of the surviving tribes of cavemen accidentally invent football. The real football and not that sport with the overpaid athletes that is played in America.
Some time later during the Stone Age, a group descending from those cavemen who are simple hunters living in a quiet valley. One of them is named Dug and he believes in his people more than anyone else. The Chief tries to keep him and the rest of the tribe grounded so that they don’t get into to trouble but one day an army of The Bronze Age comes into the valley. They want to force them out of their homes to take their valley. Lord Nooth is the leader of the army and in a turn of events, Dug ends up on the stadium’s pitch. He challenges Lord Nooth’s football team against the cavemen for rights to live in the valley but if the cavemen lose, they have to work in the mines forever.
EARLY MAN is directed by Nick Park. He is the mind behind WALLACE AND GROMIT and CHICKEN RUN. His animation style is a lost art that keeps the look of his films unique and beautiful. Watching the behind the scenes extras, you can see the painstaking work that goes into these movies. Also, there are quick little jokes and puns that are another trademark of these movies.
Eddie Redmayne – Dug
Tom Hiddleston – Lord Nooth
Maisie Williams – Goona
Timothy Spall – Chief Bobnar
Miriam Margolyes – the Queen Oofeefa
Kayvan Novak – Dino
Rob Brydon – Brian and Bryan
Richard Ayoade – Treebor
Selina Griffiths – Magma
The video is a 1080p AVC presentation that has been shot with still images to create the animation. The 20.2 megapixel camera was then made into a 4k digitally finished film. There are a ton of details in both the foreground and the background. On the characters themselves, you can see the stress marks in the sculpted material from the animator’s subtle movements. The different fabrics and other materials are clear decipherable with the high res of the images. The coloring looks excellent with the shiny bronze, lush greens and Lord Nooth’s lavender. The blacks are inky and have no issues that I can see.
The audio is a Dolby Atmos mix that defaults to a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix. The track is booming with life at pretty much all times. The various places where the sound will echo and the sounds from other the busy spots when football is played sounds excellent. As far as surround sound, the crowds in the stands at the games immerse the viewer like you are sitting there with the people. The LFEs from the elephant’s army has a very strong presence on the mix. The dialogue is well prioritized with the other effects layered into the mix.
SUPPLEMENTS & PACKAGING
-Before the Beginning of Time: Crafting EARLY MAN: This featurette gives some insight on the animation, voice recording, and design process to make a movie like this one.
-Nick Park: Massaging the Funny: This is an extra on some more of the creating process.
-The Valley Meets the Bronze: A bit more about the world building.
-Hanging at Aardman Studios: A Workshop Exploration: This also shows some of the insanity at the studio with the designers and actors as well.
2-disc set w/1 Blu-ray and 1 DVD
Slipcover is included in the first pressing
1080p AVC MPEG-4
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby Atmos
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
THE BOTTOM LINE:
EARLY MAN is an enjoyable and very comical film. I expect nothing less from the group behind CHICKEN RUN and the other animated movies that they have created. The voice cast are well suited for their characters and learning who they are will surprise you. The Blu-ray is superb with the flawless audio and video. The extras are also very good and worth checking out. All in all, for the fans of these animators or if it piques your interest, I highly recommend picking this up without hesitation.