Early Man

A film by Nick Park.

An aste­ro­id col­li­des with the prehis­to­ric Earth, causing the extinc­tion of the planet’s dino­saurs, but spa­ring a tri­be of cave­men living in a val­ley. Finding a rough­ly sphe­ri­cal chunk of the aste­ro­id that is too hot to touch, the cave­men begin to kick it around and invent a sports games named football.

Many years later during the Stone Age, a young cave­man named Dug (Eddie Redmayne) lives in the val­ley with his 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 and Eemak (Simon Greenall). One day, Dug sug­gests to Bobnar that they should try hun­ting wool­ly mam­mo­ths ins­tead of rab­bits, but he brushes him off.

A Bronze Age army of War Elephants 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. 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 rea­li­zes that he can pro­fit off 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 local resi­dent of Bronze city named Goona (Maisie Williams). Resentful over the team’s exclu­si­on of women, she hel­ps them ste­al some balls and agrees to help him and the tri­be win the game.

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 being kno­cked out.

Hognob takes his place and blocks a penal­ty kick, and Dug scores to win the match for the cave­men, 4–3. The cave­men win their val­ley back with the respect of Oofeefa, the local team, and the crowd. Nooth tri­es to escape with the inten­ti­ons to ste­al all their money, but Goona stops him with help from a giant duck, they arrest him for his theft and ever­yo­ne gets their money back.

Goona joins Dug’s tri­be for a hunt, but they are cha­sed away by a rab­bit pre­ten­ding to be a wool­ly mammoth.

USA/GB/F 2018, 89 Min., engl. OmU & dt. Fassung, Regie: Nick Park, Kamera: Dave Alex Riddett, Schnitt: Sim Evan Jones, mit den Stimmen von engl. OV: Eddie Redmayne (Dug), Tom Hiddleston ( Lord Nooth), Maisie Williams (Goona), Timothy Spall (Chief Bobnar)
dt. Fassung: Friedrich Mücke (Dug), Kaya Yanar (Lord Nooth, Dino), Palina Rojinski (Goona)

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