Film Preview: Early Man (2018)

Page Revisions:

(September 10, 2017) Original
(December 3, 2017) New Trailer (#2) / New Posters (#2-#10)
(December 31, 2017) New Trailer (#3) / New Posters (#11-#19)
(January 28, 2018) New Trailer (#4) / New Posters (#20-#25)

Release Date:

February 16, 2018


From IMDb: “Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, Early Man tells the story of Dug, along with sidekick Hognob as they unite his tribe against a mighty enemy Lord Nooth and his Bronze Age City to save their home.”

Poster Rating: C / B+ / C+ (7) / B / C- (7) / C / C+ / C+ (3) / C- / B / D

Review: (#1) A scene from the film, or at least a representation of one, the poster has interesting details, but is a little bit lifeless.

(#2) Another poster in the vein of the prior, which keeps the them and interest going. (#3-#9) This is a haphazard set of posters that form a thematic series, although they don’t share many visual similarities. Interesting concepts for sure, but sloppy design work. (#10) Similar to the first two design, this one suffers from a weaker, though more visceral, color palette.

(#11-17) This septet of character posters uses the dreadfully dull white background, blocky lettering, and corny taglines to try and sell these ugly-looking characters to the audience who hasn’t always been a fan of such caricatures. (#18) A simple, unexciting nature seen with a boring tagline. (#19) The only thing that makes this design better than the prior is the pop of color with the volcano in the background.

(#20-#22) Three character posters with fine details, but that aren’t exciting. (#23) If the prior designs didn’t make the characters ugly, this one certainly makes the case. (#24) Lots of detail, a nice blend of colors, and strong balance and construction make this a solid design. (#25) Time to do away with the cruddy white backgrounds for character posters.

Trailer Rating: C+ / B- / C / C

Review: (#1) Just behind Laika in terms of how much I appreciate all of their films, Aardman is one of the best animation houses out there. That this film feels overwrought at times and cheaply funny is a bit disappointing. Hopefully, the film plays better than the trailer.

(#2) Aardman’s cleverness is on display more here than in their previous trailer, which makes the film look like a modest amount of fun. However, I’m not sure how well it will sell to the broad-comedy aspects of other more popular features.

(#3) If the film didn’t feel anachronistic the first two times out, this trailer puts that comparison to full use. Not only is this supposedly set in the Bronze Age, but it posits that the Stone Age was a direct, definitive swap. Further, the game of football, known in America as soccer, wasn’t introduced until the 19th Century, far far removed from the events depicted in this film. That doesn’t mean that the movie doesn’t have merits, but they aren’t many. If you’re fans of the Aardman Animation films, you have to give this a try, but little feels familiar here, which might drive away the studio’s biggest fans.

(#4) One of the most charming elements of past Aardman Animation efforts was that everyone felt so authentic, if a bit bizarre. Here, the mixture of anachronism, characters that aren’t very familiar, and situations that seem even more ludicrous for this lot, make a film that doesn’t look nearly as fun as it might have.

Oscar Prospects:

Aardman Animation is one of the studios whose films often engender support among animation voters at the Academy, so it will be a short-list contender, but the early release and change in voting rules may hinder its chances.

Trailer #1

Trailer #2

Trailer #3


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Poster #25

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