Posts Tagged ‘Aardman Animations’


A weekly feature from from! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Black Panther,” “Early Man” and the new documentary “Poop Talk.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard and CP24 anchor Nathan Downer have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the latest from Marvel, “Black Panther,” the stop-motion kid’s flick “Early Man” and the number 2 movie of the week, “Poop Talk.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan  to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the most anticipated superhero movie of the Year, “Black Panther,” the latest from AArdman Animation, “Early Man” and the “crappy” new documentary, “Poop Talk.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

EARLY MAN: 3 STARS. “part Flintstones, part kiddie ‘Quest for Fire.’”

The stop-motion geniuses at Aardman Animation are the kings of the underdog. They’ve given us stories of chickens rebelling against farm owners, a sheep who takes charge and leads the flock to safety and hapless adventurer Wallace. In their latest, “Early Man,” there’s a Bronze Age twist to the small fry tale.

A prologue informs us that humans survived the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs. (Remember, this is all humour, not history.) What good could come out of that life-changing catastrophe? The invention of football. Using stones for goalposts, the prehistoric humans starting kicking the meteorite around to create the game that would become the world’s most popular sport.

Cut to a few ages later, near Manchester, around lunchtime. A Stone Age clan, including a spunky caveman named Dug (voice of Eddie Redmayne) and his sidekick Hognob (Nick Park), find themselves rocked by a new era. Bronze Age villain Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston with an exaggerated French accent) has plans to invade Dug and Co.’s comfortable life, seizing their land to turn it into a mine. “The age of stone is over!” he says. “Long live the age of bronze!” It’s up to Dug and his people to protect the interest of the tribe against the more sophisticated enemy, but how? By challenging Nooth’s best football team, Real Bronzio, to a match, that’s how.

“Early Man” is a romp about football, survival and teamwork. It also features some of the best (read worst) Premier League puns. “They’re playing well, early man… United,” usually delivered by characters speak English and crack wise like British music hall comedians. It’s silly stuff, part Flintstones, part kiddie “Quest for Fire,” and while it does contain quite a few laughs it doesn’t have the same anarchic spirit of earlier Aardman films. It’s entertaining, good-natured and I think kids will like it—especially the T-Rex sized duck who is both a menace and a help to the Brutes—but it feels like middleweight Aardman.


FlushedAwayWallpaper1024For the first time ever Aardman Animations, who gave us Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run, have put their clay figures into storage and taken a step into the 21st century, making a film that looks a great deal like one of their homemade stop-motion extravaganzas, but is actually computer animated. Flushed Away, the story of an upper class pet mouse flushed down the loo by a bullying rat, features great animation, an all star British voice cast and something that all kids love—toilet humor.

For the “No Clay! No Way!” purists out there it should be noted that the good folks at Aardman chose to go with computer animation for Flushed Away because of the number of scenes involving water, which is nearly impossible to portray convincingly in stop motion. To lend a handmade patina to the film they used software that reproduces the ‘imperfections’ found in claymation like thumb prints and dropped frames.

Flushed Away does not take place in the under water world of Finding Nemo or SpongeBob. No, most of this movie happens in the London sewer, a dark and dank Ratropolis occupied by rodent citizens who are threatened with extinction by a Toad  King (Ian McKellen) who resembles a froggy Jabba the Hutt and his scheming rat henchmen. Dropped into this locality is Roddy St. James (Hugh Jackman), a snobby pet mouse from the Royal neighborhood of Kensington, who is used to the finer things in life.

Despite the best efforts of the evil Toad and his French Amphibian Ninjas to do Roddy in, he manages, with the help of an enterprising scavenger named Rita (Kate Winslet) to uncover the Toad’s nefarious plot to destroy Ratropolis and discovers that home is where the heart is, not just where all your stuff is. It’s sort of a rodent Upstairs Downstairs with Hollywood action.

Flushed Away lacks some of the cheerful charm of good old Wallace and Gromit, but what it lacks in charm it makes up for in sheer inventiveness in its action-packed story. It swirls along at quite a clip, effortlessly mixing literate verbal and visual jokes—we glimpse a cockroach reading Kafka’s Metamorphosis—with potty humor that’ll appeal to the kids. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find themes of urban loneliness, the reciprocated condescension between Brits and the French and the class system that still exists in Britain.

Worth the price of admission alone is the hilarious Greek Chorus of slugs who provide musical accompaniment for many of the scenes.