Saturday, May 23, 2015

Early Look at Aardman's 'Early Man'

With Aardman's latest already out overseas, we have gotten a look at their next feature!

Oh, and it's a stop-motion feature too!

The project is called Early Man, it's from director Nick Park, who has directed the classic Wallace & Gromit shorts, the Wallace & Gromit feature film (please tell me, Aardman, how's the next one coming?), and Chicken Run. Mark Burton and John O'Farrell (both did Chicken Run and Curse of the Were-Rabbit) will write the script.

We even have an early look at it!

What's the story? Deadline says...

"Set at the dawn of time, when dinosaurs and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, Early Man tells the story of how one plucky caveman unites his tribe against a mighty enemy and saves the day, while also inadvertently inventing the game of football."

I don't know about you, but I think Aardman is doing a story about cavemen because of what happened to a scrapped project of theirs called Crood Awakening...

What's Crood Awakening, you ask? A long time ago, Aardman joined forces with an up-and-coming DreamWorks. They saw great success with 2000's Chicken Run, which was Aardman's first feature-length film. Chicken Run was actually, at the domestic box office, the highest-earning non-Disney animated film for a little while. DreamWorks' own Shrek would take that crown a year later. It was also instrumental in leading to the creation of the Best Animated Feature category. Their next feature was Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit. While rightfully critically acclaimed, it wasn't a smash hit, but it still was a profitable feature.

When Were Rabbit was coming out, Aardman began development on a feature called Crood Awakening, which would be about - you guessed it - cavemen. Kirk DeMicco was one of the writers, alongside John Cleese, who would voice one of the leads. However, Aardman and DreamWorks' partnership soured after the release of Flushed Away in 2006. The rights to the Crood Awakening concept stayed under DreamWorks' wing, and they reimagined it as a CG feature. DeMicco stayed onboard, writing and directing it alongside Chris Sanders, who was attached to the project shortly after he left Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2006. The only thing that the finished film and Aardman's concept had in common was the setting, that's it.

So is Aardman making this film because they still want to make a film about cavemen? Maybe.

Anyways, the plot - simple as it may seem - sounds like fun and it should be loaded with the usual wit and creativity that Aardman is known for. Like this year's The Shaun the Sheep Movie, it'll be distributed overseas by StudioCanal, who also saw a big success with the surprisingly charming Paddington.

Now I wonder if Lionsgate will pick it up for US release. It took a little while for Shaun the Sheep to find a US distributor, so I don't know. Is Lionsgate willing to do business with Aardman? I sure hope so, or someone at least.

There doesn't seem to be much on what the release date could be, but considering that they seem to have the look of it determined, I can imagine it hitting next year or 2017. What say you?

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