Early Man Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews this prehistoric romp that tells the epic story of Dug the caveman and his goofy friends, who challenge invaders to a game of soccer in order to win back their home.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 2018
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 89 minutes
Genre: Family

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maise Williams, Timothy Spall
Directed by: Nick Park
Music by: Harry Gregson-Williams
Written by: Mark Burton, James Higginson
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 15, 2018

“Stone vs. Bronze – Clash of the Ages”

My Take:

Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures roamed the Earth, Early Man tells the story of courageous caveman hero Dug (Eddie Redmayne) and his best friend, Hognob, as they unite their tribe against a mighty enemy — Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston) and his Bronze Age City — to save their home.

From the creators of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run, Early Man is a stop-motion animated adventure that doesn’t have the narrative reach of the better films from its makers, adhering more to a simple plot, uninspired characters and, the kind of slapstick that should prove fun more so for youngsters. Mark Burton and James Higginson story, as told through the experiences of the stone age protagonist and his band of goofballs is trite but, mildly entertaining. It’s conveyed through the chuckle inducing expression that is stop-motion animation which helps. At the end of the day Early Man is fair family entertainment that can sustain young audiences but, leaves their parents out in the cold. At 89 minutes I found it dragged just a bit but, didn’t mind it for what it was.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide: 

The rating is for rude humor and some action.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 

Video: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones: 
  • Compression: 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

Early Man comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

This is a rewarding video presentation that represents this animated film’s elements quite well. Colors are visually pleasing with a natural rendering across the spectrum used. Detail is noteworthy as the image appears sharp especially during the close-up camera work associated with the stop motion animation. Contrast and black levels are stable with ample depth and perceptible delineation. I found this to be a whistle clean video encoding that looked terrific.

The 7.1 Dolby TrueHD (Atmos core) makes effective use of the surround platform and offer detail rich sonic clarity, and crystalline dialog reproduction. The mix doesn’t bombard you with aggressive surround sound. It applies it when appropriate and combines discretely placed directional cues with supporting ambience that fills the listening area nicely. The front and rear sound field never collide but work in unison to render the soundtrack’s elements. Dynamic range and bass response is appropriate, adding thematic emphasis and resonating punch when called upon. This is a solid audio presentation that mates well with the source material.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the moderately active variety that makes steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics, music and discrete sound effects. This is done very well and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. The mix effectively places effects/sounds within the soundstage which place you within the scene, in turn, adding an enriching element that heightens the feeling of immersion. While this isn’t what I would regard as an aggressive Atmos mix I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere combined with discrete object placement. I think that it complimented the source material and made for an entertaining listening experience.

Bonus Features:

  • • “Before the Beginning of Time: Creating Early Man” Featurette
    • “Nick Park: Massaging the Funny” Featurette
    • “The Valley Meets the Bronze” Featurette
    • “Hanging at Aardman Studios: A Workshop Exploration” Featurette
  • DVD
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Early Man is a mildly entertaining, formulaic, family adventure, that will appeal more to young viewers, while will leaving their parents rather bored. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring crisp high definition video, excellent lossless sound quality, including a solid Dolby Atmos mix, and a fair supplemental package that is worth exploring for fans. I suspect that if you enjoyed the previous films from its filmmakers Early Man has something to offer. My advice would be to give it a rent prior to purchase either way.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems

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