Football as fable


Early Man

  • Animated comedy; Cert PG, contains course language; 1hr 29mins
  • Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Maisie Williams, Tom Hiddleston, Timothy Spall, Richard Ayoade, Selina Griffiths, Johnny Vegas and Mark Williams
  • Director: Nick Park

WHEN this claymation movie begins with dinosaurs fighting each other on one side of a river of molten rock, and humans fighting each other on the other side of the river – the audience realises Early Man is not going to be an accurate depiction of human evolution.

This is a tale greater than time itself. It is a story of humanity’s finest achievement in the realm of physical prowess. This is the story of football – or more specifically, how Manchester United invented football before anybody else ever arrived on England’s bonny shores.

Early Man is a clever, tongue-in-cheek homage to the legendary rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool FC.

The story begins as the prehistoric tribe invents the Beautiful Game. Soon afterwards, a huge meteorite blasts a crater in the middle of their pitch. Fast forward a few hundred years and the crater is a forested paradise.

The remaining residents are confused by the cave paintings of their ancestors playing football as the sport is no longer played by the tribe.
Enter the antagonists who kick the less advanced Mancunians from their crater to mine bronze.

Upon discovering a loophole in the laws that winning a football match would give them the right to claim their home back, the cavemen learn how to play and win back their home.