Story

Early Man is a stop-motion animation made by the creators of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run.

The central character is Dug (voice of Eddie Redmayne), a stone-age man who lives with his funny and happy tribe in a remote and lush valley. The valley sits in a large crater that was formed when an asteroid smashed into the Earth millions of years earlier. Until now, the tribe has been blissfully unaware of the rest of the human population. One day, their peaceful valley is infiltrated by soldiers riding in on the back of armoured mammoths. The soldiers are looking for metal to mine, so they chase out the stone-age tribe and take over the valley. Dug finds himself transported to a large and bustling bronze-age metropolis ruled by the comically evil and greedy Lord Nooth (voice of Tom Hiddleston). In a mad-cap chase, Dug races through the city and mistakenly ends up running right onto a football pitch, where he’s thrown into the role of goalkeeper. When the other players discover he isn’t a football player and is in fact a stone-age caveman, they’re outraged. Dug bravely stands up in front of the crowd and demands that his tribe be given the chance to play football against the reigning champions. If they win, they’ll be able to return to their valley in peace. If they lose, they’ll be forced to work down in the mines.

Dug must return to his tribe and teach them how to play football in the hope they can win the game, but it isn’t as easy as he imagines. Although they’re not the most skilled players, their strength is that they’re a united team with a shared goal. Can Dug and his team win the game and get their valley back?

Themes

Football; ancient man; displaced people; colonialism; wealth and greed

Violence

Early Man has some mild animated violence. For example:

  • The movie uses slapstick violence for comic effect. This includes people falling and bumping their heads, running into each other, and whacking each other with objects.
  • Bronze-age soldiers riding armoured mammoths enter the stone-age settlement and shoot at the people with bows and arrows.
  • The stone-age people try to hunt a rabbit, capturing it and tying it up ready to be eaten.
  • Tribes fight each other with clubs and punch each other.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Early Man has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • A dramatic scene shows an asteroid striking the earth and causing mass extinction and devastation.
  • A giant sharp-toothed duck with rolling ‘crazy’ eyes comes charging towards the stone-age tribespeople.
  • Soldiers chase Dug and his friend Goona through the town.
  • Some scenes feature mild peril. For example, characters jump over hot lava.
  • The tribe chief is hit in the head with a football and for a moment it looks like he might have died.

From 5-8
Nothing of concern

From 8-13
Nothing of concern

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Early Man has some mild sexual references. For example:

  • A stone-age woman makes a comment about liking the football players’ short shorts.
  • A star football player winks suggestively as he says that he likes to ‘tackle’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Early Man has some mild nudity and toilet humour. For example:

  • A football player runs onto the field with no clothes on and stands there with an object strategically placed to hide his genitals. The crowd laughs.
  • There is a cave drawing of a team of footballers with their pants pulled down to ‘moon’ another team. The drawing shows their bottoms.

Product placement

There’s no product placement of concern in Early Man, but movie tie-in merchandise is likely.

Coarse language

Early Man has some mild coarse language. The movie also includes some questionable and potentially offensive terms used in relation to the stone-age tribe – for example, ‘savages’ and ‘primitives’.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Early Man is a very entertaining movie with great stop-motion animation, witty one-liners and plenty of humour that both adults and children can enjoy.

There are some violent and scary scenes that might upset children under five years. There’s also some language that you might prefer your children not to imitate, but otherwise this is a family-friendly movie.

The main messages from this movie are that working together as a team is more powerful than looking out only for yourself. The movie also suggests that forcing people to move off their ancestral land for financial gain is bad.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:

  • being brave
  • working as a team
  • caring about other people in your community
  • fighting for what you believe in.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like colonialism, displacement of people, wealth, corruption and cultural stereotypes.