This post is in partnership with Lionsgate.
An Aardman stop-motion comedy featuring prehistoric cavemen and creatures? Yes, please! My husband and I adore Aardman’s style of storytelling, claymation form of animation. We have probably seen everything the Aardman team has ever produced. Early Man is the studio’s latest movie featuring a tribe of happy cavemen whose primitive lifestyle is challenged when Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston) from Bronze Age City wants to expand and tear down their village. Progress isn’t always pretty. Doug (Eddie Redmayne), one of the tribe members, discovers that his ancestors played “Football”. He isn’t sure what this means until he accidentally winds up in the Bronze Age City. Little did he and his village know how the sport will change their lives forever.
Here are some things about the film that can spark conversation with the kids.
1) Claymation – all of the characters are made of clay and then animated by designers who photograph every movement, frame by frame. I attended a screening where the child behind me asked if “they were made out of Play-Doh”. I love how curious she was about what she was viewing on the big screen. Claymation is eye-catching, playful and a painstakingly slow process, but the results are delightful. Try this technique at home, and create your own stopmotion shorts.
2) Let’s hear it for the girl! Why were girls not allowed to play football? Goona is from the Bronze Age City, who sneaks onto the football field late at night to practice her plays, when she’s discovered by Doug. She can’t play because according to the rule book, it’s a boys only game.
3) Did Cavemen die young? Chief Bobnar (Timothy Spall) is the elder leader of the tribe. We find out that he’s only 32 which seems to be advanced geriatric age. Why didn’t cavemen live longer? What is the average lifespan of a human these day?
4) What the eyes tell you – All of the animals featured in Aardman’s animations have a ton of personality. They don’t speak, but their expressive eyes say it all. Sean the Sheep says so much through his eye movements, as well as his crazy antics. Doug’s sidekick Hognob (a boar) is underappreciated, smart and extremely loyal friend to his owner. Hognob’s eyes say a lot about what he’s feeling throughout the film. Acting with just your eyes is really hard. My husband tried out for The Blue Man Group, where he could only show emotion through his eyes. Can you share how you’re feeling with just your eyes?
5) Football/soccer – If you’re a fan of football or soccer, it’s fun to see the earliest players of the game. But, my daughter wanted to know, why do they call it football? I mean, it makes sense to call it football, you do kick the ball with your foot. Find out why other countries call it football, and why Americans decided to create their own version of football.
6) Stone Age and Bronze Age – Who doesn’t love a film that features dinosaurs as well as other massive prehistoric animals? But, after thinking about the periods of the film, the timing seems to be a little off. The two ages didn’t really overlap, but this is another discussion with your young archaeologists to discuss the different tools that were used during the different ages.
Giveaway: $25 Visa to see the film in theaters plus a soccer ball and Early Man T-shirt.