A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mankind, a documentary about the evolution and survival of the human species, uses special effects and dramatic reenactments to tell the often violent story. While offered in context, many of these often bloody scenes may be too intense for younger or sensitive viewers.
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What's the story?
MANKIND: THE STORY OF ALL OF US is a dramatic documentary series that offers an in-depth look at the history and evolution of human civilization. Narrated by Josh Brolin, it features actor portrayals of historic events showing the various inventions, activities, and pursuits that have helped the human species survive over millions of years. With the help of various experts like celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, food critic Anthony Bourdain, historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and military experts like former Navy SEAL Richard "Mack" Machowicz, the series explains how harnessing natural elements like fire, increasing food production through farming, fashioning weapons from different materials, and creating painted and written communication systems, directly impacted the way early humans survived on the planet. It also shows how the combination of these activities led to mass migrations of people, the development of economic and trade systems, the building of empires, and the creation of social power structures that evolved into modern-day warfare. The emergence of religion, as well as the rise of disease and other human-ills, are also discussed.
Is it any good?
Mankind is an informative, in-depth documentary series. It shows how the human race has managed to survive harsh elements, predatory animals, disease, and each other, through invention, creativity, and by taking risks. The series also highlights how small activities that we take for granted today, such as heating our food and writing, are the same acts that literally transformed the human species, and contributed to the rise of human civilization billions of years ago.
History buffs will enjoy Mankind, but some folks might be put off by many of the violent reenactments featured here, even if they are being shown in context. Meanwhile, some of the scientific and sociological explanations about things like the original source of human DNA and the rise of religions may directly conflict with some viewers' personal belief systems. Nonetheless, it's a well-researched, and entertainingly dramatic discussion about humanity, and what we, as a species, have actively done over the centuries to survive.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the history of the human race. What do you believe are some of the most significant things the human species has invented and/or developed over the centuries? Are there things you wish humans had not invented? Why?
Is it necessary to reenact violent events in great detail, especially if it is for educational purposes? Why do you think documentaries include violent scenes? What impact can these images potentially have on viewers, especially kids?
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