10,000 B.C.

The creators of Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow bring us a prehistoric heroes journey about a man who travels long distances to save the love of his life and unite his people in uncertain times. The film is directed by Roland Emmerich, who also co-wrote the script with Harold Kloser.

Well, its good to know that in 10,000 years of human evolution, that its still always, in the end, about a girl. Director Roland Emmerich attempts to dazzle us once again with a visual effects feast, and at least in that regard (mostly) the movie is a success. Sadly, great visual effects does not a good movie make, as many films have learned before 10,000 B.C., and I suspect many will continue to learn after it. The film focuses on D’Leh (Steven Strait), who is your typical orphaned boy-becomes ambitious young man-becomes prophesized hero in these types of movies. D’Leh is the outsider of his prehistoric tribe of men, after his father seemingly abandons his people when D’Leh was very young. As a result, D’Leh is obsessed with becoming the lead hunter and earning the white spear from his friend and mentor, TicTic…not to be confused with TicTac (Cliff Curtis), and earning the right to claim his love, Evolet (Camilla Belle) for himself. Evolet, as it turns out, is from another tribe who, when she was young, were all attacked and killed and she then eventually made her way to D’Leh’s tribe. He becomes captivated with her, and she him at a disturbingly young age. Predictably, the same attackers find them and capture Evolet and many others in the tribe, sending D’Leh off on his heroes quest to save her.

The film does have fun moments, but unfortunetly they’re spread far between bad ones. The film would’ve benefitted from a few more creature scenes. Although, the Sabretooth tiger from the poster looked extremely fake and not convincing at all. Besides the giant kitty, the rest of the creatures, what little we see of them, look breathtakingly cool. The huge Mammoths are wonderfully done, even if the interaction with the actors screams green screen, but still the opening hunt scene is enjoyable and helps hold your attention for awhile. Another good scene in the film is the oversized-mutagen soaked Ostrich-Raptor things attacking them. That is a fun scene. The cinematography also helps redeem the film. The locations are very well filmed, and the film does a good job of giving you a sense that it really does take place in the vastness of prehistoric times. That’s about where the film’s good points end.

There isn’t a speck of originality in the script or film, and as a result, it relies on captivating you enough with the visuals and danger music cues to hold your attention. It is your standard hero film. The outsider loves the hot girl, who gets captured and the hero goes out with his mentor to save her and accidently unites his people along the way. Oops. That’s basically what it seems like, because he is all about the girl and the whole saving his people thing is just an afterthought. Oh, and another cliche is the goofy sidekick tagging along on the journey for no apparent reason. You can literally guess what’s going to happen each step of the way. Except something in the end, and without giving it away, it’s a moment in the final half-hour or so, when a particulary unrealistic and ridiculous big reveal occurs and any enjoyment I was having, and any captivation I felt both melted away when I saw it. I literally said “What?!?” out loud when I saw it.

Being a history major, I took some offense to the leaps they made in that final act of the film. I can buy into all the tribes magically communicating in Africa and coming together to overthrow a foreign invader, I forgive character names worse than those in the Star Wars prequels, like D’Leh and TicTic…TicTic, really?…I can forgive the really bad dreadlocky wigs everyone seems to be wearing, and I can even buy mutant ostriches and the really bad and really blue contacts Camilla Belle is forced to wear, which weren’t actually as bad as the ones Jessica Alba wore in Fantastic Four. That’s fine, but, where they go is just ridiculous and only compounds the other areas in which the film sorely lacks in either originality or spectacle.

10,000 B.C. is basically a summer popcorn movie that was so bad, the studio knew it wouldn’t make any money unless they released it in March. That’s all you really need to know. The movie is about as unstimulating as a would-be Hollywood epic can get. The plot is moved along, inbetween action scenes of course, by convenient prophecy gloobily-gook, mostly in narration. Hint: When a movie needs bad narration to help explain the prophecy its attempting to make sound real, and important and mystical, then the script probably needed some work.

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