** (out of 5)
March 7, 2008
Steven Strait as D’LEH
Camilla Belle as EVOLET
Cliff Curtis as TIC’TIC
Joel Virgel as NAKUDU
Affif Ben Badra as WARLORD
Studio: Warner Bros.
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
On principle, I really should have liked “10,000 BC” more. After all, it was from Roland Emmerich, and I really tend to like the cinematic junk food that he serves up. However, this latest epic is loaded with problems and doesn’t have nearly enough of the junk that makes his junk food work.
“10,000 BC” is a caveman movie, but the biggest problem it has is that it focuses too much on the cavemen instead of the wicked-cool prehistoric monsters that populate the film’s trailers. In fact, I find it odd that of the three most viewed trailers on the internet, only one of them actually has talking in it.
If only the movie had been like those other two trailers, which were jam-packed with prehistoric creatures and awesome action sequences. Instead, the movie is weighted down with caveman politics and the overwritten life of these rustic tribesmen.
The film opens with a legend of a woman with blue eyes that comes to a village. She claims her village was slaughtered by “demons with four legs,” which are basically raiders on horseback. We zip ahead a couple years to find a group of cavemen waiting for the mammoth herd to come through. After a stellar mammoth hunt, the film slips into boredom for a while.
Soon, the excitement picks up when the “demons with four legs” raid the village and kidnap half the inhabitants as slaves. One of the lead hunters joins a pack of warriors to save their enslaved friends and family.
I suppose there is a lot of interest to what happens in these people’s lives by Emmerich and company, but he never manages to transfer that concern on to his audience. I really felt no connection to the characters, and there was no emotional support I could give to the film. No amount of Omar Sharif’s narration could save things.
Too much of “10,000 BC” seems to be sampled from other movies that preceded it by only a year or so. The obvious “Apocalypto” references are abound, and there are even hints of “Pathfinder” and “300” throughout the movie as well – all done with less effect.
Actually, the only good parts of the film come with the CGI-aided battle sequences. The mammoth hunt is admittedly very cool, as is an attack by a flock of wild dino-birds. However, there’s too much character non-development to suffer through to get to the three and a half decent action sequences. Yes, the climactic battle of mammoths atop pyramids is pretty sweet, but it wasn’t worth the hour and a half wait to get there.
And while this action and graphics work is cool, there are too many weird things in the films that I couldn’t overcome. I can handle cavemen speaking English (even though I prefer the approach from “Apocalypto” or even “Quest for Fire”), but these were the most well-spoken cavemen I’ve ever heard.
Then there’s the question of how the tribe manages to go from the snowy mountains to the rainforest to the desert to the Pyramids of Giza…. in a weekend, no less. There’s not a map in the world that can suspend this disbelief.
Compared to Roland Emmerich’s other epic movies, “10,000 BC” is at the bottom. I even liked “Godzilla” better… because there was enough monster to go around with that one. And the wooden Godzilla-fighting Matthew Broderick had more character than all these cavemen put together in “10,000 BC.”