Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 17 November 2008
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
10,000 B. C.
Las Vegas Round The Clock - http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
The title should say it all, but the storyline veers off in another direction. A tribe of mammoth hunters is visited by Evolet, a girl with blue eyes. (Camilla Belle). Her tribe has been attacked and decimated by the beast with four legs. Old Mother, (Mona Hammond) a wise medicine woman, has predicted Evolet’s arrival, proclaims her to be an omen of good luck, and cares for the girl into adulthood. D’Leh, (Steven Strait) whose own father has seemingly abandoned the tribe, pledges eternal love to the blue eyed girl upon sight. Some things never change, and it seems they got their start well before mass media dictated a standard.
Years pass. D’Leh and Evolet hit puberty, pledge eternal love symbolically represented by an immovable star in the sky. D’Leh goes on a mammoth hunt and slays one of the beasts with a lucky spear placement. There’s fresh meat for a year and D’Leh is a hero who wins the white spear that once belonged to his father (now thought of as a coward). He also wins the right to choose his woman. Who will it be? You haven’t even seen the film and yet you know. Keep that mindset – it will serve you well in this unimaginative, prehistoric fairytale.
The tribe is raided by barbarians on horseback, who steal many of its members including Evolet. Her new master is a Warlord (Affif Ben Badra) who has an evil servant named One-Eye (Marco Khan) a sadistic gargoyle with a shaved head who must have used a time machine to swoop into this film from hundreds of others where that look signifies “bad man.” Just kidding – no time machine here, or I would have gotten my two hours back after sitting through such a disappointing effort.
Of course, D’Leh must take off after Evolet and the other tribe members. He is accompanied by his father’s best friend Tic’Tic (Cliff Curtis) and young Baku (Nathanael Baring). They meet up with and join new tribes in their quest to free captured countrymen and women. Chief Nakudu (Joel Virgel) whose own son has been kidnapped, can speak English, so he signs on to the mission first.
Some of the dialogue is ludicrous, such as when D’Leh warns a drowning Saber-tooth Tiger “If I let you go, you’d better not eat me.” What would really be better is to just shut these guys up and let us follow their actions to discover our own explanations. In another instance, D’Leh wants additional tribes to join his quest and one of the chiefs questions his youth. D’Leh actually says, “I’m older than I look.” I guess no one likes getting carded.
The ensuing plot is much too convoluted, though not particularly difficult to follow, Why make a multi-layered, somewhat boring and meaningless path for the audience to trudge through, when the special effects captivate on their own and the creatures are factual and fascinating? Just the fight to survive in hostile conditions would have been rewarding enough. Here you have to be shown the pyramids in progress, an “Almighty” mortal, slaves, priests, criminals, multi-racial and unevenly accented tribesmen.
It would have been sufficient to just open up a cinematic window of time, to give modern audiences a glimpse of an era where the mindset is so completely different from our own. Instead the writers make several parallels to modern society which scream of contrivance. Let’s get everyone in leather clothes with boots and dreadlocks. Horses as transportation are fairly new, but 90% of the tribes have never heard of them yet; seems they’ve all fallen into the hands of a criminal element. I guess the thugs always do have the best cars. Weather conditions go from blizzard to dessert to rain forest in a matter of days, without benefit of jet travel. Tribes on foot keep up easily with those on horseback and aboard ships. Another lesson: immortal love is based solely on looks.
Evolet spends the entire film in wide-eyed fear, her blue eyes her only commodity, although her clothes get more stylish and cleavage a little deeper as the frames roll on. With gangstas it’s all about the Benjamins, although here you might say it’s all about the Pharaohs.
Remember 1982’s Quest for Fire? No discernible language, no facial beauty, only a mission of life or death with very real consequences. I still remember sequences from that film, while 10,000 BC is already starting to fade from memory. Refreshment sales were brisk during much of the film, a testament to how often the audience lost interest in the talky and irrelevant proceedings. Veteran actor Omar Sharif narrates periodically, lending a bit of class to an otherwise foolish effort.
Director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Stargate, The Patriot) gets too wrapped up in exposition and character introduction to let us sit back and enjoy the skillful visuals. He gets embroiled in a ludicrous plot and age-old (really old) damsel in distress/rescuer heroics. Put the word “legend” anywhere in the story and you don’t have to rely on physics or logic, the very qualities that were needed for civilization to make it through the tough times.
All the (flick) chicks here are awarded to the mammoths, for tolerating shared screen time with prehistoric pinheads and pompous producers.