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5 reviews, 32 user ratings

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10,000 B.C.
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Needs More Ringo"
1 stars

One does not go into a film like “10,000 B.C.” with the hopes that it will somehow be a powerful and thought-provoking examination of the dawn of mankind. No, one goes into a movie like this hoping for some cheesy thrills, reasonably exciting battle sequences involving long-extinct creatures and, most importantly, numerous not-at-all gratuitous shots of the film’s lead starlet modeling a series of fur bikinis as though she were the star of history’s first Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. I think that you will agree that these are perfectly reasonable expectations for a film like this and yet, the only truly amazing thing about “10,000 B.C.” is how thoroughly director/co-writer Roland Emmerich, the man behind such deathless epics as “Independence Day,” that misbegotten “Godzilla” remake and “The Day After Tomorrow,” manages to totally miss clearing even that relatively low bar by failing to supply any of those aforementioned elements. Unconscionably boring, shoddily executed and filled with more bad laughs that most recent comedies, this would-be prehistoric epic is such a monumental botch that it makes that Ringo Starr movie “Caveman” look like “Quest For Fire” by comparison.

Set in some vaguely undefined era–based on the available evidence, it comes sometime before the beginning of civilization as we know it but after the development of eyebrow plucking and comprehensive dental care–“10,000 B.C.” introduces up to an entire tribe of prehistoric people and then proceeds to ignore virtually all of them in order to concentrate wholly on a demographically attractive teen couple. He is D’leh (Steven Strait), a young man who has lived in shame ever since his father, the tribe’s lead warrior and possessor of the White Spear, took off in the middle of the night and left both his son and his spear in the hands of loyal best friend Tic’Tic (Cliff Curtis). She is Evolet (Camilla Belle), a young woman who joined the tribe as a child after her own people were slaughtered by what she describes as being warriors astride four-legged monsters–her other attributes include painfully obvious blue contact lenses and the best pair of eyebrows since Brooke Shields, or is that before Brooke Shields? Anyway, years pass and it becomes time for the Last Hunt, a round-robin event in which the tribe member who manages to kill a wooly mammoth with his mighty spear gets to possess the White Spear, the hand of Evolet (oddly enough , she appears to be the only young woman in the entire tribe–apparently they had a string of reproductive bad luck not seen since the days of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, or is that since before the days of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn? Anyway, D’leh inadvertently kills the mammoth single-handed and wins the respect of his people and the hand of his love, so naturally, he returns the spear to the tribe leaders and informs them that he didn’t earn it at all. Frankly, when you see what happened, I think he is being a little hard on himself–at the absolute worst, he should have gotten credit with maybe an asterisk next to his record.

Perhaps realizing that absolutely nothing of interest has happened as of yet, those aforementioned warriors astride four-legged monsters–okay, a bunch of Arab-looking guys on horses–attack the tribe, burn down their homes and abscond with the fittest to serve as slaves for their pyramid-building projects back home. (Why they can bring down mammoths with little effort yet are stymied by a guy on a horse is never quite explained.) Worst of all, the chief warlord (Affif Ben Badra) takes a shine to Evolet and claims her as his own for nefarious reasons. While all this is going on, D’leh is conveniently pouting away from the rest of the tribe so that he is able to safely watch Evolet and the others be taken away. After th bad guys have safely made for the hills, D’leh and Tic’Tic pull together the few remaining able-bodied fighters–and an adorable runt whose mother was killed in the attack–to set off on a pursuit in which they somehow manage to travel on foot all the way back to Egypt in a matter of days. Along the way, D’leh fights off attacks from unusual and poorly rendered CGI beasts, meets and recruits armies of equally poorly rendered dark-skinned warriors whose tribes were also attacked and single-handedly invents navigation, animal training, javelin tossing and the kind of third-act inspiration speech that usually crops up right before the big action-packed finale.

There will no doubt be many reviews of “10,000 B.C.” charging that the screenplay is little more than a rip-off of Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” just because virtually every plot development on display, large or small, can be traced back to that earlier film. (There is even a moment when a character is trapped at the bottom of a rapidly-flooding pit.) This would be truly unfair to “Apocalypto” because, regardless of what you thought of the film as a whole, it was a lean and taut action narrative that still managed to demonstrate a little curiosity and wonder about its time and place amid all the sound and fury. By comparison, the screenplay that Emmerich and co-writer Harald Kloser (the composer of the scores to such films as “The Day After Tomorrow” and “Alien Vs. Predator” and, on the basis of his work here, a man who should not give up his day job anytime soon) fails both as action and as anthropology–the film is one dull moment after another, even during the big action scenes, and when they aren’t busy boring audiences to death, they are causing them to roll in the aisles with helpless laughter with lines of dialogue so drop-dead hilarious that the great “SCTV” parody “Vikings And Beekeepers” seems positively staid by comparison. I’m thinking of the moment when D’leh is endlessly pouting to Evolet about some thing or another and her only response is “But still.” I’m thinking of the moment when D’leh inexplicably frees a sabre-tooth tiger from a watery death and prefaces this action by saying “Do not eat me when I set you free!” I’m thinking of the moment when our baby-faced hero is told by the leader of another tribe that he is too young to lead people into battle and he responds “Tell him I am older than I look.” These may be the most egregious examples of bad dialogue on display but they are hardly the only ones–there are so many clunker lines throughout that this may well be the first prehistoric epic in which the liberal deployment of such words as “oog,” “agh” and “uck” would have actually improved things considerably. (Don’t even get me started on the inexplicable decision to have the tribe’s old seer somehow experiencing all of D’leh’s adventures from the discomfort of her former hut, a idea that might have been good in theory but which plays so badly that you can’t imagine what Emmerich must have been thinking when he decided to include them in the final cut.)

At this point, some of you may be ready to point out to me that no one goes to a Roland Emmerich joint for the delicate prose and narrative creativity–they go for such cheerfully over-the-top bits of eye candy as the White House blowing up real good in “Independence Day” or Dennis Quaid outrunning bad weather in “The Day After Tomorrow” and to see the cheerfully two-dimensional characters go through their paces and get exactly what they deserve in the end. The trouble with “10,000 B.C.” is that the film fails to deliver the goods even on these most basic of levels. The characters are staggeringly uninteresting to the point where it is almost impossible to remember their names, let alone the reasons why we should care about them for even a second. (It also doesn’t help matters much that the central relationship between D’leh and Evolet is undone by the palpable lack of chemistry between Strait and Belle. The effects are shockingly crummy for a film that presumably had an enormous budget at its disposal–the CGI creatures and landscapes are so utterly unconvincing that even the least tech-savvy audience members will find them to be a massive distraction. As for the action set-pieces, they are big and noisy and full of stuff posing as action but they are so indifferently put together that it is almost impossible to understand what the hell is going on at any given moment. The biggest offender along these lines is the climactic revolt set among a pyramid construction site–there is so much chaotic nonsense going on to so little effect that the entire scene plays like a speculation of what “Land of the Pharaohs” might have been like in the hands of John Landis instead of Howard Hawks.

I have just deployed nearly 1500 words in my efforts to tell you just how bad “10,000 B.C.” is and even so, I fear that I have not managed to fully convey the utter dismalness of the entire enterprise. How can I possibly put across just how terrible this film truly is without making it seem like some kind of camp item that needs to be seen to be disbelieved? How about saying that I would just as soon rewatch any of the Uwe Boll epics I have seen over the years that sit through this claptrap again? Nah, too easy. How about an avowal that this is by far the weakest entry in Roland Emmerich’s entire filmography, outdoing even his disastrous “Godzilla” remake from a few years ago? Closer, but it still doesn’t quite get to the heart of the matter. Wait, I’ve got it. Before the screening that I attended, they showed the new trailer for the upcoming “Batman” film, “The Dark Knight.” I try not to gush too much over trailer these days–virtually any movie (at least those not starring Katherine Heigl) can usually muster up two minutes or so of killer material–but this one looks spectacular. Based on those couple of minutes of footage, it appears that Christopher Nolan has recaptured the sleek style that he deployed in “Batman Begins” while seriously amping up the action and Heath Ledger’s take on the Joker looks absolutely mesmerizing. It is a brilliant trailer–the kind that even the most jaded moviegoers will find themselves instinctually responding to with a certain giddy excitement–but even it isn’t good enough to make it worth sitting through the likes of “10,000 B.C.”

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16808&reviewer=389
originally posted: 03/07/08 00:23:30
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User Comments

6/10/17 Homo habilis I'd rather be decapitated by a Phorusrhacid than sit through 10 minutes of this garbage 1 stars
1/07/16 David Hollingsworth cures your insomnia 1 stars
10/13/09 Anonymous Nice on the eyes, not on the brain. 3 stars
1/12/09 Anonymous. just alright. the visual effects WERE amazing but the story was pretty ridiculous. 3 stars
8/22/08 Mike Best part of the movie: "The End" 1 stars
8/05/08 Screwball Couldn't keep my eyes open 2 stars
7/26/08 christina wasn't great, wasn't bad, but the visual effects were amazing. 3 stars
7/18/08 Shaun Wallner I was totally waiting for the SabreTooth to rip someone to shreds!! 2 stars
7/14/08 Holly totally boring, unrealistic, and unrelatable. Its also historically rubbish... 1 stars
6/04/08 Jayson I woke up around 1,000 B.C. 2 stars
4/12/08 atthezoo good napping movie 2 stars
4/03/08 Colleen Cousineau More like a documentary then a movie. 3 stars
3/21/08 Anthony Feor What more could anyone ask for from a film like ths? It was a fun ride. 4 stars
3/20/08 mani 1 word boring 1 stars
3/20/08 Jules he ruined godzilla (since when was godzilla just a really big lizard?) and now this.. 1 stars
3/18/08 Tara It's garbage. I'm also unaware that eyeliner was discovered then. 1 stars
3/18/08 Quigley Visually stunning but lacking in everything else 3 stars
3/18/08 TreeTiger An incoherent piece of historically mashed up crap! 1 stars
3/17/08 George Ridiculus... Emmerich's bombed this one absolutely 1 stars
3/16/08 Sam Better then I expected, I feel it was worth the money to go see. 5 stars
3/16/08 Dinesh can be nominated for the worst Oscar movie ever made 1 stars
3/13/08 hermione i love this movie and i havnt even seen it 5 stars
3/13/08 Wes I was hoping for so much more! 2 stars
3/13/08 christina bad choice in cast, reallllly boring 1 stars
3/13/08 Anthel Surprisingly boring, and the effects weren't even that special. Watch the trailer instead. 2 stars
3/12/08 tearle white they should have hired the geico cavemen/writers/director 1 stars
3/12/08 kipoyph It's insulting to realize that Emmerich thinks his audiences are a bunch of idiots. 1 stars
3/11/08 Tim wow. utter amazment. how could this movie be so bad? 1 stars
3/09/08 Brandi This movie was absolutely amazing. MUCH better than I expected it to be. 5 stars
3/08/08 action movie fan dissappointing! potentially great-story uneven characters dull-great production-sad let dow 3 stars
3/07/08 SamanthaPayntr i thought a lot fo this movie was funny, but i don't think that's what he ws going for. 3 stars
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  07-Mar-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-Jun-2008



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