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10,000 B.C.
Reviewed by Gary Mitchel, © 2008

Format: Movie
By:   Roland Emmerich
Genre:   Cavemen
Review Date:   March 14, 2008
Audience Rating:   PG-13
RevSF Rating:   4/10 (What Is This?)

"Here is where the legend of Blue Eyes began." -- Narrator

Just about everyone I know enjoys dinosaurs and cavemen. We had plastic dinos as kids. We flock to see any movie that has either cavemen or dinos in it. I can remember staying up to watch the premiere of Quest for Fire on HBO, to watch the cavemen trying to survive.

I also remember falling asleep from boredom about twenty minutes into it.

Hey, I was eleven and not ready for an art house caveman flick. Ringo Starr’s Caveman was much more my speed.

So it was with a mix of hope and fear that I went to see 10,000 B.C. I hoped it would provide primitive fun, but I was afraid because it’s the latest flick from Roland Emmerich, who brought us IguanaZilla and The Day After Tomorrow. He also did Independence Day and Stargate. But those good movies were twelve years ago.

So here’s the skinny: In a misty land of frozen tundra, there live prehistoric people who hunt mammoths, in tents made from their massive hides and bones. It’s your standard hunter-gatherer people, with the required old mystic woman with a few dozen bones in her hair. She has a prophecy when the mammoth hunters find a blue-eyed girl on the steppe, a survivor of a raid by our required primitive bad guys.

Luckily, this prophecy is all about our movie’s hero D’Leh (Steven "Warren Peace from Sky High” Strait). The prophecy is the tribe’s best hunter, who carries the white spear, will claim the blue-eyed girl, named Evolet (Camilla “The Patriot” Belle) as his wife and lead the people to a hunger-free land.

The old mystic lady leaves out the part of the raid upon the village by horseback riding goons. But that’s mysticism for you, always leaving out the important bits.

So we flip forward a few years to when D’Leh and Evolet are appropriately aged to be together, and the tribe has a mammoth hunt to decide who gets to take over the holding of the white spear from Tic’Tic (Cliff “Live Free or Die Hard” Curtis). Yes. His name is Tic’Tic.

Hijinks ensue, and Warren Peace must take off on a quest to rescue Evolet and the rest of their people.

The only exciting things to take place in all this are the mammoth hunt and the raid on our hero’s village, and neither of those is edge of your seat stuff. So it's a slog before we get to where any of the meat of this flick resides.

There are some good things in the flick. The CGI is serviceable. I’ve seen better, but I’ve also seen a lot worse (I’m looking at you, A Sound of Thunder). The narration by Omar Sharif tries to give the movie a mythic feel.

An ostrich attack starts out decent, with quick flashes of the beasts as they take people out, but when I finally saw them in all their digital glory, the first thing I thought was “Tae Kwan Dodos, ATTACK!

The movie doesn’t have all these different people speaking the same language, but sets up a reason everyone can communicate, which was a nice touch. It has some very cool visuals, including ships built by . . . well, that would be telling.

On the down side, well, where to begin. The film looks like Emmerich glanced at the Wikipedia page for the era and tossed whatever he liked into the script. It\'s such a weird blend of things, that I was reminded of Stargate, and expecting Daniel Jackson to come over the far ridge.

Our heroes walk from what I assume is the Russian steppe to what might be Egypt and back in what looks like a few weeks. The character’s names are all of the “quick, I need a grunt” variety.

Near the end a brand new prophecy is introduced, and there’s this glaring deus ex machina at the end, which took the movie from an enjoyable six to down to a final rating of four.

10,000 B.C. could have been a fun eye-candy flick with cavemen, giant monsters and thrills, a kickoff for the pre-summer movie season. Instead, it’s a bloated, overworked beast of a flick, the kind which refuses to go extinct.

Maybe someday RevSF staff writer Gary Mitchel will win the fight. Then that cat will stay out for the night.

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