FILM REVIEW: 10,000 BC
Thursday, March , 2008
Author: Sean Wathen
RELEASE DATE: March 7, 2008
With Roland Emmerich having INDEPENDENCE DAY and THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW under his belt, he seems as if he is finished wasting away the world in the present and decided to head back into the past with his latest film 10,000 BC.
This time, however, the only thing he wastes is our time. While the actors do the best they can with what they are given, this film doesn’t seem to have any purpose to exist. My guess is that Roland spent so much time thinking about whether or not he COULD make a movie set in 10,000 BC he didn’t stop to think about if he SHOULD.
Steven Stait in 10,000 BC (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures - Photo by Ollie Upton)
The story follows the typical pattern we’ve seen a hundred times: A group of people are in danger and a prophecy tells of one man who will lead them all to freedom. This time the “Chosen One” (a phrase I’m getting tired of) is D’Leh (Steven Strait) whose name is “Held” spelled backwards which in German means “Hero” (how clever). The people in danger are a tribe of mammoth hunters whose numbers are dwindling. Then, just as the prophecy stated, the Four Legged Demons (men on horseback from another tribe) ride over the mountain and kidnap several people from our hero’s tribe including his childhood sweetheart, Evolet (Camilla Bell). Now D’Leh must journey across the lands to save his bonnie lass.
On his journey D’Leh encounters dinosaurs that look less like raptors and more like giant dodo birds, a villain who sounds like he constantly has a frog in his throat, a huge saber-toothed tiger that just shows up to growl and then leaves (not even kidding), and all the while the story is narrated by a guy trying a little too hard to sound like the voice over in 300
Camilla Belle in 10,000 BC (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures - Photo by Ollie Upton)
Director Roland Emmerich said he had his characters speak English in the film because he believes when you have a subtitled movie you spend too much time reading and not enough time watching the actual movie. However, when we meet the villains of the film, they speak another language and are thus subtitled. This continues as our Heroes meet various other tribes that the “Chosen One” is also said to free. Eventually D’Leh gets a translator and the subtitles end.
Because of Roland’s statement about the subtitles taking away from the images the movie, I would assume that meant he had some pretty spectacular scenes for us to behold. For the most part, he lives up to his words. By now, Roland has built himself quite a group of skilled CGI animators. The animals in the film looked amazing. Each hair on the mammoth looked as if you could reach out and touch it. There were points, though, where it seemed the animators must have been on a lunch break. For instance, toward the beginning of the film when our tribe is hunting a heard of Mammoths. As the heard begins to stampede and our heroes run after them, they all appear to be running on a treadmill in front of a green screen. It looks like something out of a “Saturday Night Live” skit.
The dialog in the movie was so-so, parts that were not supposed to be funny were laughed at while moments of “comedy” were only met with the sound of crickets chirping.
Over all, I was definitely let down. Roland’s movies usually don’t have great stories but are stunning to look at, but nothing stands out in this piece. The entire film I kept waiting for that cool death scene you see in movies like in X-MEN 2 when Wolverine first sticks both claws into a SWAT guy’s chest, or the scene in “LOTR: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING when Aragon chops off the Orc’s head. That scene where the audience stands up and cheers! It never came in this film. The only standing people did was to leave.
One final note, if anyone out there EVER makes a film that takes place in the BC age, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make the actors LOOK like they’re from that time! Most of the supporting cast looked fine (and played their parts well), but the two main characters looked like they just came off a photo shoot. I don’t remember hearing about any archaeologist finding an ancient pair of tweezers let alone a shaving kit. I know movie goers want something pretty to look at but come on! Camilla Belle’s eyebrows were TOO perfect! And my beard NEVER looks as perfectly trimmed as Steven Strait’s did! - Sean Wathen