10,000 BC

  • Roland Emmerich
  • 2008

This movie is preposterous and awful. There’s no nice way to say it. 10,000 BC is classic Hollywood trash, landing in the traditional dumping ground of March and not even in the braindead blockbuster sense despite the presence of a big budget director — it just plain sucks. Roland Emmerich can normally be relied upon to bring us good, clean family entertainment. With a CV including Stargate (1994), Independence Day (1996), The Patriot (2000) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004) you’d think he could at least have the decency to paste top line CGI and set pieces to even the most far-fetched screenplay for us. Oh no, 10,000 BC is not only light years away from being an accurate history lesson as a period piece, it also wimps out of trying to paper over its failings. It’s just bad.

The very weak excuse for a script sees a remote mountain tribe raided by mysterious warlords who kidnap their children. Among the captives is the beautiful Evolet (Camilla Belle), the loved one of young hunter D’Leh (Steven Strait). As a tribe guided by Earth spirits, their oldest member had warned of the raid and D’Leh, along with seasoned hunter Tic’Tic (Cliff Curtis), set off to discover where the villains came from, discovering new civilizations beyond their own and assembling an army to fight the bad guys along the way.

Whenever the backers sat down to decide whether to green light this movie, they were somehow convinced by the presence of CGI mammoths, a sabre-tooth tiger and giant ostrich beasts along with endless shots of our heroes wandering across landscapes that may as well have been borrowed from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. As a film it works out to be about as complex as a children’s picture book, even though the key special effects sequences featuring the prehistoric animals never live up to expectation and the final battle against a pyramid-building civilisation is more likely to send you to sleep than have you whooping for more. If you think a film called 10,000 BC might be attempting to sell itself on historical accuracy, prepared to be shocked by a clear lack of research. Apparently the animals mention above were all that existed back then and people could happily chat to each other in the same languages despite having never met before. It’s all a bit like the original Star Trek series where aliens bizarrely spoke English most of the time…

There’s not one jaw-dropping moment.

When thinking about Emmerich’s long line of action blockbusters, only one really springs to mind as comparable to 10,000 BC: his terrible American remake of Godzilla (1998). Then it was Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno, both reasonable character actors, who floundered around the never-ending special effects in a real chore of a film to sit through. Here, the actors are lucky if they speak a line before another sequence of them walking over hills and mountains or through fields and forests interjects. Either that, or some CGI animals are needed to distract us from the inane task of walking from a snow-swept remote camp to the pyramids. Apparently back in the day this was do-able in about a week and you could amass an army of thousands en route too. Nice.

It’s no wonder there are no real “stars” who have put their name to this trash and Emmerich’s name alone is being used to sell the movie — he’s the only one foolish enough to agree to have a hand in it. If he had managed to capture an image as memorable as the White House being destroyed or a tidal wave obliterating New York he may have saved his reputation; sadly there’s not one jaw-dropping moment.

10,000 BC gets one star because somehow I inexplicably walked out of the cinema with a smile on my face. Hilariously terrible, I couldn’t stop smirking at how laughable the whole experience was. I guess that’s a kind of recommendation — a one star recommendation.

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