I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I love prehistoric man movies. One Million Years B.C. [Raquel Welch], Quest for Fire [Rae Dawn Chong] and even Caveman [Barbara Bach] – I loved them all. So, it is with great regret that I have to tell you that 10,000 B.C. is quite possibly the worst film Roland Emmerich has ever made [and that, my friends, is saying something!].
The basic plot is really simple: a blue-eyed girl is found and brought into the camp of a tribe of manuk [mammoth] hunters and is to bring prosperity to the tribe. She will be given to the winner of the White Spear [obtained by the first man to kill a manuk by himself]. As she grows, she falls in love with D’Leh [delay] and he with her. Then, she is taken, along with a number of others from the tribe to become slaves of a pyramid building race from far away.
D’Leh follows, with two other men – including his mentor, Tic-Tic – and are followed by boy whose mother the slavers killed. Turns out that D’Leh is a prophesized leader who will bring freedom from the pyramid builders – something about speaking with the spear-tooth [sabre-toothed cats].
Essentially, what we have here is a rather predictable mix of standard plot points: The Chosen One, prophecies, an epic quest, false gods and even a bit of Androcles and the Lion. And let’s not forget the portentous narration [shed a quiet tear for Omar Sharif – he deserves better]. There are some beautifully composed shots in 10,000 B.C., but they are pretty much a waste of cinematography. The various plot points come along a something less than an epic pace and in pretty much the usual order.
The dialogue is too bland to provide any really memorable lines [the big one from the trailer – “HE IS NOT A GOD! – comes at precisely the opposite point in the story from where you will be expecting it and is thus rendered rather… ummm… pointless. The acting is kind of lax as well – which is comes as a bit of a surprise.
Camilla Bell [Young Blue Eyes] has been really good in some really awful movies [When a Stranger Calls, The Quiet], as well as some really good ones [Chumscrubber]. Steven Strait made a pretty dynamic debut in Sky High and was the best thing about The Covenant. Here, they are barely adequate – and, sadly, no one else really stands out much, either.
One plus – there are no dinosaurs in 10,000 B.C., which means that the writers [Emmerich and Harold Kloster] got something right. Between that, the cinematography and some extremely good CGI, you have the full extent of the film’s Good Stuff. It’s even bad beyond the point of being “so bad it’s good.”
Take it from someone who loves even the cheesiest prehistory movies – 10,000 B.C. doesn’t bite – it sucks. Big.
Final Grade: F