I’m an easy man to please. Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that make me smile; a Boob. Maybe, a comfortable Bed. Beating Street Fighter II on difficult. And a good movie; and when it comes to movies that completely stray from any sense of historical accuracy, I don’t mind because if the movie is good that’s all I care about. My big gripe with “10,000 B.C.” isn’t that it’s far and away one of the most historically inaccurate movies ever made. Because Emmerich admitted out of the gate that it was, unlike “The Day After Tomorrow” which brought a ridiculous intellectual pretense that was mere hype for an essentially bland blockbuster.
What chaps my hide more is that I’ve seen “10,000 BC.” I’ve seen it three times in the last year and a half. Except in the one that I saw, it centered instead on Mayans, was mostly historically accurate, and was called “Apocalypto.” What Emmerich presumes to do is feed us the exact same story yet again, except now with Mammoths and distracting plot elements that keep this film firmly grounded in Hollywood and is not a true effort in storytelling. I like to think that audiences are smart enough to realize that wooly mammoths never existed during the time of the cavemen, and that the pyramids were not manufactured by the mammoths, but these days? I don’t know. Even though it is just a slightly profitable film, today big budget Hollywood directors tend to be taken more seriously than educated professionals.
I think people have been way too hard on this, nonetheless. All Roland Emmerich ever does is provide us with cinematic trash with a healthy dose of absurdity. If you go into “10,000 B.C.” expecting anything above that, then you’re sure to set yourself up for a serious let down. You simply can’t take this seriously. For example, take Omar Sharif who holds our hands through painfully on the nose narration sounding much more like Boris Karloff during “The Grinch” than an actual storyteller. Frankly, I was never even sure what his purpose was.
When you get past the first twenty minutes of great action, we’re forced into an inane plot involving a prophesized hero said to lead his village to victory, and his inevitable oath to find his loved one Evolet, who was kidnapped by a rival village who laid siege on his land. She’s also a prophesized individual, lucky her. Through this set up there’s the village shaman, the horse back warriors, a friendly Sabertooth tiger who acts as a sidekick, and the PG-13 raid that’s unusually brief and never as gruesome as we’re told it is. Subsequent, there’s the journey of the male survivors in the tribe on the search for Evolet, all of whom are really nothing more than dull plot devices set in the forefront of endless strings of random chase scenes, and blatant CGI.
The performances from the cute Camilla Bell and Steven Strait are predictably bland, while their characters are grossly uninspired. Strait has to be one of the most unsympathetic cardboard heroes of the genre, while Bell leaves little reason to care for her beyond her bitching dreadlocks; Cliff Curtis is also sadly wasted as the aid to Strait’s D’Leh, while Sharif slums likely filling in for Morgan Freeman.
Through most of the this film I sat in my seat with a gaping mouth and a look of bewilderment and realized that I simply wasn’t the audience Emmerich probably envisioned when creating this, because when we left the theater I just wanted to go home, but all my nephew did for three hours was talk about the “awesome” wooly mammoths, and really nothing else.
Supposedly, Emmerich didn’t cast big stars because he didn’t want to distract audiences, but I think his approach was misguided. Casting big names would have only made this much more of an entertaining disaster and had he opted instead for camp and not take this so seriously, we’d have instant cult trash acting as worthy successor to “One Million Years B.C.”