10,000 B.C. Review - History and Hair... Before Combs!

Filled with anticipation my friends and I saddled into our Cineplex high back chairs armed with grossly over buttered popcorn and the #3 special:  two overcooked, tired looking hot dogs barely wedged into what appeared to be bread.  Giddy as school girls  we are about to see a ‘blockbuster!’  Why would we think otherwise?  Advance trailers for 10,000 B.C. gave taste bites of everything I look for in a film:  fantasy, epic story, and some pretty hot eye candy. 

This saber-toothed tiger is the highlight of the film. Unfortunately we don't get to see him a whole lot.

Give me some over the top CGI graphics combined with hotties in loin cloths and I am good to go.  In addition, the trailers made of big point of letting us know this film had the same director of‘ Independence Day’  and ‘ The Day After Tomorrow’ at the helm…….so at least there have got to be some major special effects right?

There’s a lot to rip on in 10,000 B.C. Firstly, we’re supposed to believe that these primitive people live like great apes, ripping at their charcoal fried food, but have the best dental work I’ve ever seen. I had no idea Crest whitening strips were available back then. This tribe must also have a law that mandates killing anyone who has more than five pounds of excess body fat.  And dreadlocks were apparently all the rage - even for caucasians!   I felt like I was at Reggaefest 2008.

Cavemen or Burning Man Festival?

What REALLY kills me is the dialog.  Why do film makers feel they have to create some sort of pigeon, staccato language for any primitive people?  Folks who speak the same language should appear to be fluent to one another – not sounding like they are choking on chicken bones.  Worse, why can’t the actors stick to one accent?  In the beginning the narrator sounds French.  The first grunts and mutterings of our actors sound quasi southern Cal.  One actor out of the blue sounds distinctly British.  At one point we all burst out laughing at a face painted warrior who sounded like he just walked out of Transylvania!  Pah-leez.

The plot is incredibly corny.  A mysterious, little girl is found outside of the core tribe and she has really blue eyes.  Spooky! Apparently her glowing corneas mean she is part of a prophesy – one that is thrown on the table by ‘the old woman’, the tribal elder (who spends the most of the film looking like she has malaria).

The face that launches a thousand dreadlocks.

Part of the foretold is that the grown up blue eyed lass named Evolet (played with narcotic skills by Camilla Belle) is to wed the best hunter of the tribe and fulfill the prophesy.  To see who that lucky winner is, all the hot dudes go mammoth hunting.   Now, you know how into this film I must be if already I’m hoping the mammoth rips all the actors to shreds.

Well, fate takes a turn and the tribe is invaded by ‘the four legged ones’, which actually means nothing unless they are referring to the horses.  I’m not sure what that was about.  Some of the tribe is wasted, some (including the shaking ‘old one’) are left, and the others taken prisoner, except three hunky guys who take on the task of liberating Evolet and the rest of their abducted tribe mates.  Leading the charge is our hero D’Leh (played with the emotional voltage of a flower pot by Steven Strait).

When mammoths go crazy you'd better get out of the way.

Now begins the old standby movie plot:  The underdogs attempting an impossible rescue from an evil empire ruled by a mutant, sickly gravel voiced alien type creature. Why does the leader of the bad army always have to be deformed, slimy, and have asthma?  Confirmation of the prophesy is a physical mark on the person who will fulfill it….”Look for the mark!  Look for the mark!” they all cry.  At this point I’m looking for the exit.

Special effects?  Plenty of crazed mammoths.  One cool scene with a saber-toothed tiger.  Unfortunately, the tiger only makes a cameo, both visually and script wise. That’s too bad because the tiger is best thing in the movie.  

Someone looks pretty tasty!

I loved the movie 300, but its success birthed two very obvious aftershocks:  it raised the bar on this genre of film, and it also started a reckless footrace to cash in on its success.   Unfortunately, these copy cats don’t raise the bar – they can’t even find it.  Seen Beowulf?

My question:  Why?  Why bother?   10,000 B.C. isn’t even that entertaining.  It’s not educational or relevant... it’s barely interesting... it IS a lot of money that could have done some real good somewhere else. 

When hunky, beautiful actors in loin cloths and huge special effects don’t hold my interest, you know the writing, plot, and psychology of the film have failed me.  I’m not that hard to please.  All I need is to put on my movie boxing gloves, face off with a film, and be knocked out by an entertainment ride that makes my jaw drop.  Movies like 300 have met that challenge.  10,000 B.C. didn’t even get into the ring.

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