10,000 BC: Stay Away

A public service announcement for Richardsona readers: Avoid 10,000 B.C. like the plague. What an excorable movie. If the Geico cavemena are ticked off at that company’s slogan “So easy even a caveman could do it,” they should be launching a class-action lawsuit against the makers of this monstrosity.

The dialog is awful (even considering they are “cave men”, as one reviewer put it on IMDB, “the dialogue that comes out of the mouths of these people are as wooden as the spears they carry”). The plot turns went beyond fantasy - which at least needs to have some kind of internal logic - to plain ridiculous (the travellers move from Himalaya type mountains to rainforest to Egypt, all on foot and seemingly within a matter of days; the saber tooth tiger doesn’t kill the hero after hero frees said big cat). And while I wasn’t expecting National Geographic historical accuracy, the jaw-droppers came thick and fast (the pyramids are being built in 10,000 BC using domesticated woolly mammoths; tamed horses way before they actually were; all kinds of mix-ups of stone and metal ages).

The special effects are well done, but ultimately for nought as the scenes themselves are dull. The set-piece woolly mammoth hunt and the giant-killer-ostriches-in-the-tall-grass scenes completely lack tension and are terrible copies of their obvious antecedent scenes in Jurassic Park.

The hero’s-journey plot is straight out of Joseph Cambell 101 and is extra-ordinarily ham-fisted compared to even the last three Star Wars movies, which come across as paragons of subtletly by comparison. Come to think of it, the acting, dialog and pacing of those three films are all way better than 10,000 B.C. and that’s saying something as I had a hard time sitting through those.

At least 10,000 B.C. had the sense to limit itself to 90 minutes, but it’s an hour and a half of my life I’d like to get back. Oh, and I’d like to get the twenty bucks back too.

My wife felt that it was a notch above The Avengers (probably agree) and Waterworld (simply because 10,000 B.C. lacked Kevin Costner, but otherwise I thought Waterworld was at least visually more interesting and, heaven forbid, more plausible). So it certainly makes my top 5 of worst big budget movies.

Don’t even bother to pay cable on-demand, wait til you’re suicidally bored on a Saturday afternoon and it comes up on regular TV in a couple of years. Even then, I’m sure you’ll be able to find something better.

And finally, a personal note to director Roland Emmerich: you’ve had some OK movies in the past (Day After Tomorrow, The Patriot) and I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt. I thought even if the plot was stupid and the characters cardboard cut-outs, at least the spectacle would be good and fun would be had. Wrong on both counts. This is the last movie you’ll get me into.