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10,000 B.C. /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Steven Strait, Camilla Belle, Cliff Curtis, Omar Shariff, Timothy Barlow

Directed by: Roland Emmerich

Produced by: Michael Wimer, Roland Emmerich, Mark R. Gordon

Written by: Roland Emmerich, Harold Klosser
Distributor: Warner Bros.

     First, allow me to boil 10,000 B.C.ís plot down into a few sentences. The movieís protagonist, DíLeh (Steven Strait), is a young hunter of an ancient era who plunges into a dangerous expedition after his tribe is ravaged by a group of warlords. He takes on this conquest because his childhood love, Evolet (Camilla Belle), was captured by the warlords, presumably to eventually be sold into slavery or used for sex. With many fellow men in tow, DíLeh eventually teams up with another ruined tribe to rescue Evolet. Upon tracking her, the group discovers that the warlords have taken Evolet and her fellow captors to a foreign empire, one in which a sacrificial belief in God dominates cultural opinion. Evolet is one of many prisoners who are due to be sacrificed for the Almighty.

     Take a second to digest the story that Iíve just explained. It seems like it could be pretty easily told by an experienced director, right? Right. There are no abstract themes or obscure metaphors involved that could potentially complicate matters, are there? Certainly not.  And yet, despite its utter elementariness, director Roland Emmerich (who last helmed 2004ís catastrophic The Day After Tomorrow) somehow turns 10,000 B.C. into an utterly incomprehensible mess. Even within the mold of a ridiculously simple structure, loose story-threads are left to dangle as the filmís credits roll. Even though their characters are entirely basic, leads Strait and Belle canít even manage to make them seem human. Even though its title establishes a setting, the movieís senses of place and time are completely blurred. If the empire that DíLeh and crew discover is really Egypt, as the set decoration would suggest, then writers Emmerich and Harald Kloser clearly didnít care about the fact that the Wooly Mammoth and the Saber-Tooth Tiger never lived in Africa when they decided to include them in the movie. (Come to think of it Ė did the Egyptian Empire [or people, for that matter] even exist in 10,000 B.C., anyway?)

     Sure, there are lots of impressive special effects to marvel at as the movie unfolds (a Wooly Mammoth hunt featured in the first act is particularly striking), but so what? Dazzling CGI is the norm in Hollywood nowadays, and just because a studio is willing to spend in excess of $100 million making a movie doesnít mean that viewers should embrace that movie. In fact, audiences should be quite perturbed by the fact that the concept of storytelling is being progressively ignored because it can easily be hidden underneath flashy visuals. Still, even if I am outraged by its insipidness, there is one thing that I can appreciate about10,000 B.C: its lack of depth allows me to get away with writing hardly anything about it. (My time is better spent dissecting more challenging pieces of art.) Just as the picture concludes on a note of complete emptinessóafter a painstakingly-long 109 minutes, mind youóso will this review.

-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 3.6.2008

Screened on: 3.5.2008 at the Mann Chinese 6 in Hollywood, CA.

 


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