What is it about the “caveman” days that brings out the worst in Hollywood film directors? Where every possible thing that could go wrong with a film has gone wrong with Roland Emmerich’s 10,000 B.C., there is a wee bit of an upside: you now have another turkey to watch alongside that other camp classic, One Million Years B.C., which is so bad it’s good. B movies simply don’t come around often enough and that makes 10,000 B.C. an instant classic.
The film stars Steven Straight as D’Leh, hunter and stud extraordinaire, whose lady love is Evolet, played by Camilla Belle, the doe-eyed beauty from the Rebecca Miller father/daughter lovefest, The Ballad of Jack and Rose. Interesting that Belle would choose this film to become famous with when she likely had her pick of projects after getting rave reviews for her acting and good looks off the Miller film, but perhaps her film career was going nowhere and she knew it was time to make a real name for herself.
No, it is not a good movie in any way, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a rootin’ tootin’ good time nonetheless, especially if you’re into wooly mammoths, righteous dreadlocks, ostriches, saber toothed tigers, the English language, blue eyes, white skin, you know, all of those things Hollywood assumes for the sake of ticket sales. The movie is gigantic in scope and is cutting edge digital graphics technology. Look at it this way: there’s one really good reason to pay to see it on the big screen. Will it be a computer game? Is that why it got made in the first place?
You can’t really watch a movie like this and not think of other movies that did it better. Quest for Fire is a film that immediately jumps to mind because, if nothing else, at least it was realistic. But many more films, commercials, and cartoons have dabbled in the “caveman” milieu, though to date there has never been anything half as good as those Discovery channel re-enactments of that time.
There was nothing particularly warrior-like about humans. Sadly, according to anthropologists, we were scavengers, picking up scraps on carcasses after the dominant species had taken the meat off the bones.
10,000 B.C. is reminder that most people are uneducated about the history of life and even of mankind. It is a stupid film made at a time when people really should know better. Then again, it really is meant to be a romp, as it were, and not a lesson in anthropology. Why bother with anything remotely resembling facts, because lord knows that entertainment comes first with our youths, education second, if that.
Writer/director Emmerich (he co-wrote this with Harald Kloser), known for films WITH a sense of humor like Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, has hit a new low with 10,000 B.C., although it may get play on the midnight movie circuit and may make a buck or two, not nearly the load it would have hauled had it been in the least bit interesting or original.
What will be the true test is whether its target demo really goes for it as it’s been designed to do. It took the number one spot at the box office over the weekend, but ticket sales didn’t exactly shock and awe. Still, audiences aren’t that picky and there is enough digital razzle-dazzle to justify going against your better instincts.