10,000 BC is Apocalypto super-lite. 10,000 BC is the popcorn, made for the masses version of Apocalypto. I wanted this film to be good, I wanted to enjoy it but I couldn’t. I never really had my hopes up after the second trailer for the film was released and everyone was speaking English coupled with the fact that Emmerich is a flash, spectacle director, like Michael Bay, and not a substantive one like Terrence Malick.
10,000 BC was not even a disappoint because going in I could tell it was going to be lackluster. I just hoped that I was perceiving the trailers and subsequent commercials wrong. I wasn’t. The fact that I sat through the entirety of 10,000 BC is a testament to my film critic fortitude, the comfort of the theater’s seats and the establishment’s no refund policy.
The basic plotline of 10,000 BC is that a mammoth hunter named D’Leh (Steven Strait) is in love with a girl named Evolet (Camilla Belle), Evolet is stolen by the bad guys, D’Leh goes on an ambulant journey and chases them, vanquishes the bad guys, there is a Hollywood, kissie-face cope out and then the credits roll.
During 10,000 BC, there are three moments of note that I should mention lest you believe I hated the film. When the hunters from the Yagahl tribe, including D’Leh and a character named Tic’Tic (Cliff Curtis), sneak up on a herd of mammoths wearing mud camouflage, the attack by the giant terror birds, Phororhacos Wikipedia informs me, in a forest and when you see the “birds with red wings” the bad guys are apparently going to fly on to get back to their city encampment. These are all high points for 10,000 BC and the Mesolithic time period that it represents. Unfortunately, two of the three mentioned scenes are very short and are over quickly. This is also where a big logic pot hole turns up. Why don’t D’Leh and the other hunters simply follow the river during their chase instead of walking into the desert away from the water? Why not walk along side the river so that everyone can be hydrated, kept alive and strong? Wouldn’t the river lead you to where the captives have been taken? I guess it was assumed that viewers would not think during 10,000 BC’s 109 minute run time.
I mentioned Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto earlier. 10,000 BC is almost the complete opposite, quality wise, as that film. 10,000 BC’s score is not as good, the special effects’ quality consistency varies and the bad buys are given little to no characterization. One of the bad guys is lustful (Affif Ben Badra), another resentful (Macro Khan) and the head honcho has the standard megalomaniac complex (Tim Barlow). They are stereotypical and never distinguish or set themselves apart. Neither do D’Leh or Evolet. D’Leh is your standard (and boring) true blue hero and Evolet is the classic damsel in distress who is given absolutely nothing to do. She simply waits to be won by D’Leh during the first act of 10,000 BC and for the next two acts, waits to be rescued. I do not know if Belle is a good actress or not. I have never seen her in a role that showed off her talent (or lack of). This role is no exception.
10,000 BC was a film I hoped would at least be an entertaining spectacle. With Emmerich’s track record, this was a fair assumption. Unfortunately, we are given a bland, long, uninspired film of epic proportions.