Starring: Steven Straight, Camille Bell, Cliff Curtis
Directed by: Roland Emmerich (“The Day After Tomorrow”)
Written by: Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day”), Harald Kloser (debut)
Ever walk into the wing of a wax museum where the prehistoric era is on exhibit? It might be interesting to look at for a few minutes before moving on to the Egyptian, Hollywood, or Wild West corridors, but imagine having to stare at that prehistoric exhibit for almost two hours. Now you know what it’s like to watch “10,000 B.C.” Without a sensible story or relevant characters, boredom might trigger some tears of agony before the last woolly mammoth plods across the plains.
The film follows a tribal warrior named D’Leh (Straight) as he sets out to rescue his beloved Evolet (Bell). Evolet isn’t just any other primitive wench from his tribe. Her blue eyes hold the secret to an ancient prophesy. Some people of the tribe, like Old Mother (Mona Hammond), believe her appearance spells trouble for their Neandrethal society.
Sure enough, tragedy falls upon the tribe as inhabitants of an advanced civilization attack them and kidnap Evolet. As the only two who can save her, D’Leh and his friend Tic’Tic (Curtis) set out on an adventure through unknown lands to find her.
On their journey they meet monstrous chickens and a friendly (and badly computer-generated) Saber Tooth Tiger, who only looks grumpy in the previews. They also manage to anger other tribes they encounter along the way. Pay no real attention to who they actually meet if you want to get through this alive. What audiences should be worried about the most is how quickly they can get to the girl before the story becomes increasingly foolish with every spear throw.
Nevermind the cliff-note history “10,000 B.C.” tosses out hoping people will only be drawn to the more eye-catching mammoth scenes. Don’t even fret about the tedious narration by actor Omar Sharif (“Hidalgo”), who makes this mindless, wannabe-epic move even more glacially than it should. Simply worry if director Emmerich, who we all know can ham it up with the best of them (remember Will Smith’s “Welcome to Earth” line or Bill Pullman’s patriotic speech in “ID4” or any part of “Godzilla”?), has gotten this part of world history out of his system. If anything comes out of this shoddy film, it should be the realization that some critic’s circles overlooked just how passionate and well-produced something like “Apocalypto” was in 2006.