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10,000 B.C. A Waste of the Earth’s Time

10,000 B.C.
Directed by Roland Emmerich
Written by Emmerich and Harald Kloser
Warner Bros., 2008

10,000 B.C. is one of those movies that looks like an immediate attempt for a studio to cash in some more on the success of a movie from a prior year. In this case, it’s Warner Bros., after the dynamite hit 300, again dipping into the sweaty men fighting for their people a long, long time ago. Sure, the greenlight and production of 10,000 B.C. may predate 300’s success, but this is besides the point. 10,000 B.C. is being released on the exact same weekend and is thematically similar in more than one way.

So another 300, then? Cool, right? Nope. 10,000 B.C. is a supreme example of if you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen ‘em all.

Like, for instance, a man named D’Leh (Steven Strait) lives in a tribe of people, and of course this tribe has someone who can see the future (Mona Hammond). Of course D’Leh is the man who will “save his people.” He will one day earn the White Spear and the love of his life will be the blue-eyed beauty Evolet (Camilla Belle). One day while out hunting with the tribe’s leader, Tic’Tic (Cliff Curtis), he seemingly earns that White Spear with the slaying of a woolly mammoth. But it’s a hollow victory and D’Leh admits that he doesn’t deserve it.

Unfortunately, giving back the White Spear also means giving up the love of Evolet, as the prophecy was very clear about love and spears. So, something has to happen so that D’Leh can truly earn the spear and love…why not another tribe coming in and swiping Evolet away, so that D’Leh can lead a charge to win her back? This adventure leads to D’Leh banding with a bunch of other tribes and eventually assaulting the slave-driving Giza just before the great pyramids are complete. The bad guys are a band of Arabic people being led by a cloaked man calling himself a god.

The movie is being sold as a big special effects extravaganza, mainly through its creatures: woolly mammoths, a sabertooth tiger, and some really large ostriches of some sort. The fact is, these are merely pawns in the survival story. What would have been great is for the antagonists not to be human, because the man-saves-damsel story just made me want to go sleep. A movie of great spectacle could have been made with D’Leh’s amazing ability to talk to the beasts (an idea that comes up in the movie and is abandoned because of the straight-and-narrow path of the film).

It’s aggravating when a movie has the chance to be unique but ends up reminding you of every movie before it: Braveheart, 300, Pathfinder, Apocalypto, etc. And even if you hadn’t seen any of those movies, this isn’t worth it.

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