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maryann johanson, striking from a hidden base

10,000 B.C. (review)

Prehysterical

Oh my god: the silly, it burns. It burns! All the “tellings” and the dreadlocks and the too much narration telling us about the tellings and the people with the dreadlocks and the hero who’s The One who’s gonna save the world by being a hero and the… the how it ends. My god, how it gets to the place where it’s gonna end.
It’s sort of grand, actually, in it awfulness. Sort of epic. Sort of like you can’t believe how huge and sprawling and rather magnificent the dumbness is. And I’m not even talking about how, if you have the slightest bit of knowledge about human history at all, you spend the entirety of 10,000 B.C. muttering to yourself things like, “Wait, had the bow and arrow been invented already?” “Agriculture? They have agriculture?” “Were people riding horses 12,000 years ago?” “Oh, come on: sailing ships?! pyramids?!” “Metalworking? Never! Or, holy crap, is that wood clinking like metal?” Cuz none of that really matters, even if it feels like the movie throws this stuff in just to be cool, just to act like it’s all hip to the awesome potential of this newfangled technology stuff the kids are all into with their fire and their spears. Even if you want to say, “If you wanted to make a movie about the Paleolithic world, Roland Emmerich, why didn’t you, you know, try to actually re-create in some kind of realistic measure the Paleolithic world?” Even if you want to merely snicker, “You call this anthropology?”

Because it probably wouldn’t matter any more than Han Solo talking about parsecs as if — *snort* — they were a measure of time if the human aspect of the story made any damn kind of sense. If the storytelling aspect of the story made any damn kind of sense. Because the whole thing — it was written by Emmerich and some guy named Harald Kloser, whose other movie credits are for composing music (he’s probably always wanted to direct, too…) — is such complete nonsense that all the other preposterousness in the background pales in comparison. In fact, it becomes clear quite rapidly that not being preposterous is not high on this flick’s list of aspirations. It’s not really a priority for it, okay?

Cuz, you can’t just have an unnamed narrator who isn’t even a character go around intoning importantly about prophecies — “tellings” — and such and make us accept it just like that. I mean, I could go around saying things like, “It is foretold that I shall go unto Target and purchase new socks,” and that wouldn’t make it religion, like the “tellings” are here for D’Leh (Steven Strait: The Covenant, Sky High) and his mammoth-hunting people. It wouldn’t make it interesting. But what goes on here would be like as if you heard my telling about Target and set off on a round-the-world quest to learn of these socks of which are spoken so much. D’Leh’s girl Evolet (Camilla Belle: The Invisible Circus) — “Te Love” backward, which is so close to “Teh Love” that ya gotta wonder whether Emmerich isn’t honestly just pulling our collective leg with the whole thing — gets kidnapped by bad guys who are, apparently, rounding up slave labor from half a planet away from where they need the slave laboring done and then walking them to where the work is. It’s crazy… but then D’Leh has to walk that same half of the planet to rescue her. Because he’ll be damned if he’s gonna let some guy steal what he had rightfully won as a prize for being such a successful mammoth hunter. (That would be the girl.)

If there’s a moment in this movie that’s original, I didn’t see it. But it can’t even steal properly. It’s like Apocalypto meets Stargate (the movie, not the TV show) with bits of Jurassic Park and Braveheart thrown in, cuz those were great movies, right? And yet somehow it’s all the absurd Chariots of the Gods stuff that ends up burning you with the stupid. D’Leh can, when the going gets tough, give a big, supposedly rousing, supposedly rallying speech to the ridiculous army he gathers around him about not wanting to live forever and making the other bastards die for their country or whatever, and yet his people — who are, remember, mammoth hunters, people who live near glaciers in the far north, people of the deep and endless cold — have no word for snow. “The white rain,” they call it.

Oh my god: the silly! It burns! It burns!

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MPAA: rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
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