10,000 B.C. (2008)

Genres - Epic  |   Sub-Genres - Prehistoric Fantasy  |   Release Date - Mar 7, 2008 (USA)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - United States , South Africa   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Derek Armstrong

The timing of 10,000 B.C. made it seem like a reaction to the success of Apocalypto, as though Mel Gibson's film made the world safe again for pre-Christian action epics with no bankable stars. But maybe it was just typical Roland Emmerich bombast: how can we fit woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and the great pyramids into the same movie? The answer is, you can't, not without seeming ridiculous -- and in this case, not in a good way. Sure, it's part of the strategy of Hollywood epics to showcase creatures and landscapes that the audience has never seen in digital form, but one gets the impression that's literally the only reason 10,000 B.C. exists. The filmmakers didn't just get lost along the way...they never had a story in the first place. The film snubs its nose at numerous logical stumbling blocks, but most glaringly, it disregards both of the following: whether the featured plot elements existed contemporaneously, or whether humans could walk -- in a matter of days, no less -- between temperatures and climates of diametrically opposed extremes. You could throw those concerns out if 10,000 B.C. had been carried off with a certain tongue-in-cheek style, but the whole thing is wooden and overly serious. Apocalypto actually did this film a disservice, when you consider that Gibson raised the bar for realism through his bold decision to shoot in the Mayan language. By contrast, the King's English spoken in 10,000 B.C., sounding more British than "caveman," is downright distracting. Even special-effects junkies will want to stay away from this listless tale of an emerging tribal leader who ventures out to rescue a kidnapped maiden. Applying the very lowest standards for narrative storytelling doesn't help -- they'll still feel like their brain is the thing being kidnapped.