10,000 B.C

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10,000 B.C
Review (4/10)
(By Ron Henriques)

Just because Roland Emmerich has a bunch of successful films under his belt, doesn't mean he's a great director. ?Stargate': a great comeback for Kurt Russell and decent sci-fi flick that unfortunately morphed into a mediocre TV series that ran for ten years. ?Universal Soldier': have you seen Van Damme or Dolph Lundgren lately? ?The Patriot': basically a remake of ?Braveheart' that was nonetheless the last successful action/drama Mel Gibson ever headlined. ?The Day After Tomorrow': a great comeback for Dennis Quaid and a hit, but basically a global warming action film. ?Godzilla': we're all trying to forget this one about a giant dog...I mean lizard in NYC. Replace snotty Matthew Broderick with snotty yuppies and shaky- cam video and you've got ?Cloverfield'. And let's not forget ?ID4' aka ?Independence Day' a box-office record breaker that's now considered one of the dumbest movies ever by all the fools who paid to see it. Besides Emmerich, Will Smith was the only member to survive that fiasco.

Something seemed rotten in Denmark to me when Emmerich announced after the release of his last picture that he would write a prehistoric epic with...his composer? Don't get me wrong Harold Kloser fashioned a decent score for ?Tomorrow', but what does he know about screenwriting? Probably about as much as Emmerich which is nothing. Emmerich relied on his former co-producer Dean Devlin to write his films and the best thing they ever made was ?The Patriot' because of ?Saving Private Ryan' scribe Robert Rodat. With '10,000 BC' not only do Emmerich and Kloser prove they don't know what the hell they're doing, but create a film that's part MONTY PYTHON and part ?CAVEMAN', that 80's comedy starring Ringo Starr and yes, Dennis Quaid.

One of the greatest travesties is apparent at the beginning because THE FILM'S UNSEEN NARRATOR IS DOCTOR ZHIVAGO HIMSELF, OMAR SHARIF!!! Sharif must have told Emmerich, "I need a new boiler for my house so I'll take the part, but you won't see me in it." His pal Peter O'Toole might laugh at him except O'Toole appeared in that horrible Ben Affleck flick 'PHANTOMS" a few years back.

From a script that was probably ?SO EASY, A CAVEMAN COULD DO IT?, the pair takes us back to guess what year? This is ?Mel Gibson's Apocalypto' in English, but instead of a captured hero racing to return to his tribe, the ?hero' races after his people when they are captured. Unlike Gibson, authenticity is tossed out the window and instead of ethnic actors Emmerich casts two white kids as the leads, throws some dreadlocks on their heads and surrounds ?em with Maori from New Zealand. Steven Strait (Warren Peace from ?Sky High') and Camilla Belle (the little girl who almost got eaten at the beginning of ?Jurassic Park 2') are the star-crossed lovers and whitest members of a tribe that live on a snow swept mountain. He's got a chip on his shoulder 'cause his dad abandoned the tribe years ago and hopes to become the lead warrior in a Willy Mammoth hunt. Strait yearns for mysterious blue-eyed girl Belle and instead of hunting Willy Mammoths, hopes she'll play with his.

Ten minutes into the picture, most of the tribe gets abducted and enslaved by a band of marauders led by a turban-head dude, whose voice has been electronically altered, making him sound like ?DARTH ALI-BABA'. Along with Cliff Curtis, his guardian TIC ?TIC (WHOSE NAME REALLY SOUNDS LIKE YOU KNOW) and a young boy who looks like Amy from ?FUTURAMA', Strait chases after his funky looking tribesman through the snow and into...a jungle? What's so ridiculous about this new setting is that the bad guys lose a man to some hidden predator in the tall grass and soon in the next scene are camping out for the night. Huh? You just lost your buddy to some wild animal and you think it's safe? If you think the animal is a tiger, you're wrong. The tiger shows up a few scenes later and instead we get giant turkeys chasing them through jungle! I kid you not.

After losing another one of his friends, Strait finds himself falling into an animal booby trap in the ground that's quickly filling up with rain water. Instead of saving his own ass, this guy helps the saber-toothed tiger that's trapped and drowning along with him. Big ?TONY' here is such a huge cat, he looks like he's never missed a bowl of those ?Frosted Flakes. ?I swear, if I save you, don't eat me,? Strait pleads. Yeah right. As soon as this tiger was freed he should have ate his ass and the credits begin rolling, but instead the tiger comes to his rescue when Strait runs into another tribe a scene or two later. For a moment I thought that we would enter ?Golden Compass' territory and ?TONY' would speak, telling the tribe, ?LEAVE THIS GUY ALONE, CAUSE HE'S GRRRRRREAT!?

The tribe Strait encounters are all black and look a lot more legitimate than he does, except that their make-up and costumes seem cheap and their tribal scars look like ?Raisinets' glued to their faces. This tribe must also have good health coverage, 'cause their pearly white teeth look better than mine. Now the white kid has himself an army and with it runs after the bad men that took his girl. ?DARTH ALI-BABA' wants her for himself, but when some funky looking priests spot ?the mark' on her hand, they take her to the Emperor, who is seven-foot tall albino hidden under creepy robes that make him look like the Pope! Belle and her tribesmen are put to work as slaves in a massive city of pyramids with no hope. If you haven't figured out by now that Strait and his gang are gonna free these folks in a massive battle then you don't get out to the movies that much.

I didn't expect much from Emmerich, but it is quite amazing just what a mess this film is. Just when it looks like it may get a tad exciting or interesting, something dumb happens. Strait and his gang manage to infiltrate the slave labor camp several times in the film to gather info. Are these guys prehistoric ninjas, because they do so without being noticed in the dead of night and even daytime? The funniest moment for me was when Strait infiltrates the camp and they bring forth their shaman who is an albino they keep in the ground. Just like ?The Da Vinci Code' it looks like a lot of albino groups may get the sense that they are being portrayed as creepy. As for the Albino Emperor, he must be Jerry Lewis because he's surrounded by children that look like they have muscular dystrophy. I don't think he's touching them though because he's got finger nails so long it must hurt when he wipes his butt.

I'm not making this stuff up folks, this film is that silly. Though Belle is easy on the eyes, (with her fake blue contact lenses) her beauty alone can't save this film or convince any man with sense to chase her across the desert screaming. The name of Belle's character is ?Evolet' and Strait screams ?EVOLET! EVOLET!? a lot. So much so you could make a drinking game out of it. What an angst ridden wimp he is. Where's VAN-DAMME when you need him? He would have made this the ultimate comedy. How are the f/x? Very good actually, but with enough money you can make Rosie O'Donnell look like Jessica Biel. The CGI prehistoric animals look almost real and the God's eye views of the pyramid city are astounding, but without a story, it's all eye candy. So much of the budget wasted could have funded a dozen indie films.

This flick is hoping to be this year's ?300' and is opening the same weekend that film stomped the box-office last year. Though that film had over-the-top performances and a homo-erotic theme, at least it had style and a real story to tell. What we get here is an unintentional comedy that will have college kids laughing and getting drunk over when they spin this in their DVD players in the years to come.


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