Wednesday, 14 January 2009

10,000 BC

Lowdown: This is what life wasn’t like back at 10,000 BC.
I’ll start this review by saying that if you really want to see what life might have been like for our Stone Age ancestors you should look elsewhere. Try Quest for Fire, for a start, but don’t look here; 10,000 BC is much more like a fantasy tale than a historic one.
We follow a guy called D’Leh who comes from a tribe of mammoth hunters living in snowy conditions. He and his fellow tribesman speak English with rather Middle Eastern accent touches (they look the part, too). One day they find a young refugee girl, and the tribe’s elder declares her as a sign and a prize for the tribe's future supreme hunter.
A fight for that supreme hunter title ensues but becomes rather moot when the tribe is captured by raiders on horseback who abduct most of its members. They don’t get D’Leh, though, and he starts his own quest to follow them back to where they came from and release his tribe fellows and his prize girl. The rest of the film follows this quest, which pits him against sabre tooth tigers and other exotics. Overall, the plot turns out to be remarkably like Apocalypto, only that it’s 10,000 times inferior to Gibson’s film.
There is so much bullshit packed into 10,000 BC that it must be breaking new records of bullshit per minute. I’ll start the account with prophecies: There are no less than three separate prophecies that get very actively used in order to advance the film’s plot! Guess what? All three prophecies come true. So life like!
Our hero and his tribe are rather dark looking, which is a bit of a problem when you’re living in a snowy environment the way they do. Given the relative lack of sunlight in such an environment, they would all suffer from severe shortages of vitamin D and probably fail to make adult life.
Then there are scientific inaccuracies. As our hero chases his tribe’s abductors, we see him going out of his snowy mountain habitat and into a rain forest. The problem is, we see both in the same frame, very close to one another, and with not much in the way height differences. Similarly, we later see the hero pass from the forest to a desert in one fell swoop. It’s not just our hero that goes through these transitions, because later on we learn that a certain technologically advanced culture has borrowed some woolly mammoths from their arctic habitat to use as laborers in their desert empire. Can you imagine a woolly mammoth managing to hang out in a desert environment?
There’s more, but let’s delve a bit deeper into this technologically advanced culture the film is portraying. According to the Blu-ray’s supplementals, the idea for that came out of this guy’s book on so called “advanced” historical societies that science has failed to notice but for which he has ample evidence. Then he goes to show his evidence and you can see that his claims are "very" credible. While there is a chance that what he is saying is true, his evidence are certainly very high on the bullshit scale. There is no doubt that cultures more advanced then their contemporary European cultures have existed in China, India, America and Arabia; why do we need to invent mythic ones on top of those? The fact that a director like Roland Emmerich of Day After Tomorrow and Independence Day fame could fall for such bullshit is rather worrying, even more worrying than him being able to produce such a sadly pathetic film as 10,000 BC.
All of the above could be forgotten if 10,000 BC managed to provide an entertaining experience. But it doesn’t: 10,000 BC is predictable, far from exciting, and its characters are just minimally developed through significant reliance on clichés. Yet another case of a film that falls victim to its heavy reliance on special effects.
Best historical lesson: As it stands, the only scientific conclusion one can come out with after watching 10,000 BC is that human females have evolved body hair over the last 12,000 years. Otherwise you would have a hard time explaining how they managed to boast such smooth legs back in 10,000 BC.
Technical assessment: Impressive picture and sound, but why does this Blu-ray default to a Dolby Digital soundtrack when it features a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack?
Overall: It’s a shame this film has ever been produced. 1.5 out of 5 stars.

No comments: