Review: 10,000 BC

Published 7 years ago by , Updated February 9th, 2012 at 9:58 pm,

Short version: While there’s an attempt to make this a personal story, it’s really about what we thought it would be: Incredible vistas populated with a combination of ancient temples, pyramids, woolly mammoths and a cast of (CGI) thousands.

10000 bc camilla Review: 10,000 BCTwo weeks ago I posted my thoughts about 10,000 B.C. based on what I’d seen so far and at the panel for the film at WonderCon, and one of the words that came to mind regarding what director Roland Emmerich had in mind for this film was “spectacle.”

Oh, and it tries oh so very hard to live up to that word.

The best I can say about 10,000 BC is that it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be.

The film opens with our hero as a young boy in a village that depends upon the annual hunt for woolly mammoths for food. It seems that every year there are fewer and fewer and that the way of life of the small village is coming to an end. A young girl whose village was pillaged is brought to this one as the sole survivor. Her defining characteristic is that she has amazing blue eyes.

And old woman who functions as the shaman of these people predicts that their time of hunting mammoths is close to an end and the boy who ends up taking the girl as a mate when they’re older will be the catalyst for moving from one era to the next. For some reason, the boy’s father decides that he must head out and leave the village in order to insure its survival before the last mammoth is hunted. What he hopes to accomplish exactly, is not clear.

He leaves his comrade in hunting who seems to be the #2 head honcho in charge of the village and his son. The boy is teased by others who think that his father was a coward for leaving. After being alienated from the group, there is a brief bonding moment between him and the girl where he picks out what I assume to be the North Star and tells her just as that star never moves neither will he ever stop loving her (or something to that effect).

Cut to them at about 20 years old: She’s far and away the babe of the village, if not of the entire planet, and while he’s all buff and everything, he seems to be kind of a schmoe: A wanna-be big hunter, but not really up to par. Anyway, he gets credit for bringing down a big woolly mammoth and gets the big fancy white spear. He wasn’t quite honest about it and gives it back to his dad’s pal, although it was difficult for him because winning the spear meant he would also win the babe.

Shortly thereafter the predicted bad guys show up and kidnaps most of the town for whatever nefarious purposes, and they take her with them. The leader of these guys is quite taken by her (ok, her name is Evolet, played by Camilla Belle).

The young man (named D’Leh and played by Steven Strait) resolves to save her. So he, his father’s friend and another young guy left behind set out to track down the bad guys and rescue everyone.

Now, I’ve already said this wasn’t as bad as I thought, but on the other hand I really didn’t care much about even the two main characters. Emmerich didn’t do much of a job (although it was obvious he tried) to make us feel all that connected to these two and they felt kind of like a couple of animated mannequins to me. To give the movie due credit towards the end they did feel a bit more fleshed out but overall I was just kind of bored by the whole thing.

One thing I found kind of funny were a couple of very long shot sweeping, circling scenes of vistas that looked like they were taken directly from the Lord of the Rings movie making manual. Beyond that, the CGI mammoths looked ok, but that gigantic sabre-toothed tiger looked quite fake to me.

And yes, in one scene they were attacked by giant birds.

I’ve heard them referred to as “giant chickens” but to me they look more like giant ostriches. I really would have preferred some lizardy thing, but hey, that’s just me.

This small group ends up meeting with another and the word goes out that they’re going to war with the folks in the big pyramid city. In one scene that gave me a chuckle, this big fearsome warrior who leads the toughest gang of warriors in the area goes up to D’Leh and says to the translator:

“He looks young.”

To which D’Leh replies:

“I’m older than I look.”

So while the fierce warrior was mighty, he must also have been easily convinced since that was good enough for him.

When they finally get to the giant city, I was distracted by the fact that I knew I was watching one long shot after another of nothing but total CGI. It didn’t look awful, mind you, but I kind of checked out a bit during those scenes.

Another thing that stood out was that I don’t believe I’ve seen a movie with so much violence and mayhem including people thrown off buildings to drop 20 stories to their deaths, big mallets used as deadly weapons, knives, spears and other sharp pointy things as implements of death… all pretty much used without a drop of blood to be seen.

Ah, the joys of a PG-13 movie.

And while I won’t give away the ending, just as I was about to give 10,000 BC the slightest amount of respect due to the way the movie seemed to be ending, it vanished in a puff of smoke in such a manner as to make me laugh out loud in the theater.

Was it awful? No. Was it entertaining? Mildly. You may even like it, but I thought it was pretty weak.

Our Rating:

2.5 out of 5
(Fairly Good)

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  1. LOL. And I was annoyed to find the original Iron Man and Dark Knight trailers attached. I really thought there would be a new one for Dark Knight and had at least hoped to see the brand spankin’ new Iron Man trailer on the big screen.

    Oh, and I must admit that the Indy 4 trailer was much better for me on the big screen. I’m officially looking forward to it now. :-)


  2. LOL, dude, you’re on a roll tonight. That’s pretty damned funny and it hadn’t even occured to me: Those ARE the three top movies of ’08!


  3. I happened to have liked Independence Day ALOT. To me, it was a really fun movie with great actors in fun roles. Yeah, the scenario got a bit far-fetched, but it was a great movie, IMO. I also enjoyed The Day After Tomorrow, but I really wasn’t expecting much from that film. Sometimes I think people are OVERLY critical of things in a film and that takes away from the overall FUN of a film. Go in, sit back and try to enjoy it. Yeah, some movies are boring stinkers (American Gangster comes to my mind), but most have some shred of entertainment value.

    That does suck that there weren’t new trailers, though, Vic. I’m actually kinda hoping they don’t do another IM one so that more of the movie is a surprise. Batman NEEDS a new trailer…

  4. They really shouldnt tell the audience that its from the makers of Independance Day and Day after Tomarrow.
    Emmerich is the modern day Ed Wood. IMO. Superchickens = walking turd.

  5. That’s gotta be tough seeing trailers for the 3 best films of the upcoming year and then realise your about to see 10.000 BC.

  6. Andy,


    “Independence Day” is one of my favorite, fun popcorn movies.

    So I’m just critical when I think a movie deserves it.


  7. Was Dean Devlin in the credits. Sounds like the film could have been helped if some of the SG1 crew helped out.
    What’s the deal with the slaves working on the pyramids?
    Everyone knows those were built by space aliens. Emmerich needs to stop making things up… People notice.

  8. Those aliens were the dumbest group of invaders I’ve ever seen. (And I’ve seen plenty!).
    Day after tomarrow was just like someone asking to borrow 10 bucks. (Your never gonna see it again).

    Emerich has a style that is just bad.

    He sometimes has great ideas (Stargate) but bad endings are practically considered normal for the guy.
    Can you imagine if he would have landed the Star Trek film gig. Holly crapolli.

  9. In my mind, The Day After Tomorrow goes down in history as the only movie where the heros are running from cold (ie absense of heat). Remember that scene? How rediculous

    Did the giant chickens at least look ok? There were giant predatory birds back then (not sure if the same time as sabre-tooths and woolly mammoths) so this doesn’t bother me. The rest of your review sounds about like I would expect.

    At least the names aren’t like those in Apocolypto. Main character has a strong name like ‘Jaguar Paw’ while eveyone else is named ‘Pig Ear’ or something silly like that.

  10. Vic, any chance you might review The bank Job?
    I just came from that and thought it was pretty good .
    at least it had a story .
    A pretty good one too.

  11. Vic, re: 10,000 B.C. …you’re too generous. About one full star too generous. 😉

    Oh, and as much as I enjoy berating Emmerich and his truly awful pantheon of work, I’m a big ID4 fan.

  12. Well you know, I just found it kind of… harmless. It wasn’t bad enough to offend my sensibilities and I can see how some folks might actually like it.

    I did notice I was the only one in the fairly full theater who laughed out loud at the ending.


  13. 790, that’s not why. Something completely different. And Snark, yeah… just made me shake my head. :-)


  14. Hey Vic is the ending funny because of the superchicken?

    You can tell us I don’t think it would bug anyone?

  15. Vic, you would have been in good company in the theater where Mel and I saw it. Chuckles galore.

  16. Well then I’ll never see this film.

    Chickens forever!

  17. 790, why are you obessing over superchickens?
    Mysterious Island had a superchicken, right? And killer bees.

  18. Well I just feel that Superchickens get overlooked.
    They were a fierce breed of predators back then.

  19. what was the deal with the pharoh in the movie and why was he a pale white dude and his subjects at least looked north African and where did the heroes come from

  20. Gary,

    My goal this year is to watch and review at least one movie every week. It’s hard for me to get out and see AND review two. If you add up the time it takes me to get to and from the theater, watch a movie, and write a review we’re talking 3-4 hours per movie.

    I’ve heard it’s good but I don’t know if I’ll make it out to see it at the theater – might end up being a rental.


  21. I think we all knew that “The Bank Job” would be a pretty cool film. 70’s period piece, Stathams allways enjoyable. (What’s not to dislike?).

    Its films like this 10.000 BC that I find reviews are much more fun to read because deep down pretty much all us Screen Ranters knew would suck eggs. And from what read, it did!
    Crappy ending too, personally I don’t think Rolland Emmerich could write a good ending if someone else wrote it for him.
    (IMO the guy sucks as a film producer). His take on 2012 will suck as well… He knows no other way. Suck is his middle name.

    (IMO) Sometimes its better to read reviews of crap films rather than read good reviews of good films.

  22. I was able to see this movie for free yesterday. While it wasn’t great film-making, I was entertained. BTW, the reason D’Leh’s father left was because he wanted to find “new land”, since Old Mother had seen then end of their way of life. Also, the people of the villiage were taken as slaves by the “four legged evil ones”. I also thought the ending was fine but that’s just me.

  23. ar yu beti full 10.000 bc