Prehistoric action ensues in ‘10,000 B.C.’

A narrator’s voice speaks out of the darkness, talking of legend and a blue-eyed girl. He goes on to illuminate all of the significance behind the grand scope of the story, and though he’s trying to sound important, he’s more like that annoying guy in the movie line who critiques the film before he’s even seen it. Instead of captivating the audience, the voiceover simply sounds pretentious.

“10,000 B.C.” plunges into prehistoric territory with all the finesse of a rhinoceros rampaging through the jungle. It attempts to be a cerebral experience with plenty of action, and instead it just comes off as silly.

It’s obvious that director Roland Emmerich (“The Day After Tomorrow,” “Godzilla”) took this project too seriously as he dabbles with what must be a favorite subject matter: pseudo-Egyptian society and nomadic cultures. Just as he did in “Stargate,” he plays with science to create a plausible world, but unfortunately the story doesn’t work as well here.

D’Leh (Steven Strait, “Sky High,” “The Covenant”) is the chief’s son who falls in love with Evolet (Camilla Belle, “The Trap,” “When a Stranger Calls”). And when a band of marauding horsemen steal her and several other members of their tribe, he is determined to get her back. He follows her through jungles and deserts and amasses an army to help him in his cause, complete with the pep rally speech.

These potentially interesting characters become mere pawns in Emmerich’s scheme, and their pathos becomes laughable. And while the blue-eyed girl is as pivotal to the plot as the narration indicated, she isn’t even the main character.

The mock-African cultures Emmerich created come off a bit too costumey as well. One tribe wears what looks like bird-houses on their heads and another wears ridiculous face masks made of reeds.

Even worse, a lot of the major turning points in the film rest on flimsy details like a hand caught in a net or scars in the shape of a constellation. It’s just not that well-crafted, and the dialog is certainly proof of that. It bumbles along relating facts or conveying information that didn’t need to be spoken.

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The audience was laughing all throughout the film at moments that weren’t comedic simply because of the cheesiness of what was on the screen. And there really wasn’t that much action, either. This is certainly not the epic film the trailers imply it to be.

Yet it can still be enjoyed for what it is. If it’s not taken too seriously, “10,000 B.C.” is a good popcorn flick that will break up the mid-winter blues. It does have some great special effects, after all, even if the CG is fairly obvious. And it doesn’t hurt to laugh at the unintentional absurdity of it all.