10,000 BC (2008)
“One Man, One Army, One Battle.”
Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: Camilla Belle, Steven Strait, Marco Khan
Synopsis: A prehistoric epic that follows a young mammoth hunter’s journey through uncharted territory to secure the future of his tribe.
There’s a perceived wisdom that narration in a film is a sign of poor writing, and it’s a theory that quite often holds water (with a few notable exceptions: Scorsese’s gangster flicks for example). This film is a perfect example: the story is narrated by some old man who talks in that measured, slightly mystical way in which hack Hollywood screenwriters imagine ancient races spoke. The old boy apparently dozes off somewhere around the hour mark, only to be nudged awake in the last few minutes to supply a helpful epilogue. The fact is he isn’t missed — in fact he isn’t even necessary. This film possesses the kind of simplistic plot that could be followed by a seven-year-old with the volume turned off.
It happens quite a lot these days. Filmmakers get so caught up in bringing to life their visualisation of the one-line high concept pitch upon which the movie is based that they overlook the finer details, such as plot, pacing, characterisation, historical accuracy. Or maybe they figure no-one will notice because they believe we’ll all be drooling over the cool mammoths…
This being a Hollywood blockbuster there is only scant regard paid to accurately re-creating the period in which the story is set. All the primitive natives have perfect skin and even white teeth and speak English. The men sport rather natty rasta locks and look as if they work out at the gym on their days off. The hunky hero knows right from wrong and has a keen sense of morals that prevent him from claiming the kill of a mammoth that will entitle him to a white spear that will make him leader of his tribe and – more importantly – bring the rather comely young wench he’s had his eye on since childhood to his bed. No sooner has he made this noble gesture than the girl, (Ever-ready or something, her name is) is kidnapped along with a number of other tribe members by ‘four-legged demons.’
The demons turn out to be slave traders on horseback (which makes them six-legged demons, really) who are gathering labour for the construction of what looks suspiciously like a Las Vegas casino with an Egyptian theme. The hero follows, makes a few mates on the way, kills the bad guys and gets the girl. Innovative and fearless back-of-a-fag-packet story-telling, I’m sure you’ll agree.