10,000 B. C. Movie Review

Director Roland Emmerich is well known for big, block buster type movies such as “Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow” but on this occasion he takes the viewer back in time, in a bid to tell a tale from prehistory.

A fur adorned mountain tribe, happily living out their lives believing that the Woolly Mammoth herds are the centre of the universe, is raided by brutal warlords looking for slaves to help them build a temple to their God.  Our hero, a young hunter called D’Leh (played by American actor Steven Strait) sees his love Evolet (Camilla Belle) carried away and so he sets out to rescue her.

Along the way he encounters all manner of strange tribes, most of which have a grudge against the slave warlords as they too have been raided.  What starts off as one man’s quest to find his girl ends up being a sort of crusade against the tyranny of the evil warlord empire and their pyramid temples.  As D’Leh wanders through strange deserts and jungles in search of Evolet his small band of followers swells and grows to become an army – just what you need if you are going to have a final showdown with the bad guys.

If you put aside for one moment the historical inaccuracies, the absurd geography (we think much of the film was shot in Namibia as well as New Zealand so in essence our heroes were heading in the wrong direction), and the out of proportion prehistoric animals depicted, then this is a fairly pleasant way to spend an afternoon.  The story is not exactly subtle or complicated (unless you count the bizarre ancient prophesies) but as this film is aimed at a pre-teen audience then it hits all the right buttons.  Plenty of action, not a lot of dialogue or plot and some interesting special effects.  Any film with CGI Mammoths can’t be all that bad, and the 12A rating permits youngsters to watch (accompanied by an adult).  The narration got a little iritating at times, what was Omar Sharif thinking!

Absolute hokum, but if you have nothing better to do on a wet March afternoon…

Some points about the prehistoric animals – the Terror Birds (Phorusrhacidae) survived in South America until about 5,000 years ago but we are not sure what evidence there is for these large, flightless birds surviving in the Old World into the Pleistocene/Holocene (we think there is none).  The Sabre-Tooth Cat has been given the typical markings of an ambush killer and these animals although associated with the Americas (where the last Sabre-Tooths lived), they were more widespread in earlier times.   Our alledgedly Palaeolithic hunter might have encountered big cats, but it is highly unlikely that one of them would have been a Smilodon.  The Sabre-Tooth cat depicted in the film is truly huge, far larger than the Pleistocene Sabre-Tooths.  Most of the large Sabre-Tooth cats were about the size of a modern lion (P. leo) although much more stocky and heavy set.  The largest of the last Smilodon species was S. populator of South America.  It would have stood about 1.2 metres high at the shoulder.  We think the CGI operators have used a little bit of licence when it comes to the scale of some of these people.

It might be that the people depicted in the film are actually very small, this could be why some of these animals look so big.  If that is the case then this too is historically inaccurate, there is some evidence to suggest that Stone Age people were actually a fraction taller than their modern counterparts.

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