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Friday, March 21, 2008

REVIEW - "10,000 B.C." (2008)

The suspension of disbelief is something audiences must accept for a great deal of movies. It is often the very reason we go see movies—To get away from reality. We enjoy accepting the idea that a nerd bitten by a radioactive spider can swing through New York City. Perhaps the Ark of the Covenant can, in fact, zap a hundred Nazis to oblivion. We don’t know for sure I suppose. And certainly it’s enjoyable to assume there’s a whole civilization of wizards hiding from the general public, government, CIA, FBI, Interpol, BSS and high advances in technology to live their own fantastical lives without a care in the world. Some movies, however, stretch the suspension of disbelief so far that we no longer are in suspension of disbelief, we simply just don’t believe. “10,000 B.C.” is one those movies I speak of.

Roland Emmerich, the “mastermind” behind movies like “The Day After Tomorrow,” “Universal Soldier,” the American “Godzilla,” and, of course, “Independence Day,” has finally made a movie far worse than any of the above mentioned. “10,000 B.C.” tried to be “Apocaylpto” meets “300,” but turned out to be this year’s “Pathfinder.” Maybe worse.

“10,000 B.C.” follows the story of D’Leh, a hunter with a reputation ruined due to the supposed cowardice of his father. Of course, despite his reputation, he goes beyond all odds to rescue his bride-to-be from a powerful, decidedly overdeveloped Egyptian society, and fulfill a legend. Many tribes believe he is the one to bring all tribes together, defeat the powerful villains and return balance to the force—I mean, become the “first hero.”

I swear if any of this did happen historians would be rethinking everything, and anthropologists would be reevaluating the evolutionary chain. The movie makes the Neolithic Age look more advanced than the Spartans of 480 B.C. That’s quite impressive! Of course the tribe D’Leh is from all have perfect, beautiful white teeth, speak perfect English and don’t look like they need to evolve a day more in order to figure out how to build an airplane.

Emmerich treats “10,000 B.C.” with the knowledge of an imaginative elementary school student. There is nothing in the movie that respects the audience enough to admit these events are hysterically impossible. If the Egyptians had already built that many huge structures by 10,000 B.C. I expected them to go to the moon by the time they actually enslaved the Hebrews. Other things I learned from this movie was that the power of wind had been fully utilized through sailboats at this time, saber-tooth tigers were quite friendly and the size of small houses, and Neolithic women are better looking than most modern women.

Absurd inaccuracy aside, how could anyone let Harold Kloser write this thing? The man is a film composer and he can barely pull that off. What made Emmerich think he could write words any better than music? The answer is simply, he’s Roland Emmerich. As a result the two come up with the worst dialogue I’ve heard in awhile. There’s a hysterical scene where D’Leh makes an inspirational speech to the many tribes whom have followed him. Clearly Emmerich was trying to pull off another “Independence Day” speech, but it comes off far more laughable. The only inspiration that speech gave me was to walk out of the movie.

Alas, I didn’t leave the film. It was almost over and the movie had more scenes from “300” to rip off of. After an exhaustingly funny, under-dramatic battle between the mesh of tribes and pre-Egyptians, accompanied by the poor CGI the movie had flaunted for the previous 90 minutes, the movie ended. After the story reached its conclusion I was left thinking about how happy I was that summer was on the way. Summer blockbusters are hardly Shakespeare, but the quality of “Iron Man,” “The Dark Knight” and “Indiana Jones” looks far more impressive than this.

Is it so hard to make a good pre-summer season movie? I guess it is. “10,000 B.C.” perfectly represents the kind of emotionless, lackluster trite that is common for the month of March. Then again Roland Emmerich can make this crap any day of the year.

½ out of ****

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