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March 16, 2008


Movie Review – 10,000 B.C. (2008)


10,000 B.C. is an astonishingly bad film. As a person who dearly loves Hollywood action movies and greatly enjoys Hollywood-style spectacle, it gives me no pleasure to write that this is one of the worst films I have ever seen.

The story of 10,000 B.C. can perhaps best be described as the deformed offspring of an ill-advised union between Stargate and Apocalypto. Those were good films. Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, director Roland Emmerich’s prior blockbusters, were fun, too. I enjoyed them. What did those films have that 10,000 B.C. lacks?

1. Talented actors with screen presence. Kurt Russell and James Spader in Stargate. Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum head a cast of familiar faces in Independence Day. Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhall in Tomorrow. Unknown and unknown star in 10,000 B.C., and it’s not likely we’ll be seeing them again.

2. Real languages. The tribal peoples in Apocalypto speak in the Mayan language spoken by the non-professional cast. The tribal peoples in 10,000 B.C. speak Noble Savage, a fictive English dialect with a long and inglorious history in the American cinema.

3. A degree of originality. Stargate is the clear leader on this point, with a genuinely original, clever, and exciting premise. Apocalypto follows with its colorful mash of history, culture, and cliche. Even the plot set-ups of the Emmerich films present new twists on the disaster movie genre. 10,000 B.C. appropriates elements from other, better films without bringing anything new to the mix.

4. No voiceover narration. 10,000 B.C. is made immeasurably worse by the indescribably horrible voiceover narration. Alternating among previews of what we are about to see, recaps of what we have just seen, play by play of what we are seeing, and faux-mystical yammering about the legend of the blue-eyed child, the narration is intrusive, redundant, and obnoxious.

5. Thrills. Apocalypto and the Emmerich films start off a bit slow as characters are introduced and plots set in motion, but once they get going they’re non-stop thrill rides. In 10,000 B.C., woolly mammoths stampede and carnivorous ostriches try to eat the love interest and sidekick, and that’s about it. And those sequences aren’t very long. The climactic slave rebellion is too ineptly staged and filmed to be thrilling, and most of the film is actually– incredibly, unbelievably, inconceivably- trying to be dramatic instead of exciting.

When the woolly mammoths stampeded and the floor under my feet reverberated from the sound effects I felt a genuine, albeit short-lived thrill. My childhood fascination with the shaggy behemoth was reinvigorated and for a few moments, I felt pleasure at the CG spectacle. It was the first and last bit of enjoyment I was able to extract from this disaster.

0 stars

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Miriam
    Mar 17 2008

    My measure of worst film ever has long been another caveman epic imported – if memory serves – from Yugoslavia, so I can’t blame Hollywood, called Yor, Hunter from the Future. Given the sorry record of prehistoric themed movies I suppose we might admire the courage of everyone involved in this one, but, really, they should have known better.

  2. Mar 18 2008

    There’s no hint of the narration in the trailers that I’ve seen. That just makes it even worse.

    I always thought this looked like a big-budget Discovery channel special; when Emmerich admitted that’s exactly what inspired him, I felt very justified.

  3. Jul 14 2008

    It occurred to me while watching this film that 10,000 years ago must have been the dawn of all Hollywood clichés. Perhaps this is why this film is so laughingly rediculous.

  4. Prudence
    Feb 3 2009

    Some of the tribes in the movie also spoke some African languages. For instance the runner that belonged to the Naku tribe spoke Setswana (the native language of Botswana, also spoken in the North-West and Limpopo province of South Africa) one guy spoke Tshitsonga (predominanltly spoken in the Limpopo province of South Africa)

  5. Mimi
    Mar 1 2009

    Yor, was not a Yugoslav film. It was a Italian B movie.

  6. Derrick
    Jul 5 2009

    I read the review that Helen Geib wrote above and I must say that she is so far from the truth. When I saw this movie I was extremely surprised by the action and the subject matter. The great thing about most movies just like comic books there is often some incoded truth within that only the well-read will understand. The hidden message in this movie tells of the final days of the Original African Tribes and the rise of the “BLUE-EYED” child that would destroy or change the world forever. You will remember that this same message was also told at the very end of the movie “Apacalypto.” When the white Spaniards came and euthanized an entire Mayan Culture for absolutely nothing. The same as the Caucasian race did to the true Americans, the Native Indians” I guess they aren’t celebrating the 4th of July huh? Well To the rest of us. This movie was very exciting and it showed that any obstacle can be conquered if the people will all gather on one accord in unity.. That is why I give this movie 2 & 1/2 stars. Well worth seeing… Ms Geib with this new found knowledge,, try seeing it again… I think you will enjoy it now… God Bless you…

  7. Oct 6 2012

    If i heard well in the movie, there is also oshiwambo language spoken in northern Namibia in southern-africa by owambo tribe .

  8. Oct 8 2012

    It’s too bad the main characters’ dialogue wasn’t spoken in an African language too. Subtitles could only have been an improvement.

    Oct 19 2012

    well, I watched the movie and I realised that it is more spiritual and involves the struggle of the innocents. I found it religious and also delivering message about false gods and working in one arcod. I was puzzlely captured and still in need of explanation of the various languages used there. I am an African from South Africa In Limpopo, and my mother tounge is Tsonga. this language was spoken by a guy in the movie saying that mi nga n’wi khinsameli man! a hi Xikwembu, why mi n’wi khinsamela? which means: do not bow before him or her, for he is not God, why d you bow to a false gods? Xikwembu is God. I was amazed to watch a professional movie with my langauge but a question is that, was it an accident? or there is a hidden message in the movie?