Monday, March 10, 2008


Cast: Mammoths (Yabba dabba doo! scores of them), Saber Tooth (too bad, only one), Ostrich? Emu? Dodo?, Steven Strait, Camilla Belle, Cliff Curtis
Director: Roland Emmerich
Runtime: 109 min.
Rating: *
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy?

Do not tell me ever again a movie is unwatchable just because it is stinking bad, and 10,000 B.C. reaffirms my long standing belief. If you doubt it, go watch the film and try stopping your guts from exploding into laughter when you hear the name ‘Tic-Tic’ on screen. That’s right, a very important character is named just that, and it is pronounced just the way you doubted. And that is not the only twentieth century commodity providing inspiration to our brothers from way, way back in the past. There’s a goatee that seems to be the pride and fashion of one African tribe. They have an interesting spin on it too, one that renders the goatee immune from shaves and lice. Rather than hair, why not attach a stump of wood to the chin. It looks special, real special, especially to an outsider.
Allow me to be blunt right at the outset, saving you some precious time. 10,000 B.C. is pure nonsense, unintelligible and a whole lot of mammoth-dung. It is so bad ancient cavemen could have made a better film. It is so bad, future generations will be relentlessly tested to come up with funnier ways to describe the epic stupidity of the filmmaking. It is so bad, such epic clunkers as Batman & Robin, Battlefield Earth and The 13th Warrior might suffer a complex. It is so bad, it is the worst film of a career that has made such terrible embarrassments as Independence Day, Godzilla and The Day After Tomorrow. It might be boring, but if you lighten up yourself, and turn up all cheerful like me, and go inside you just might have a blast your internal organs splintering in all directions. 10,000 B.C. doesn’t even need a spoof, it is the film and it is the spoof all rolled into one. Unintentional, accidental, serendipity you might say, but our brothers from way, way back evolved just like that, discovering the world around. Probably this was the time, somewhere around 10,000 B.C. when they discovered that thing we now know as bad films, but not necessarily a bad time at the movies.
Forgive me if I get some of the plot wrong; half of the time all I could manage was watch and giggle. Hear, and giggle. Think, and giggle. There’re a million jokes cramming in for space in that brain of yours in there, fuelled by everything that manages a presence on the screen, and all I could do was giggle uncontrollably like an idiot. The tribe in question is located in some snowy part of earth and is seemingly suffering from starvation. A little girl comes to them from some far-off land, and the local psychic at hand, a lady, called Old Mother declares the little girl named Evolet to be a good omen. Cut to twenty years and the same starvation in the air, and a young lad, marginally better looking than the males around, called D’Leh (Strait) is in love with Evolet. So is she with him. It is around that time the film seems to cross the 15-20 minute mark, and it realizes that there hasn’t been much by the way of action, the one we call enormous spectacle. Out of thin air, a whole army of mastodons (mammoths, it doesn’t matter actually) swarm as the day dawns. One of them is hunted by our young lad, the hero, and he is made the leader of the tribe. For some peculiar reason, which if you discover be kind enough to supply to me, D’Leh disclaims his position of authority the reason being he hadn’t killed the giant beast intentionally. Anyways, it doesn’t matter much either for soon enough evil marauders ride into town and beat everybody and loot everything and eat every piece of flesh and take everybody hostage, including Evolet. Not our young lad, and his uncle though and they stay behind following the riders collecting warriors from various other tribes from various other unknown lands. Forming, what my brain chuckled and admitted, the United Tribes Rapid Action Force. As it turns out the marauders are twenty times ahead of our heroes on the civilized-scale. Don’t ask me how, but our civilized brethren, who although in possession of horses and ships always manage to be just a stone’s throw away from the UTRAF, who primarily have the services of their foot. I’m sure the scriptwriters must have hit upon the same doubt, but must have flung it across over a chilled bottle of beer. It shall be that way, and it was filmed that way. Hence, thou shalt not ask. From then on, it is just the thing you expected – one thing after another but not necessarily leading to the next. Strung together on their end with the intention of creating an epic adventure. What awaits them, and us, at the end is a climax set amidst the dawn of a new city – the construction of beautiful palatial complexes, buildings, pyramids, and what not.
You know what, our heroes, the valiant members of the UTRAF, should be given a firm kick on their posterior for besetting the civilization by at least 40 years for the sake of some silly romantic cockamamie of an adventure. Damn you tribes, for were it not for your stupidity we would have been having regular weekend flights to the Moon. I loved their fake accents though; some African tribe managing the Queen’s English much before colonization ever occurred to anybody. Sometimes the accents changed, each tribe exchanging the other’s midway through a conversation, probably as a result of first impression. Accents can be influential. It is also interesting to note how every tribe boasts of a psychic, each of them supposedly trained in some ancient school, and each of them in command of a radio frequency at the exclusive service of their job. Tune in, and the world is a considerably smaller place.
I now realize how unkind I’ve been overall to Gibson’s Apocalypto. Although I had huge issues with the film, to the point where I was considerably offended, yet I know none of those issues were related to basic filmmaking. 10,000 B.C. offends you at the most basic of levels by assuming that someone out there in the audience will put up with whatever trash is put on the screen, irrespective of caste, creed, race, gender, age and what not. Although IMDb lists screenwriters for the film, suggesting that there did exists a script, I’m not sure it surfaced anywhere near the sets. The general idea was to have CGI animals run amuck, and then try and create some sort of a comprehensible mess around them. Although they seem to have largely succeeded in their ultra-low ambitions, the special effects aren’t exactly convincing. Whenever our actors are thrown up against a make-believe background (they were standing against green-screens for large parts of the film), it is a pain in the eye. For Emmerich you need to throw away much more than $75 million, it seems. A handsome Saber Tooth makes a spectacular guest appearance, and while it is all alone on screen everything seems fine and dandy. Just when it shares screen-space with our hero, we realize it isn’t looking at him, but beyond him. We realize the limitations of two-dimensional geometry at every possible level. There’re some ostriches in the picture, that sound exactly like someone from those Jurassic Park films. They seem to have style too; whenever someone hits them on the head they raise their neck, and turn it to one side and vocalize – ‘How’? Too bad they were villains, I was rooting for them. The horde of mammoths though is a spectacle to behold. Let me tell you, Hollywood needs to take great care of these enormous CGI animals for if they ever plan to go on a strike, I’m sure there are many films which might never ever fill the vacuum.


Anonymous said...

For the 1st time, I completely agree with review wrod by word apart from rating!! I wont even give a single * rating to this pathetic crap!! I even liked apocalypto.. it has that gory touch, some vibrant ancient look, 1st timer concept. Pathetic actors, crap nonsense in the form of tribes & their lively hood. What the heck with d'leh's father going for future survival handing over the bony bracelet to blind servent protected by the prisoners before dying.
horrible witche concept, evolet gasping the breathe given by old mother! Amid project UAT, i wasted precious time & money & felt why me!!


Sadanand Renapurkar said...

I Just watched a Hindi movie 1971 by Amrit Sagar.Brilliant film. This movie has a story to tell and tells it uncompromisingly.Great acting, superb direction, good production values, and the result is the best Indian movie of 2007.

Anonymous said...

Indian Rescue Dawn for you. Though the movie is a work of fiction, it's inspired by the fact that Pakistan still haven't freed Indian PoWs.Do watch it.