Director Roland Emmerich, whose films usually portray the end of times—Independence Day saw aliens try and conquer the Earth while The Day After Tomorrow had Mother Nature taking a swipe at life as we know it—has, this time, chosen to take us back to the beginning of time.
10,000 BC is what used to be known as a “caveman” movie, but in these more politically correct times is now called Neanderthal Drama.
A bombastic cross between Quest for Fire and Encino Man it tells the story of D’Leh (model and actor Steven Strait), a caveperson of considerable physical charms, whose mate Evolet (Camilla Belle) is kidnapped by marauders on horseback who D’Laeh mistakes for “four legged demons.”
Lovesick, he vows to get her back. In his quest to find his love he must battle giant computer generated Saber Tooth Tigers, Wooly Mammoths and something that looks like a steroid-crazed giant chicken.
Keeping the tradition of other Cro-Magnon epics like Teenage Caveman and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, 10,000 BC doesn’t skimp on the kitsch—dialogue like “You see that star out there, the one that doesn’t move? It’s like my love for you, in my heart” would be hard for any actor to pass off, let alone one wearing a loincloth—and don’t look for a history lesson either. In Emmerich’s version of history cavemen don’t live in caves but thatch-roofed villages. They travel on wooden sailboats and worship at pyramids and temples thousands of years before either of those things actually existed. Call it historical fantasy.
Apart from a wild Wooly Mammoth battle near the end I’m afraid even fellow caveman Fred Flintstone might give this one a pass. So to paraphrase the world’s best known caveman is 10,000 BC a Yabba-Dabba-Do or a Yabba-Dabba-Don’t? I think Fred would choose the latter and rent ancient epic Apocalypto instead.