STARRING: Steven Strait, Camilla
Belle, Cliff Curtis, Joel Virgel, Affif Ben Badra, Mo Zinal, Nathanael Baring
and Mona Hammond
2008, 109 Minutes, Directed by:
Emmerich’s latest flick 10,000 B.C. follows a young hunter (Steven
Strait) on his quest to lead an army across a vast desert, battling saber tooth
tigers and prehistoric predators as he unearths a lost civilization and attempts
to rescue the woman he loves (Camilla Belle) from an evil warlord determined to
Belle incidentally looks like Elizabeth Taylor in her prime and as
with Cleopatra makes a worthy prize. Accidentally courageous Strait seeks
the backbone to pursue and free her when she’s carried off.
Produced in London by Double
Negative and Moving Picture Company, the visual effects are marvelous,
particularly a scene of a saber-toothed tiger in water. Visual effects
supervisor apparently Karen Goulekas joined 10,000 B.C. two years before
start of principal photography, after working with the director Roland Emmerich
on Godzilla and The Day
After Tomorrow. Goulekas built a library of illustrations, photos and CG
images from television shows as references for the film’s creatures.
the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles to research on mammoths. At the Tala Game
Reserve in Durban, South Africa, she shot HD footage of lions, tigers, leopards,
elephants and ostriches. The images she gathered enabled the animators to study
real animal movements from different angles.
The terror birds in the film
are apparently flightless predators with huge beaks based on creatures that
existed in South America.
Omar Sharif's lispy voice-over narration?"
Cliff Curtis, the actor who
plays Tic‘Tic in the movie, said in an interview that “there are predatory
terror birds and saber-tooth tigers, and, of course, the mammoths, but the story
also has a spiritual undertone to it, and I think that is the glue that holds it
together.” Unfortunately, that spiritual undertone is spoken out loud as lispy
narration by Omar Sharif.
Emmerich, known for directing such action films as
Independence Day and Universal
Soldier, relies heavily on voice-over narration in 10,000 B.C. If you
can imagine Independence Day with a narrator explaining everything about
Will Smith, you understand what went wrong with 10,000 B.C. The first
twenty minutes of the film is mostly narrated exposition and could easily be
dropped. Just get to the creatures already!
The pre-historic men, with
their unkempt beards and dirty faces, look unflatteringly like the Geico
caveman. Camilla Belle, on the other hand, looks hot. However, nothing in
costumes (or better still lack of costumes) exposes any of her charms. Belle
stays fully clothed, spending her screen time on sultry pouting and pining to be
rescued. She could have done so much more.
With Omar Sharif narrating as
Strait’s character goes in circles in the desert it’s of course hard not to
think of Lawrence of Arabia. 10,000 B.C. seems to borrow from many
films. At times it seems to be even reaching for Narnia,
but it simply fails to utilize its hero cat and disappointingly little is seen
of the saber-toothed tiger.
- Robin Rowe