10,000 B.C. – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Big special effects epics have been all the rage over the last decade or so in Hollywood. One director that has made a career on making successful movies like this is Roland Emmerich, who is best known for directing Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow. Sometimes having the greatest special effects in a film masks the fact that you don’t have a good story for a movie, but it still works with moderate success in the end. Then, other times the story is so bad that even special effects can’t save the film from being horrible. Which side of the fence would Emmerich’s latest film, 10,000 B.C., fall on?

10,000 B.C. follows the Yagahl tribe as they go on a hunting expedition for a wooly mammoth. After a successful hunt, D’Leh (Steven Strait) and his mentor Tic’Tic (Cliff Curtis) watch as slave raiders arrive and steal most of the tribe members, including D’Leh’s love Evolet (Camilla Belle). D’Leh and Tic’Tic set off to follow the raiders. Along the way they find other tribes of people who have seen their people kidnapped. They unite to march across the desert and find out where their people have been taken.

The story for this film is really just basic and cookie-cutter for any standard action movie. That might have been okay for a movie like this, but then it’s almost like Emmerich saw that the story was too basic and decided to throw in a lot of rudimentary mythology at the last second to make this film seem unique. That just confuses things even more, and hurts the movie in the end.
Basically, they mixed parts of 300 and Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto and added in their own special effects to try and create something innovative. That’s just not going to work.

Not helping the story either are the characters. They are pretty shallow. The acting is decent but it can be summed up by that slogan for an insurance company that says “so easy a caveman can do it”. You probably won’t recognize any of the main cast members, and after watching this film you probably won’t remember they were in this film either. That’s not good. The only positive thing this film has going for it is the special effects. The scenery and grand spectacle of everything with all the pre-historic animals running around is at least neat to watch.

In the end, though, there is not a lot going for 10,000 B.C., except for the special effects. These aren’t even the greatest special effects in the world, but they at least make this film slightly watchable. But that is even debatable since the shallow characters and overly-complex story really weigh down the film. In addition, for an action film, there isn’t enough action to keep things moving at a fast pace. 10,000 B.C. may be nice to look at, but that can’t save this movie from being below average at best.

The video is given in both 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen color, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs, and 1.33:1 fullscreen. The video is great with sharp colors. There are no major problems at all, and probably the best thing about this film.

The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, or French 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English SDH as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear, so no major problems here either.

Alternate Ending – This runs 3 minutes and it really doesn’t make the film any better or worse. But it’s there if you must watch a different ending.

Deleted Scenes – There are 9 scenes that didn’t make the final cut of the movie and they total 11 minutes. None of it is “must-watch”, especially since most of it has unfinished visual effects. No need to watch these at really considering that.

This film is lacking in a lot of ways, but if you enjoyed any of Emmerich’s previous films you will probably mildy enjoy this one. It is not the best movie he has made, but there are some good visuals here. However, I really can’t even recommend a rental for this, though, because you won’t be that disappointed if you decide to skip this one. But there are worse films out there, so if nothing else is available to rent and nothing else is on TV this will kill 109 minutes.

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Warner Home Video presents 10,000 B.C.. Directed by Roland Emmerich. Written by Roland Emmerich and Harald Kloser. Starring Steven Strait, Camilla Belle, Cliff Curtis, Joel Virgel, and Affif Ben Badra. Running time: 109 minutes. Rated: PG-13. Released on DVD: June 24, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.

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