"...the movie is a satire waiting to happen..."
"Apocalytpto for dummies..."
"A failure on almost every level..."
"Awfully dopey but also kind of fun..."
These are just a few of the choicest critical nuggets concerning last week's box office behemoth, 10,000 B.C. I tend to fall into the camp of the last comment in the list. Sure, the movie is a rambling, shambling spectacle that yearns to assert itself as an epic journey film but never quite approaches that film type. Sure, the characters, particularly the female lead, are dull. And sure, the idea of photogenic cavemen in trendy dreadlocks and perfect dental work speaking strangely accented English requires the audience to check their disbelief at the door--but that's the point of such a blatantly escapist film. I should call it a movie, in all fairness. This one, amongst all of director Roland Emmerich's numerous popcorn movies, truly deserves such a mantle.
And I'll give it a C+ and tell you could do worse for your six bucks (see it on matinee, to be sure) than this sucker if you want to be entertained. The flaws: the epic journey never materializes as Emmerich frames shot after shot of the protagonist cresting hills. The establishing shots are few and far between and we don't get any of the tedium or difficulty that makes the travel from The Shire to Mordor so believable in LoTR. Now of course, there are some differences in the scope of these examples, but Emmerich never stirs audience pathos in illustrating just how far D'Leh and Tic'Tic (yes, those are their names) have to go to topple one of two white characters in this film. Yes, the hissing dictator that enslaves all the other grunting cavemen races is white. Don't forget to put some half-assed political message in there on your way out of the editing room, Roland.
But I liked Steven Strait's turn as D'Leh and watching the mammoths crash into each other as they are herded through a canyon is truly neat. The level of woolly goodness in this film is worth the six bucks by itself, but you'll have to get over a needlessly corny moment in the climax when D'Leh frees the mammoths and one of them shares a moment with the story's hero. Who knew he could both speak English and communicate via telepathy with the enormous creatures with brains the size of walnuts?
Ok, I slammed it a little harshly here for the amount of fun I had in this one. If you cried when Bumblee lost his legs in Transformers then you need to see this one today. This movie was made for you. But if you want to laugh and enjoy some cool special effects and you can look at it for what it is--escapist fun--then take a look.