Tuesday, March 18, 2008
10,000 BC (2008)
This should have been so good. It had every right to be.
The template it starts from is basically Clan of the Cave Bear. Only, if instead of being boring, Clan of the Cave Bear had Darryl Hannah abducted by Thulsa Doom and one of the Neanderthals she was living with turned out to be Conan who took off to rescue her, collecting badass African warriors along the way. And then Thulsa Doom turned out to be an alien who was using all those slaves and some domesticated woolly mammoths to build a shrine to himself. And there were also giant, man-eating birds.
How could that not be cool?
10,000 BC figured out a way.
See, what you do is, first you take away the nomadic aspect of Neanderthal culture, so that instead of hunting, they basically sit around waiting for the mammoth herds to come wandering by. After all, they've gone to all the trouble of building that cool hut out of mammoth bones. That's got to be hard to move around.
Then you have your main character do something really heroic to win the hot, Cro-Magnon chick who's been living with the Neanderthals for a while. No wait, that's too cool. You've got to fix that by having him claim that what he did wasn't heroic at all, but cowardly, even though I just got finished watching it and it looked pretty frickin' heroic to me. After all, he's got to have some excuse to give up the girl so that there's some tension between them once the Arabs show up to kidnap her and some of the other Neanderthals.
(Okay, they never call them Neanderthals or the hot girl a Cro-Magnon, and they're certainly too good-looking to actually be Neanderthals -- Neandertals, whatever -- but they're primitive people "hunting" woolly mammoths. Of course they're Neanderthals.)
Next, to help your cool movie suck, you've got to have the Arab raiders take only some of the tribe. They've come all this way across desert and giant, man-eating bird-infested jungle, but God forbid they make the trip worthwhile by taking everyone they can get. No, lets just grab a few. And then lets do the same thing in the African village we're going to hit later.
And when your hero saves the life of a sabretooth tiger and it becomes his friend, by all means write it out of the story as quickly as possible. You don't want anything as cool as a pet sabretooth tiger awesoming up your movie.
Oh! And make sure you keep cutting back to the old matriarch in the village who's watching the rescue operation from afar, but doesn't really do anything except act as deus ex machina at the end for a situation that you would've been better off if you hadn't introduced anyway. Lots of vague, mystical mumbo jumbo. Yeah, that's exactly what this movie needed.
Okay, I'm getting a headache remembering all the potentially cool places this movie could have gone and didn't. I didn't hate it; it had too much cool stuff in it. But man it could've been so much more and it absolutely sucks compared to the movie it should have been.
Two out of five pet sabretooth tigers.