Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Review: 10,000 B.C.

Starring: Steven Strait, Camilla Belle, Cliff Curtis
Director: Roland Emmerich
Release Date: March 7, 2008
Running Time: 109 min
MPAA Rating: R
Distributor: Warner Bros

So I’m in the theatre seeing who knows what with my better half. We watch the previews and turn to each other after each one is over and give the one look critique in silence. You know, that head shake or whatever to determine if this is one she sees with me or one I am on my own for. The first time I see the trailer for 10,000 B.C. I have to admit I was interested. It looked pretty decent. I turn to her shaking my head yes and am met with a blank stare and the following statement; “Are you kidding me? Aren’t you a movie critic?”


I sign up to review the movie and literally that night saw the trailer again in front of something else. Once again I thought it looked decent. Then I started thinking. Where is the dialogue? What is the story about? Wait, why did I think this was going to be good after hearing again who made it?

Dear God, what have I done.

One things for sure, no one ever accused Roland Emmerich of being a master craftsman. His previous attempts to direct have yielded exactly one and three fourths of a half decent movie – Independence Day, The Patriot, and Stargate. I can’t decide which movie makes up which percent, but I’m sticking to my figures.

Movies involving history or past events that are alleged to have taken place are tricky business. People making these movies typically try to stick to the facts as much as possible and interject the story with life where they see fit to make the story flow. Fair enough, I say. I imagine the idea of a movie like 10,000 B.C., in its infancy, was designed to tell a story focused not so much on fact, but rather an interesting setting. Again, fair enough.

There are just far too many things to attack with a movie this bad. The story itself is a garden variety prehistoric odyssey with no heart. And I may have been schooled in the butt crack of the Midwest but even I know English wasn’t the native tongue ten thousand years ago. In an interview with Emmerich he said he decided to use English in the movie because he felt using an ancient language wouldn’t have been as emotionally engaging. He went on to say that faced with the dilemma of forcing the audience to read subtitles of a language they didn’t understand and look at what was on screen, he opted for the latter. Hearing this made me immediately assume that what we were being forced to look at would have overcompensated for the lack of story. Aside from a couple scenes in the movie, it did not.

It’s hard to say if the movie is meant to be a history lesson of any kind. If it is, then it is grossly irresponsible. I thought it less of a lesson in history rather than one of economics; the study of the production, distribution, and consumption of good and services. It is bad economics to make a movie of this size and spend all the money in the budget on a handful of scenes. Emmerich is known for doing this and why he keeps being allowed to do so without producing a decent picture is beyond me. The lesson here is that if you don’t want to see it then don’t go and you win, right? Well this may be true to a point but look at it like this: A studio spends umpteen million dollars to make a pile of a movie like this then is forced to oversaturated the market with its product. This means you get sixteen showings a day of 10,000 B.C. at your local theatre while movies that cost less to make, and therefore loss less if they make less, get pulled early or not ran at all. So even if you don’t go see movies like this, you still lose.

I guess they’re right; there IS no such thing as a free lunch.

And there’s the rub

* out of ****


barb michelen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
luke h. said...

Wow. You can really write, dude. This may be the first movie review I've read that can be described as a post-Marxist tragedy. :)

Keep up the good work.