Movie Mom

Movie Mom

10,000 B.C.

posted by Nell Minow
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence.
Violence/Scariness:Peril and violence including battles with swords and arrows and animal attacks, characters injured and killed
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:March 7, 2008

10000bcposter.jpgIf you are ten years old, a fan of video games, and have a short attention span and no knowledge of history, you will love this movie. The further you stray from these core qualifications, the less you will love it.
“10,000 B.C.” is the story of a tribe of ice age mammoth hunters who are scratching out a peaceful existence in the mountains when they are set upon by a fierce band of marauders who capture members of the tribe and drag them off into slavery. One of the captives is Evolet (the deserving-of-better Camilla Belle), the blue-eyed girlfriend of the young hunter D’Leh (Steven Strait). He vows to follow them to the ends of the earth to get her back, and so begins an epic journey in which D’Leh grows from a callow and frightened young man to a mature and powerful leader of men.

Don’t watch too carefully, because the plot makes no sense. And don’t try to use this as your cinematic Cliff’s Notes for your prehistory class. This is not the Discovery Channel. The travelers encounter prehistoric birds (who had died off before humans existed) and Egyptian pyramid-builders (who didn’t arrive until thousands of years later). The geography makes even less sense. Mountains of ice and snow, tropical rain forests and endless barren deserts are all in walking distance. But D’Leh does meet an unforgettable array of characters along the way: TicTic, Kawu, Moha, Tudu, Cala, Baku, Lu’kibu and of course, One-eye. He also makes friends with a saber tooth tiger and enlists the help of mastodons.
The saber tooth tiger is the only cast member with a consistent approach to prehistoric dialect. For the other members, prehistoric speech seems to provide a Rorschach test for each actor: narrator Omar Sharif seems to believe that prehistoric men spoke like a cartoonish Albert Einstein. Strait seems to have adopted the faux-Spanish accent from the old Walt Disney TV show, “Zorro.” I think I detected an Irish brogue at one point. And more than one actor seemed to be channeling Ricardo Montalban. No one knows exactly how prehistoric men spoke, but the mishmash of anachronistic accents is distracting and conveys carelessness rather than diversity.
Still, what the movie lacks in plot, script or acting it partially makes up in CGI: stampeding mastodons, sweeping aerial shots of pyramids under construction, huge boats festooned with swirling sails should all help catch the eye and heart of a ten year old boy.
Parents should know that this movie has some graphic violence and peril, including plenty of fights with swords, spears and clubs. There are lots of fires, storms, floods and scary animals (the scene with dinosaurs in the jungle may be particularly frightening to children). The romance is vague and long distance, just enough to provide motivation without any waste of time on hugging and kissing.
Families who see this movie should talk about what enabled the small tribes to overcome the mighty empire. Would you have set the saber-tooth tiger free?
Families who enjoy this movie should read up on the prehistoric era. They will also enjoy the cheesy classic One Million Years B.C. and the more serious-minded Quest for Fire and Clan of the Cave Bear (both with some mature material).

  • Anonymous.

    What did that have to do with videogames?



  • Nell Minow

    The reference, anonymous, was a comparison of this movie to the the pacing and look of video games. And Sakurai, I have no problem with movies that play around with historical accuracy, but I like to see it justified in some way other than a lack of energy or imagination.

  • Anonymous

    Strange, you claim that people who will enjoy this movie have no knowledge of history and then go on to claim that there were dinosaurs in the movie. Apparently somone isnt familiar with their prehistoric fauna. There were no dinosaurs to be found. I hope the author wasnt referring to Phorusrhacids(“terror birds”). Every sixth grader with an interest in dinosaurs(and probably video games) knows these were one of the prehistoric beast to come later after the dinosaurs left the scene. Although they probably died before man came about, they lived long after any dinosauria. Sure, the movie takes lots of artisic license(to the point of ridiculousness, i agree) but at least get the reasons why you dont like it “right”.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks! You are right and I should have been more precise. But, as you agree, the animals in the movie were not around during the era depicted. I will amend the review and I thank you for your correction.

  • Twila Price

    As a grandmother and copy editor, I’d like to (a) dispute your claim that only a ten year old who liked video games would enjoy this movie and (b) inform you of two quite wonderfully bad typos in your review.
    (B) first, as it rather undermines your salient points.
    I quite wonder exactly how “barren desserts” would taste. (Deserts.) And the “huge boats festooned with swirling sales” sound like they’d be more attractive to women than young boys. (Sails.)
    Now, as for (A) — as a woman who has more history books than some public libraries (both from college and from personal inclination), I quite enjoyed the movie. It was not intended to be historically accurate — I didn’t see any pretensions to that — nor do I think the various locales were meant to be “easy walking” from one to another. If you were listening to the narrator, he said that it took “many moons” or “many days” between scenes. This means that they WERE NOT close together.
    Actually, though, my main point is that this movie was (I believe) meant as a homage to the Robert E. Howard type of pulp history (the James Allison stories — “The Valley of the Worm”, for example) which mashed together all of the prehistoric world into a mass of Story, with Heroes and Heroines and Villains, all of which act in the finest pulp traditions. And it is a fine example of that. Very fine.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks very much for the copy edits, Twila! The rule here is that anyone who identifies 10 errors gets a free copy of my book, so you are on your way. I hope you will find more (but not too many and not too quickly). I have corrected the typos and will try to do better.
    I am delighted to hear that you are a fan of Robert E. Howard, and I hope you have seen the movie about him, The Whole Wide World, starring Renee Zellweger and Vincent D’Onofrio. I don’t insist that every movie set in another era be a documentary, but I do like to see mythic stories have more sweep, more of a sense of scope and archetype, more than pretty pictures than this movie provided. I enjoyed your comment, however, and hope you will return often to let me know what you think of the movies you see (as well as pointing out my mistakes).

  • Twila Price

    Thank you for your gracious reply, and I have bookmarked your site for review checking. I believe that I will find your family-friendly reviews helpful in choosing movies for my grandchildren, who are young enough that I want to be extra careful what they see.

  • Casey

    I have to say that this movie is, simply put, terrible. The plot makes no sense (a hunter journeys to the ‘end of the world’ to seek his beloved? Please.)and the acting is mediocre. The scene where D’Leh eats a chilli for the first time isn’t the least bit funny. I actually find it really gross.

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