I don't have much patience for movies that are this fucking stupid, so let's cut to the chase: 10,000 B.C. is fucking stupid. Stupid enough that it makes 300 look smart. Stupid enough that it makes you appreciate the subtle nuance of Michael Bay. Stupid enough that it might be the worst film yet from Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, that Godzilla that starred Ferris Bueller) who I swear to god has to have some sort of bet going with Uwe Boll as to who can trick the most studio execs into letting them make movies. Worst of all, 10,000 B.C. is somehow, bewilderingly, stupid enough that it manages to make saber-toothed tigers and stampeding mammoths boring.
No, wait—that last part's kind of impressive, actually. I mean goddamn—if there's anything that would be awesome to see on film, it's saber-toothed tigers biting cavemen's heads off, and mammoths moshing around causing a big old hairy ruckus, right? Emmerich kindly disagrees: He's got a multi-million dollar budget with which to litter the screen with as many badass extinct monsters as he damn well pleases, but instead, he makes his saber-tooth tiger a friendly pet kitty, and the stampeding mammoths magical creatures who can heal wounds just by looking at people, and who would rather do bullshit like this than bother trampling on even a single annoying caveman.
10,000 B.C. is roughly assembled with the following materials: 80 percent so-so CG, 15 percent goofy-ass dreadlocks, and four percent bullshit mystical mumbo-jumbo. The remaining one percent consists of a little kid running away from giant prehistoric turkeys, at which point his balls collide with a tree branch, at which point he makes a facial expression that is intended to be comical.
The basic story: Broody, dumb D'leh (Steven Strait) is part of a mammoth-hunting tribe, and he's totally in love with the vapid, pretty Evolet (Camilla Belle). Some bad guys come and steal Evolet, so D'leh has a bro-down and gets a bunch of dudes together to go save her. 10,000 B.C. is troubled by neither actual history nor actual geography, which means D'leh's boring-ass journey will take him and his pals, in a matter of days, from frigid mountain peaks to steamy rainforests to what appears to be ancient Egypt. Writer/director Emmerich and his co-writer Harald Kloser are careful to never actually say where all this business is taking place, nor exactly what supposedly historical peoples they're using as characters, but suffice to say that 10,000 B.C. roughly corresponds to what a retarded four-year-old would say if you ask him what history is. (With Emmerich's obvious respect for not only history but also the intellectual competence of his audience, I was kind of surprised that a talking dragon, or a land made entirely out of candy canes, never turned up in 10,000 B.C. But then again, that's probably just because such things wouldn't be nearly as impressive as saber-toothed tigers who just stand around and purr and never bite anybody.)
There's also some business that I'm pretty sure is ripped off, line for line, from another Emmerich classic, Stargate—it's the whole last third of the film, actually, in which a corrupt false god who's been using slave labor to build a pyramid gets killed by the very people he was enslaving, and everybody cheers. There was another part, too, shortly after that, when the end credits rolled, and I solemnly promised myself that I'd never subject myself to another Roland Emmerich film. But even that part felt familiar, as if I'd made a similar vow a few times before, maybe during the end credits of Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and that Godzilla that starred Ferris Bueller.