Wednesday, March 05, 2008

10,000 B.C.

Die Puny Human!

I guess not everyone has the audacity like Mel Gibson in taking risks related to the language used in their movies, for artistic integrity reasons. Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto both did not have their characters spout English, and had subtitles for the audience to rely on instead. And for a movie based in the era that its title states - 10,000 years before the birth of Christ - I do not suppose for one instance that our ancestral forefathers back in those days speak simple English, if at all. Then again, this is entertainment for the masses we're talking about.

The main draw of 10,000 BC was of course the interaction of man and humongous, dangerous beasts of the time, and how through ingenuity in our natural ability to milk the Earth to make tools, mankind has ruled the Earth until now. But if like me you're expecting huge action pieces involving mammoths and sabre tooth tigers, what you get in their place are gentle elephants who go on a rampage no different from having computers plaster the correct bodykits over stampeding bulls, and a sabre tooth tiger count of ONE, and a pussy cat at that too.

In essence, 10,000 BC tells of so simple a story, you'll believe that back then even hunky guys have their work cut out when they're going after the girl of their dreams. It's basically boy chases girl across the vast mountains and plains of the known world, because he had chosen to honour integrity than to win her hand over a mistaken recognition of bravery. And naturally to make our hero D'leh (Steven Strait) regret this decision, his lady love Evolet (Camilla Belle) and his fellow villages get enslaved and marched to Egypt to build pyramids for the gods (OK, so I'm stretching that last statement). Villains are extremely weak, as they just have to look menacing without actually bringing across the feeling of immense threats that could be fatally carried out.

Before you say that it's a carbon copy of the plot in Mel's Apocalypto and many others ranging as far back as Stargate, while Apocalypto had a man trying to save his family, this one's more of a pursuit of individual interests. And through his quest, a hero within D'leh will arise in a sort of coming of age tale of a prophetic savior who will lead everybody to salvation and to the promised land. Yes, tales of The One cliche get plastered at every possible instance that you'll roll your eyes when the plot tries to throw some red herrings along the way in meek attempts to spice things up. And as each prophecy get explained, the more ridiculous it becomes, and when an ancient badly rendered drawing is shown carved against a rock in colour, you know that this is supposed to be one cartoony movie after all.

Throw in some pathos about a long lost father, sacred weapons, and even a memorable fight scene in a bamboo forest (I kid you not this time), you'll have enough material here to feel a sense of familiarity throughout the story, surviving on the novelty of having set some thousands of years ago. One thing you'll learn though, is that it pays being a gatherer and hunter with excellent javelin skills, and even Leonidas will have to kowtow to.

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