Way back in prehistory, a tribe of Europeans were growing worried about their source of food, the mammoth herds which periodically moved through their valley and provided these hunters with a way of life. Their wise woman went into one of her trances during a ceremony and foretold of one child born to them with blue eyes would lead the tribe out of their situation, and so it was that Evolet (Camilla Belle) grew up to be one of their most lauded members, and the object of affection for D'Leh (Stephen Strait). His father had abandoned them years before to journey south, and soon D'Leh would make a journey of his own...
On the face of it, writer and director Roland Emmerich's 10,000 B.C. was a move towards greater historical accuracy than its soundalike predecessors One Million B.C. and One Million Years B.C. had been, so there were no dinosaurs in this one. But for the historians, calling it that was asking for trouble, as there were a host of historical innacuracies if this was truly meant to be taking place around the time of the title, so perhaps they would have been better if they had opted to call it something vaguer. Time of the Mammoth, Messing up the Pyramids, Long Ago Stuff, that sort of thing. As it was, most viewers wouldn't be too bothered by getting dates wrong.
What they were more bothered about was the manner in which this whole silly adventure took itself deadly seriously: not one joke in the entire running time, and precious little fun to be had otherwise, truth be told. There were a bunch of CGI creatures that interrupted the action every so often, and while there had evidently been a lot of work put into them they still looked like something out of a computer game rather than living and breathing animals, but seeing mammoth, giant birds and a sabre tooth tiger which gets to anticipate the story of Androcles and the Lion did go some way to livening up the piece.
It's just that if this confirmed anything, it's that early mankind needed a bit more oomph in the personality stakes if they were to be an engaging group of characters. They didn't need to be dropping pop culture references or breaking out into comedy rap numbers, but as depicted here they were a seriously dull lot - not the fault of the actors, who did their best, but the fault of an uninspired script. What happens to set the adventure ball rolling, after a quick mammoth hunt in the first ten minutes, is that a band of outlaws pass through the valley and proceed to kidnap the youngest and strongest members of the tribe, though to what end we do not know yet. Well, not all of them.
No, for there are three - make that four - tribesmen who managed to lie low and escape the kidnappings, so set out after them by following the trail Kenny Everett, sorry, Evolet leaves for them by dropping parts of her bone necklace along the way. It's basic save the damsel in distress stuff, which means D'Leh could be a knight of old in shining armour or a prince of the Arabian Nights, we're getting a well worn plot here. However, Emmerich and co-writer Harald Kloser have a message of emancipation in mind, not female emancipation, but that of the right to be free, that is, not bound in slavery, so it turns out the baddies are using their captives to build a few landmarks that might look familiar. Considering what happens at the end, the setback D'Leh instigates didn't set them back that far. Nobody makes much of an impression, not even Belle with her blue contact lenses, but watch out for Marco Khan doing his best Sid Haig impersonation; a few more performances like that and this might have been less disappointing. Music by Kloser and Thomas Wa- uh, Thomas Wander.