10,000 B.C. (In theaters) 1.5 stars
Movies like 10,000 B.C., directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day and Day After Tomorrow) assuage the hearts with the knowledge that even without a writer’s strike, movies this inane, ridiculous and stereotypical are still written and mass produced by Hollywood. Before the script was even finished, I’m sure the producers and studio heads convened and decided the following: Apocalypto + Gladiator + a dash of Spartacus + a topping of A Quest for Fire + $110 million = 10,000 B.C.
If you’re seeing this movie for any other reason than the CGI “money shots,” then surely your artistic and intellectual outlets need immediate and urgent reexamination.
Let’s discuss the “money shots” (The reason you all will see this movie) before we talk about “Why Hollywood is Crazy.”
1. The Mammoth Hunt:” The first epic money shot depicts a right of passage for our protagonist D’Leh (Steven Strait of Sky High), the conflicted and prophesied “redeemer and savior” of the tribe who will emancipate them from bondage and shack up with the hottest girl, Evolet: the only blue eyed, White woman in the entire movie (That is an important plot point – I kid you not) whose future, yet undetermined partner – hmmmn I wonder who? – is destined to save the oppressed people. Do you think D’Leh is that man? Do you think D’Leh will save the tribe? Do you think D’Leh and Evolet will hook up? You don’t have to think of an answer – the movie tells you within the opening 5 minutes – nay, it “prophesizes” it. Back to the “Hunt:” whoever nabs the large, furry CGI animal will inherit the legendary “White Spear” and claim his honor as a mighty warrior. Who do you think bags the Mammoth? The integration of digitally created mammoths side by side with the actors probably represented the best and most costly use of the movie’s numerous special effects. A reviewer sitting next to me remarked, “They blew most their CGI budget in that shot.” And, he was right.
2. Ostrich-Raptor Attack:” While writing notes during this intellectually stimulating movie, the most profound challenge for me was deciding what to name the killer, CGI birds: “Ostrich-Raptors” or “Peacock Raptors?” The former won after a hard-fought and agonizing mental battle. Imagine the original Jurassic Park raptor attack scene, but replace those impressive, nearly 15 year old effects with mediocre, 21st century violent ostriches living in the heart – of what seemed like – a South American Jungle. A gratuitous scene that pales in comparison in delivery, presentation and special effects to Spielberg’s 1992 movie. (The mammoths ate up the Ostriches’ budget.)
3. The Vegan Saber-toothed Tiger:” D’Leh, now on his journey to save his tribe who have been abducted by men on “four legged demons” (See: Arabs, Muslims and Darkies – more on that later), encounters the fabled “Spear-tooth,” a behemoth, awkwardly constructed CGI Saber-toothed Tiger. D’Leh, in a misplaced moment of benevolence, does what no sane human being would do: he frees the trapped Tiger, who for all intents and purposes should have turned around and eaten D’Leh like a tasty appetizer. The tiger stares down D’Leh, leaps away, only to return, for really no reason except to unsubtly reiterate a plot point, 5 minutes later in the “African desert” in a completely unrelated scene. The tiger circles D’Leh much to the shock of the African tribal folk, protecting D’Leh from the tribe’s initial hostile behaviors by bellowing a couple of growls, and then the Tiger disappears – for the entire movie. Why did the Tiger do this? One of the movie’s three minority “elders” immediately informs us that “he” who is protected by the “Spear-tooth” is prophesized to be the savior. There is also an “ancient” illustration on a large rock of a man who looks like D’Leh being protected by Spear-tooth that reminds the characters and the audience that verily this prophecy is now true! The two other minority elders are “Old Mother,” a stereotypical Mexican-Indian soothsayer with a large role in the movie, and the other one I’ll simply refer to as “ Random Blind Black Albino Man” who reiterates, for what must be the sixth time, that D’Leh is the destined savior of his people.
4. 300 – but with a happy ending – and more Mammoths.” The final money shot occurs at the ending of the movie where D’Leh, the Neanderthal Maximus, has managed to successfully lead a motley crew of UNICEF allies in a mass rebellion against the tyrannical despot, fake “god”, who sports 9 inch long nails and a screeching voice. The Mammoths, making a glorious CGI comeback, stampede against the “Axis of Evil” – the minions, aka Arabs, Middle Easterners and Darkies – allowing D’Leh and his United Nations crew ample time to stage their coup.
WHY HOLLYWOOD IS CRAZY
Movies like 10,000 B.C. reaffirm the fear and assumption of most non-White, European people that Hollywood’s casual, and most likely unintentional, panache for stereotypes and racist caricatures is alive and well. Before one dismisses this claim, let’s please review the evidence.
D’Leh, the protagonist of the movie and leader of the United Nations rebel army, is the Whitest, if not the only White male, member of the rebel squad. His most trusted advisor and trainer is Tic’Tic (Yes, that’s his name) played ably by Cliff Curtis, a fine New Zealand actor, who has the unenviable and burdened task of playing every minority in Hollywood. Curtis, a man of Maori descent, has so far played the following: Colombian (Collateral Damage), Arab (The Majestic), Shiaa Iraqi (Three Kings), and Cholo Latino Gangster (Training Day.) To Hollywood’s credit, they’ve also let Curtis play a New Zealander: Whale Rider and Piano.
Curtis plays the “Djimon Hounsou role,” (Blood Diamond, Gladiator, Amistad, The Island, Four Feathers) the token minority, but ultimate badass, who for all intents and purposes should be the lead due to his professed kick-assery, but nonetheless either sacrifices his life or considerable time and talents in assisting an inferior, inexperienced and far more mediocre, yet Whiter, protagonist.
The convenient mythology, religion, and metaphysical mumbo jumbo explaining the supernatural prophecies of the movie should be called “Plot-ology:” Hollywood’s ethnic religion of choice when depicting Native or indigenous (Or, one can even say “Eastern”) cultures. “Old Mother,” the tribe’s token elder, soothsayer, and “medium,” dances around mumbling random gibberish and every once in a while is overtaken by a “vision” of the future. She predicts the entire movie in the first 5 minutes. The movie, randomly and inexplicably, cuts back to “Old Mother,” one of the few people who escaped the war lord’s attack, staring comatose into the camera experiencing D’Leh’s torments. D’Leh, by now, is thousands of miles away on his journey towards freeing his people. When D’Leh freezes in the mountains, the movie cuts to “Old Mother,” sitting comfortably thousands of miles away, also freezing and so forth. Her “gift’ is used as a redeeming plot point at the end that won’t be revealed in this review.
The United Nations allies all consist of dark skinned, either Black or Brown, ethnic warriors who unite under D’Leh’s none too charismatic, but reliably White-skinned leadership. In order to cover up the script’s inability to provide D’Leh with memorable dialogue or rousing characteristic traits that would naturally inspire men of different tribes and faiths to follow him into battle, the movie conveniently and repeatedly reminds us that D’Leh is the “prophesied” one – so they must follow him: D’uh!
The major villains of the movie consist of the Emperor “god” (The one with 9 inch long finger nails living inside a pyramid), an “Arabian War Lord” and his henchman, “One Eyed Arab,” those 2 who rode on the “four legged demons” and initially enslaved D’Leh’s tribe and kidnapped his blue-eyed woman. Unmistakably, the characters are meant to represent either Muslims or Middle Easterners – or both (Note: not all Middle Easterners are Muslims.) First, the actors playing the roles are Arab, but never mentioned as such outright – again this is 10,000 B.C. where apparently “the Axis of Evil” not only existed but was also all brown. Second, their wardrobe and headdress is distinctly Arab, reminiscent of Bedouins or centuries-old depictions of Saracens. Recent blockbuster movies such as Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and 300 have unsubtly employed similar, crude Arab-esque villainous caricatures; 10,000 B.C. follows the dishonorable tradition. After decades of celluloid “Arab” and “Muslim” stereotyping, I yearn simply to see a “Middle Eastern” villain who at least has a sense of humor and charisma. Is that too much to ask? Can’t he have a quip or witty repartee with the protagonist reminiscent of the Hans Gruber and John McClain relationship in the original Die Hard movie?
In a fitting throwback to that racist movie of yore, D.W. Griffith’s infamous “Birth of a Nation,” the War Lord Darkie becomes smitten with our blue-eyed heroine, much to the chagrin of his One-Eyed henchman: Divide and conquer! Towards the end, as D’Leh’s uprising is successful in freeing all, including the villains, from the clutches of the “Emperor god,” “The Arab War Lord” has a glorious opportunity to escape and free himself. What does he do instead? He kidnaps the blue-eyed White girl, throws her on the back of his horse, and tries to escape. Following the ideology espoused by White nationalists like Thomas Dixon and the makers of Birth of a Nation, the first thing Darkies do when given freedom is abuse that freedom by molesting White women. Since miscegenation is unacceptable even in 10,000 B.C., the “Arab War Lord’ earns his bloody and well earned demise.
Speaking about violence, this reviewer amusingly observed the audience cheering three times during the movie; each time after a character was speared to death. In order to increase approval ratings for the Iraq War, perhaps the Administration should think of equipping the soldiers with spears.
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Movies like 10,000 B.C. are mindless, pre-Summer popcorn fluff. They neither warrant nor merit this lengthy of an analysis. Their job is to maximize global revenue and DVD sales to ensure some semblance of profit. For the audience, we just expect to see people being eaten by cool looking, computer generated, prehistoric creatures. However, the stereotypes and caricatures were glaring and too inviting for me to pass this excellent opportunity to rant.
1.5 STARS OUT OF 4 STARS (DVD Rental while Multi-tasking)