Evoking memories of One Million Years B.C., Quest for Fire, Clan of the Cave Bear, Apocalypto and the grand spectacles staged by early sci-fi maven Ray Harryhausen, this is an action adventure set in a prehistoric world.
The story begins on a vast frozen tundra where the Yagahl tribe of dreadlockd hunters pursues woolly mammoths. Their spiritual leader, Old Mother (Mona Hammond) predicts an ominous future, heralded by the arrival of a blue-eyed orphan girl, Evolet (Camilla Belle), and her subsequent capture – during a devastating raid of their tiny village – by four-legged demons (slave traders on horseback).
Determined to rescue Evolet and the others who have been taken captive, a hunky, love-smitten, outcast hunter, DLeh (Steven Strait), takes off in pursuit, accompanied by his aging mentor, Tic Tic (Cliff Curtis), and a young boy, Baku (Nathaniel Baring). They trek over snowy mountains, sneak through a verdant valley filled with gigantic, clucking ostrich-like creatures, make friends with a saber tooth tiger and slog over sand dunes in a vast desert. Along the way, they encounter other bizarrely-costumed tribes that have been devastated by abductions by the slavers and, eventually, assemble a nomadic army. Under DLehs leadership, they follow the North Star and eventually discover a barbaric, pyramid-building civilization, where a climactic battle takes place.
Satisfied with a banal plot, touching only vaguely on paleoanthropology, minimalist dialogue, delivered in stilted English, and rudimentary characterizations, writer/director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow) and co-writer/composer Harald Kloser rely on state-of-the-art computer technology and multiracial casting and, unfortunately, Camilla Belle is no Raquel Welch.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, 10,000 B.C. is a formulaic 5. Its a guilty pleasure for those who enjoy watching stampeding herds of mastodons.