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</script></div>{/googleAds}Ironically or adeptly, depending on which critic you read, Roland Emmerich's latest big budget extravaganza about a somewhat savage prehistoric world was given quite the savaging upon its release earlier this year.

Claims of historical inaccuracies, wooden performances, inconsistent pacing and so on and so forth seemed to be the order of the day. Never a favourite with the critical world, it's rare this reviewer sees his obvious virtues mentioned as often as the faults most seem to find with his broadly canvassed cinematic outings. There is some merit in some of the lambasting Emmerich has received, but there is also merit in his style and the simple fact that he continues to have a career at this level/expenditure of the movie making spectrum.

10,000 BCEmmerich has become something of a modern day Irwin Allen, at least in his favoured topic of ‘disaster' stories. With 10,000 BC, the director takes a step away from this arena, and tries to tell a tale steeped in mythology and time-honoured storytelling.

Any genre has a certain template to follow, but none are more obvious or difficult to make refreshing and new than mythology based heroes tales (Star Wars being one of the more inventive twists on a very familiar tale). 10,000 BC follows the template of the heroes journey to every beat you have an inexperienced youth with a great destiny; a wise mentor; a prophet; a damsel in distress; and an all powerful adversary. The story at its core cannot be faulted it's a time honoured form we all instinctually recognised and often gravitate to. So why is this not the next Star Wars?

Firstly, the narrative of this very basic story is made overcomplicated. In particular, the beginning of the story is crammed with unnecessary and overdone exposition. We're two steps ahead of the storytellers before the characters get with the program, grow up (literally), and get on with the main tale. The over-complication is used to try and create some character depth, but fails all it does ignore that fact these moments should be implicit within the main story. Second, the main villain is not participatory to the tale until the very end. His minions for the most part undeveloped, unexplored henchman provide the bulk of the films antagonistic presence, and its just not that compelling or threatening. The main fault of this film's narrative is its sluggish execution. Too often what could be done in one scene takes several.

The dialogue does often push into ‘on the nose' territory, especially with the prophet and wise mentor characters, but its not as bad as some have made out. The ‘historical inaccuracies' complaint so often throw at these types of films - like a spear from a blind man - are so utterly pointless when taking into account the film's intention, one wonders why these comments are still made. This isn't Ghandi, it's not trying to be. There is no need nor any intention made to put any accuracy into this story. It's a fable, a tall tale, and should be viewed as such.

Emmerich can paint on a wide canvass like few others. He does spectacle very well, and this film is no different. He actually shows some restraint with monster moments and effects laden vistas appearing much later than usual (perhaps this went against him). But none could claim the film doesn't look spectacular.

Emmerich also went out of his way to cast mostly unknowns for effect. This works for the most part, and all seem well matched to their respective characters.

The effects are impressive. With viewers becoming all-too jaded since Jurassic Park broke through the ceiling of possibilities 15 years ago, it seems we all might be getting a little too desensitized to the amount of work and effort it takes to make such images come to life. The makers of this picture spare no effort in delivering some very realistic creatures and a world long lost to us.

Emmerich is headed back to his disaster territory next year with 2012. And although this film, as with some of his previous efforts, is not without its faults, it's copped an unfair beating. Perhaps with 2008 shaping up to be one of the finest cinematic years we've had in a good long while, it will be lost in the top draw crowd-pleasers crowding our minds this year, but it's still worth a look.

Component Grades
3 Stars
2 stars
DVD Experience
2.5 stars


DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 2.4:1

Subtitles: English SDH; French; Spanish

Language and Sound: English: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French-Canadian: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; alternate ending; additional scenes.

* Commentary
o No commentary track available
* Deleted Scenes - With unfinished visual effects
* Alternate Ending

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging