Complete A-Z list

10,000 B.C.


Stars: Steven Strait, Camilla Belle, Cliff Curtis, Ben Badra, Marco Khan, Omar Sharif (narrator)

Director: Roland Emmerich

The first 40 minutes or so of this distant-times saga are often thunderously exciting, but the film can't keep it up. From almost-convincing woolly mammoth herds and a sabre-toothed tiger, it segues into a sort of Hollywood eastern (think The Scorpion King), with handsome hunter D'Leh (Strait) following his kidnapped sweetheart (Belle) across the frozen wastes in pursuit of the 'four-legged demons' (warlords on horseback) before they can jump on the 'red birds' spoken of by a negroid tribe of warriors who join D'Leh in his quest.

This presages the film's last truly fine scene, as the pursuers crest a sand-hill to see a river, and boats with sails like red wings. Too late to stop the raiders boarding their vessels, D'Leh and his men give chase across the desert (why don't they follow the river?), where they predictably end up going round in circles.

It's all dune-hill from then on, with our heroes ending up in a lost (Egyptian?) city, where CGI mammoths and hordes of CGI extras are hard at work building pyramids for the Almighty One, a spindly veiled figure. This seems to predate known pyramids by around 7,000 years, but then this isn't a historical epic, merely a spear-and-sandal action pic, epitomised by Belle's wearing a delicate rose-pink shade of lippie and some heavy charcoal mascara than runs when she cries. The ending involving her fate verges on the ridiculous.

D'Leh's relationship with a tiger that he frees from a pit provides some originality and has him named 'He who talks to the speartooth', amusingly echoing Kevin Costner's soubriquet in Dances With Wolves. Mainly, though, the last two-thirds of the romp is routine early Schwarzenegger.

David Quinlan

USA/New Zealand/South Africa 2008. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
109 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 10 Mar 2008