Mammoth Waste of Time

Don’t worry — no woolly mammoths were harmed in the making of this film. The intelligence of the audience, however, is a different matter altogether.

"10,000 B.C." really has something for just about everyone: There are extensive computer-generated saber tooth tiger fight scenes for the actionite, a simple but nonetheless trite love story for the romantic, cliché lessons for the moralist, rabid ostrich-velociraptors for the "Jurassic Park" enthusiast, sleep-inducing boredom for the insomniac and glaring historical and geographical inaccuracies for either the 10th-grade dropout or the raving lunatic.

Maybe I’m being unfair.

When you get down to it, "10,000 B.C." really is just a version of that one story that so many other stories are derivations of: Boy finds his own strength and courage as he walks the world over to save the girl he loves. However, that story often gets lost in the mammoth hunts, tiger brawls and disappointing dialogue delivered in English, but with what is apparently a cave accent.

Although it was directed and cowritten by Roland Emmerich of "Independence Day" and "The Day After Tomorrow," "10,000 B.C." doesn’t live up to Emmerich’s previous successes or to the prerelease hype that compared it to "300" and "Apocalypto." It attempts to combine action and drama, but the result is 109 minutes of mediocrity that prove too over-the-top ridiculous for anyone looking for drama and too boring for anyone looking for action.

"10,000 B.C." details the journey of D’Leh, a mammoth hunter who journeys across the apparently single existing continent in a rescue effort after his village is ransacked and members of his tribe, including his one true love, Evolet, are enslaved by foreigners who are something like 7,000 years more advanced than D’Leh’s civilization.

Along the way, D’Leh encounters a variety of cultures, climates and creatures, and comes to understand the importance of courage, teamwork and leadership. In case you were wondering, D’Leh is pronounced like "delay," as in what this movie does to all the more important events of your life, like shampooing your goldfish or choreographing an interpretive dance to the "Star Wars" theme song.

D’Leh is played by Steven Strait, who was both more attractive and more believable in his role as the fire-wielding, bad-boy superhero in Disney’s "Sky High." His damsel in distress, Evolet, is played by Camilla Belle of "When a Stranger Calls" and serves the dramatic purpose of looking pretty and having blue eyes, which were, I think, important somewhere in the movie.

If you’re hoping for mild action and mild drama where thinking is not only unnecessary but discouraged, "10,000 B.C." is the movie for you. But if it’s a decent prehistoric drama you’re looking for, I recommend "The Land Before Time" series.

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