Opening 6 Mar 2008
The new film by Roland Emmerich, director of Stargate and The Day after Tomorrow, shows the fight for survival of a tribe of mammoth hunters. The huge beasts are becoming scarce, and feeding the tribe is increasingly difficult. Old Mother, their spiritual leader, predicts that a solution may yet be found and that the tribe’s fate is bound to the fate of Evolet (Camilla Belle), a blue-eyed orphan girl. When on horseback the more powerful slave-dealers attack them, these “four-legged demons” abduct many, among them Evolet. The young hunter D’Leh (Steven Strait), who is in love with Evolet, sets out with a few companions to follow the slave-dealers and rescue their victims. On their way they join forces with warriors of other tribes whose villages were also raided. They finally catch up with the “four-legged demons”, only to find themselves confronted with an enemy even more dangerous.
The ingredients of a fascinating fantasy adventure movie are there, but the film employs many clichés (e.g., about women), and a story is also only as good as the telling. Instead of letting the viewer experience this prehistoric world with its huge hairy mammoths and birds with a taste for human flesh, instead of making the film tell the story, Emmerich relies on an omniscient narrator to explain important aspects of the story in flowery phrases.
The strong points of this movie are the impressive scenery and the life-like prehistoric animals. The ethnic diversity of the cast is refreshing, and the 10,000 BC housing and hunting techniques look convincing. This is a film for people who are fascinated with prehistoric life and like to watch a lot of men running around and fighting. That beautiful Evolet mainly contributes to the story by being abducted and abused is maybe not to everyone’s liking. (Christa Greiff)