3/7/08

10,000 BC: 10,000 Wins

I don't know where to begin praising this movie.

Let me start by saying that these aren't cavemen. Not only do they not live in caves, but they're a bit more sophisticated than the typical caveman picture. The tribe the hero, D'Leh, lives in has created shelter from the bones and skin of the mammoths which they hunt. This tribe has a spiritual matriarch, Old Mother, who prophesied that a young girl with blue eyes who was found near her tribe would lead them to a new land. The tribe of this young girl, Evolet, was destroyed, the people taken as Egyptian slaves. And from the very beginning D'Leh and Evolet are in love.

The story really gets going when the same "four-legged demons" (men on horseback) that ransacked Evolet's tribe comes for D'Leh's tribe. Most of the tribe is taken, including Evolet, and D'Leh is left with two others to go and find her.

What really wins me over in the telling of this story is how they use the fact that we know more than these primative people to their advantage. D'Leh tells Evolet that she is like the North Star, which he merely calls a "light in the sky." He says "every other light in the sky moves across sky, but that one stays put." He tells Evolet that she will stay with him in his heart. Later in the movie, they are following what the viewer will assume to be the Nile up toward Egypt. They take a short cut through the dessert and end up going in circles for days until D'Leh decides to follow Evolet's star.

The whole story is beautifully woven in this way. Prophesies and spirituality woven together with factual realities in a way that makes you chuckle when you realize you've just learned along with a prehistoric, uncivilized mammoth hunter that demons are just guys on horses. But they also added an element that is sometimes lacking in a rough, rugged hero like D'Leh. They added heart. There is a moment near the end where, for the love of his woman, D'Leh breaks down in front of his entire army and cries. From the very beginning it's clear that D'Leh is not a leader because he wants to be. He is only a leader because of Evolet. He doesn't run off to save his and several other tribes to prove his manhood and gain the respect of all nations. He does it to save his woman. D'Leh could easily have made the ranks of Sparta, but he would have been alienated by 300's pure, unmitigated testosterone. D'Leh teaches modern men that even cavemen cry sometimes.

10,000 BC wins my approval. It has the blood-pumping testosterone levels of 300 with the heart of Cloverfield mixed with a smattering of genius story telling. Also there are Hawkstriders. Big, mean, carnivorous Hawkstriders. So WoW + Cloverfield + 300 = 10,000 BC = Win.