10,000 B.A.D.
by Scott Mantz

“10,000 B.C.”
Steven Strait, Camilla Belle
Directed by Roland Emmerich

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Caveman! Steven Strait gets up close and personal in “10,000 B.C.”

The good news for director Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day,” “The Day After Tomorrow”) is that “10,000 B.C.” is the funniest movie of his career.  The bad news is that it’s not supposed to be a comedy.  That’s because “10,000 B.C.” is B.A.D. 10,000 times over – the acting is horrible, the dialogue is cheesy, the story is formulaic, the characters are bland and the special effects look a little too phony for a spectacle that cost more than $100 million to make.

It’s also very derivative of almost a dozen other movies, some of which didn’t need to be recalled again in the first place.  It’s basically an adventure story that combines “Apocalypto,” “Caveman” and “One Million Years B.C.,” but there are times when it feels like a live-action version of “Ice Age.”  There’s also an action scene that resembles the raptor chase in “Jurassic Park,” and it ends with a bombastic finale that could have been lifted right out of “Stargate” (which Emmerich also directed), but without all the flying spaceships.

Otherwise, “10,000 B.C.” can best be summed up as follows: caveman meets cavegirl, caveman loses cavegirl, caveman gets cavegirl back.  So it’s a love story, set in a time when our savage ancestors hunted down woolly mammoths, fended off saber-toothed tigers and battled against the mysterious warlords who wanted to enslave them.  But they also managed to practice perfect dental hygiene and speak poetic English, so it couldn’t have been all that bad.

The problem is that even on purely entertaining level, “10,000 B.C.” just doesn’t work.  That was obvious early on, when, during the big woolly mammoth hunt, I found myself rooting for the woolly mammoths.  But instead of fitting the bill as another one of Emmerich’s mindless popcorn flicks like 1996’s “Independence Day,” it ends up being even more disappointing than both 1998’s “Godzilla” and 2004’s “The Day After Tomorrow.”  Sorry, but if you ask me, you’re better off watching an episode of “The Flintstones.”