Sunday, March 23, 2008
And A White Man Shall Lead
Today I suffered through what was quite possibly one of the worst films ever. What I really have to say about 10,000 BC (In case your wondering the BC stands for Boring Crap) is "Don't See It." But beyond that bit of advice I have to tell you that it is a stunning disaster, historically, logically and in the way that it is performed. Personally, I also felt a strong hatred towards the overall themes presented, ones that we are all familiar with, loathe, and yet never seem to leave the film industry.
So my journey with 10K Boring Crap began on my daily commute to Times Square where I saw a great poster featuring a man pointing a long spear at a humongo Saber-Toothed Tiger. Fun! I immediately wanted to see the film. When my good friend Nic came to town Thursday and admitted she wanted to see it too, I thought Great! I love a good "Man Saves His People" flick.
However, upon viewing the first shot of this misguided piece, I dreaded that the film would not live up to its enticing ads. There was a mysterious sounding narrator that said things like "My People" and shit about mountains to kick the whole thing off. Snooze. I then saw dozens of people in the weirdest looking tribe ever. White, yellow, brown people surrounding a large Polynesian woman, called Old Mother of all things, with bone accessories, fur loincloths and long, tangled locs, chanting in some primitive language. Okay, a United Colors of Bennetton ad with dreads and brown body paint. Gotcha.
Then the movie went all the way over to my bad side when the narrator spoke of a prophecy from Old Mother about a "blue-eyed girl" that would save their people. Enter a young, olive-skinned child with freaky, light blue contacts. Now, I've just told you that the tribe is supposed to be people of color, although many of the actors were white, so this whole "blue-eyed" girl will save us is weird. Clearly her blue eyes were something strange to them. Clearly they were the brown savages waiting to be saved by someone with more European features. The girl in question does arrive and is immediately put on a pedestal by the tribe and steals the heart of D'Leh, the young son of the tribe's head honcho. Hmmm.
So I pretty much hated it after that. Long story short, everyone cherishes the girl and her "unique" features including D'Leh. The village is devastated by a group of slave-hunters and ole Blue Eyes is captured leaving D'Leh with the mission of finding her. He battles Saber-Toothed Tigers, weird, gigantic ancient birds and the big, hulky, Jheri-curl-sporting slave-hunter (who, of course, becomes taken with Blue Eyes), all the while gathering groups of warriors who have lost their women and children to these mysterious people-hunters. The warriors are all African. They eventually reach a massive city full of slaves working to build pyramids for some person-god (pyramids in 10,000 BC?). D'Leh kills the god, but not before lots of weird scenes involving Jheri-Curl lecherously leering at Blue Eyes or scene-stealing Black Albino people hipping D'Leh and Co. to the god's secrets.
Okay, I feel the need to remind people that I am not militant, I do not hate white people and I recognize films as creative outputs that are not necessarily politically correct. There, the disclaimer. However, it bothers me when I see things like this because I believe that the more subtle racism is, the more damaging. Blatant slurs can easily be brushed off as one lunatic that doesn't reflect the entire culture. Subtleties go relatively unnoticed and permeate the culture, making them a lot harder to prove, dispel and overcome. Who the hell green-lighted this? Who thought that it was OK to make Albinos a race of wise, god servants? Why do all the Brown men have to bow down to the beauty of the white-like girl? Why couldn't the Black people have saved their own people instead of waiting for all two of the white men to lead them? Why are dreadlocks an indicator of primitiveness and savageness? Why, Why, Why?
Beyond the cultural implications, it just didn't make sense. There were holes upon holes upon holes in the plot. For example, D'Leh's father leaves the tribe in order to help them, but keeps the last part a secret, leaving everyone to believe that he was a Deserter. Okay. But we never find out how his leaving helped. Also, Old Mother speaks of four-legged demons that will be the end of their tribe. We then immediately see a herd of Woolly Mammoths charging. Are these the four-legged demons. Not sure. Oh, okay, here come men on horses, these must be the four-legged demons.
And the film jumps all over the place, leaving me to wonder, more than once, what the hell was the point. First they're fighting Woolly Mammoths, then their village is pillaged, then D'Leh's fighting over-sized dinosaur birds, then he's trapped in a pit with a Saber-Toothed Tiger. No, seeing all that did not make it any more clear.
I give this film two, very enthusiastic thumbs down. 1/2 a star, and that's only for the most tolerable performances by Cliff Curtis as Tic'Tic, D'Leh's mentor and by Nathanael Baring as Baku, the charming young wannabe hunter.