10,000 BC is a 2008 American epic fantasy adventure film from Warner Bros. Pictures set in the prehistoric era. It was directed by Roland Emmerich and stars Steven Strait and Camilla Belle. The world premiere was held on February 10, 2008 at Sony Center on Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. General release was on March 7, 2008.
In the timeframe of 10,000 BC, a tribe of hunter-gatherers called the Yagahl live in a remote mountain range in the Urals and survive by killing woolly mammoths, which they call "mannaks". D'Leh, a young hunter, has a companion named Evolet, an orphan who was found by the tribe. D'Leh, while hunting mammoths, manages to kill one and wins the "White Spear". He also wins Evolet in marriage, but feels he deserves neither since he killed the mammoth by accident.
The village is led by a hunter who has proven his bravery by killing a Mammoth, and taking the White Spear. The people also strongly venerate an elderly woman, called Old Mother. Because of her different appearance to other humans in the village, it is assumed she is a Neanderthal, the "last of her kind", living with the Homo sapiens of the village.
One day, D'Leh and several others are away when horse-raiders called the "Four Legged Demons" attack the Yaghal camp. The horse raiders enslave Evolet and several others villageÂ´s hunters; D'Leh, Tic'Tic, KaRen, and Baku pursue them to save her. They enter a rainforest where they catch up with the raiding party. During the night, D'Leh rescues Evolet, but as they are trying to escape from the pursuing raiders, they are attacked by a large pack of terror birds. Tic'Tic gets wounded and Baku, Ka'Ren, Evolet are re-captured. Continuing on, they meet others whose loved ones were taken by the raiders. D'Leh and Tic'Tic befriend Nakudu, leader of the Naku tribe. He tells D'Leh of a prophecy; whoever talks to a Smilodon that they call the "Spear-Tooth" will help free their people. D'Leh had earlier saved the Spear-Tooth from drowning in a trap and it had spared his life. D'Leh realizes the prophecy was about him. Nakudu explains that his loved ones were taken in the "Great Red Birds", ships with large red sails, to the "Mountains of the Gods", from which no one has ever returned. They then come together with other tribes, who agree to form a coalition to pursue the raiders.
They find the ship with red sails holding Evolet and Baku. With no means to follow the ships, they journey through a vast desert, discovering an advanced civilization similar to ancient Egypt, ruled by an enigmatic figure known as "The Almighty", who is said to be the last survivor of his kind and is regarded as a living god. It is implied in the script that he is a survivor of the fall of Atlantis. The Almighty possesses many thousands of slaves that he is using to build a huge pyramid complex in his honor. D'Leh finds an escaped servant of the Almighty and notices he is wearing a bracelet worn by D'Leh's father. D'Leh's father left his tribe for food and found the Naku tribe before being stolen by the raiders. In a night attack, the guards of the slaves discover D'Leh behind a pyramid. Tic'Tic dies from injuries sustained while killing the guards before they raise the alarm. Meanwhile, the Almighty's priests discover Evolet bears scars on her hand patterned after the "Mark of the Hunter", the constellation Orion. The priests believe it is part of a prophecy that whoever wears the mark of the Hunter is destined to kill The Almighty. D'Leh starts a full-scale rebellion among the slaves. They cause the mammoth herd used in building the pyramid to stampede, killing a large number of troops.
The Almighty offers Evolet to D'Leh in exchange for abandoning his rebellion. The Almighty says that if D'Leh takes his wife, his warriors can return, but the rest must be his slaves forever. D'Leh feigns acceptance of the deal which allows him to throw a spear at The Almighty and kill him, proving that he is not a god. During the ensuing battle, the raider obsessed with Evolet kidnaps her on horseback. Evolet grabs an arrow and stabs the warlord in the side, knocking them both off the horse. D'Leh rushes towards her, but the raider shoots her in the back with an arrow. D'Leh kills him and returns to Evolet, and she dies in his arms. The scene shifts to the tribe's wise woman as she breathes out her last breath. D'Leh is still holding Evolet's body when she suddenly comes back to life, restored by the wise woman's sacrifice. They depart for home and bid farewell to the other tribes.
Visual and sound effects
The mammoths in the movie were based on elephants and fossils of mammoths, while the sabertooth cat was based on tigers and ligers (a lion/tiger hybrid).
The sounds made by the sabertooth cat in the movie are based on the vocalization of tigers and lions.
Emmerich opened casting sessions in late October 2005. In February 2006, Camilla Belle and Steven Strait were announced to star in the film, with Strait as the mammoth hunter and Belle as his love. Emmerich decided that casting well known actors would distract from the realistic feel of the prehistoric setting. "If like, Jake Gyllenhaal turned up in a movie like this, everybody would be, 'What's that?' " he explained. The casting of unknown actors also helped keep the film's budget down.
At the 2008 Wondercon, Emmerich mentioned the fiction of Robert E. Howard as a primary influence for the film's setting, as well as his love for Quest for Fire and the book Fingerprints of the Gods.
Director Roland Emmerich and composer Harald Kloser originally penned a script for 10,000 BC. When the project received the greenlight from Columbia Pictures, screenwriter John Orloff began work on a new draft of the original script. Columbia Pictures, under Sony Pictures Entertainment, dropped the project due to a busy release calendar, and Warner Bros. picked up the project in Sony's vacancy. The script went through a second revision with Matthew Sand and a final revision with Robert Rodat.
Production began in early 2006 in South Africa and Namibia. Location filming also took place in southern New Zealand and Thailand. Before shooting began, the production had spent eighteen months on research and development for the computer generated imagery. Two companies recreated prehistoric animals. To cut time (it was taking sixteen hours to render a single frame) 50% of the CGI models' fur was removed, as "it turned out half the fur looked the same" to the director.
Emmerich rejected making the film in an ancient language (similar to The Passion of the Christ or Apocalypto), deciding that it would not be as emotionally engaging.
Dialect coach Brendan Gunn was hired by Emmerich and Kloser to create "a half dozen" languages for the film. Gunn has stated that he collaborated informally with film lead Steven Strait to improvise what the languages would sound like.
In an alternate ending, the scene shifts forward many years into the future, showing Baku's retelling of the story by the camp fire. It ends with a child asking what had happened to the "Mountains of the Gods", and Baku responds, "They were taken back by the sands. Lost to time, lost to man".
The film received largely negative reviews from critics, stating that the movie is mainly visual and lacks a firm screenplay. Critics noted that the film is archaeologically inaccurate and contains many factual errors and anachronisms. As of December 16, 2014, the review aggregator at Rotten Tomatoes has reported that 8% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 145 reviews with the consensus: "With attention strictly paid to style instead of substance, or historical accuracy, 10,000 BC is a visually impressive but narratively flimsy epic." Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 34 out of 100, based on 29 reviews.
Composer Thomas Wanker won a BMI Film Music Award for his work on the film.
Comparisons to other works
Glenn Whipp of the Los Angeles Daily News draws numerous comparisons between 10,000 BC and other films in the prehistoric and historic film genre, especially One Million Years B.C. (1966) and Apocalypto (2006). A. O. Scott of The New York Times compared it to John Ford's film The Searchers (1956) and the animated film Ice Age (2002).
The film was parodied in the opening scene of Disaster Movie.
Box office performance
Despite the critical failure, the film was a box office success. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $35.8 million in 3,410 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking No. 1 at the box office, and grossing over $22 million more than the film in second place, College Road Trip. As of April 29, 2008, it has grossed approximately $268.6 million worldwide â" $94.6 million in the United States and Canada and $174 million in other territories â" including $17.2 million in Mexico, $13.1 million in Spain, $11.3 million in the United Kingdom, and $10.8 million in China. This also makes it the first film of 2008 to surpass the $200 million mark.
The DVD of the film was released on June 24, 2008 in single disc editions of DVD and Blu-ray Disc in the United States. Best Buy released a 2-disc limited edition along with the DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases. It was released on July 21, 2008 in the United Kingdom. The film grossed $31,341,721 in DVD sales, bringing its total film gross to $300,414,491.
- List of American films of 2008
- 100 Million BC â" A direct-to-DVD film by The Asylum
- One Million Years B.C. â" A similar film released in 1966
- Official website
- 10,000 BC at the Internet Movie Database
- 10,000 BC at Rotten Tomatoes
- 10,000 BC at Metacritic
- 10,000 BC at Box Office Mojo
- 10,000 BC at AllMovie
- 10,000 BC at the TCM Movie Database