10,000 BC

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If you watch “10,000 BC” and are disappointed or surprised by how bad it is, then I have to say, with all due respect, that you’re a moron. It was written and directed by Roland Emmerich, the man who made “Independence Day,” “Godzilla,” “The Patriot,” and “The Day After Tomorrow.” What did you expect? Say what you will about the man, at least he’s consistent.

The film’s title is useful insofar as it identifies a time period in which the story definitely could not have taken place. But I’m not even going to dwell on the historical inaccuracies! It would be faster to dwell on the historical accuracies: There were indeed humans living in 10,000 B.C., and some of them probably occasionally got eaten by wild animals. The end.

But you have not bought a ticket to “10,000 BC” in order to learn about history. Why you did buy a ticket, I cannot imagine, but it certainly wasn’t for that. Probably you were hoping for an exciting and well-told adventure story, in which case I suspect you will walk away disgruntled, and possibly also laughing.

It is the story of D’Leh (Steven Strait), a chiseled, dreadlocked young caveman with excellent teeth who is in love with Evolet (Camilla Belle), a beautiful, blue-eyed young woman, also with excellent teeth, who appeared one day out of nowhere. Old Mother (Mona Hammond), the mystical crone who serves as the tribe’s spiritual adviser, prophecies that Evolet is a harbinger of doom, and that four-legged demons are going to come.

The four-legged demons turn out to be another tribe on horseback, and these guys — all vaguely Arabic-looking — abduct Evolet and other tribespeople and haul them back to their territory across the “sea of sand” (i.e., desert). It thus befalls D’Leh and his hunter friend Tic’Tic (Cliff Curtis) and some others who maybe don’t have names to chase after the Egyptians (sorry! spoiler!) and rescue Evolet and the others.

Also, D’Leh might be the Chosen One because he killed a mastodon single-handedly. Also, Evolet has scars on her hand in the shape of a constellation, and that apparently means something. Also, the bad guys are led by the Almighty, a tall, veil-enshrouded mystic who’s not as almighty as he claims to be. Also, there are beasts that look like a cross between an ostrich and a velociraptor, and also D’Leh befriends a saber-tooth tiger, and also Old Mother sits around in a coma having prophecies a lot of the time, and also at one point the narrator (Omar Sharif!) says, “Like an icy rain, sadness fell over D’Leh’s heart.” Like an icy rain, sadness fell over D’Leh’s heart! How do you write that and expect people not to laugh at you?

But “10,000 BC” is a very serious film. In fact, it’s too serious. Yet when it tries to be light, that somehow feels wrong, too. It’s just a wrong movie altogether, an elaborately nonsensical stew of crazy costumes, bizarre accessories, and funny voices. Its dramatic action is unconvincing, and its characters are zeroes. It will be a good DVD for renting, watching on a big screen, and openly mocking with friends. Apart from that it has very little use whatsoever.

D+ (1 hr., 49 min.; PG-13, a lot of violence, none of which is terribly graphic.)

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