| The moans and groans you hear are not coming from the screen but rather the people stampeding to the exits complaining about being duped by this over-hyped movie. The publicity machine through trailers on television and the Internet has been working nonstop to lure you into the theater.
Writer-director Roland Emmerich (“The Day After Tomorrow”) along with German film composer Harald Kloser have cobbled together an unoriginal script with bits and pieces borrowed from other movies.
If you are hoping for the exciting action of Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” combined with the jaw-dropping special effects of “Jurassic Park” and “King Kong”, then you will be extremely disappointed.
This prehistoric tale is about D’Leh (Steven Strait), a young hunter in a remote mountain village who falls in love with Evolet (Camilla Belle), a blue-eyed, dark-haired beauty.
The movie opens with the hunt for a wooly mammoth as a food source to sustain a starving tribe. A spirit woman named Old Mother has a startling prophecy that the world is about to change. A band of warlords on horseback arrive. They raid the village and take many prisoners including Evolet.
The bloated middle is the pursuit by D’Leh and fellow tribesmen to rescue this primitive Helen of Troy-like figure.
Spectacular landscapes consist of mountains, desert, tropical jungle and a river. Location shoots took place in New Zealand, South Africa and Nambia. This trek on foot is slow and tedious.
The filmmakers strike up the band and cue the music whenever the action resumes or a startling discovery is made.
The last act consists of a final battle with spears flying and hand-to-hand combat. It takes place in a city with huge pyramid-like edifices. A very superstitious people run the show there. They are cruel taskmasters who whip their slaves. They instill fear by making human sacrifices to their gods.
The movie is full of plot holes and logical inconsistencies. Emmerich takes artistic license in rewriting history. If saddles, stretchers and metal are not enough ammunition to destroy your suspension of disbelief, you will be flabbergasted by the hordes of people with no food, support or infrastructure.
Things get laughable the first time these fictionalized characters start speaking English, which was not invented until the 5th century A.D. Rather than communicating with grunts and hand gestures, these individuals have an unprecedented level of intelligence and sophistication.
The movie’s sole strength is the tremendous sound effects. The special effects are nothing to brag about. The wooly mammoths with huge ivory tusks make brief appearances at the beginning and end of the movie. There is one saber-toothed tiger and a few giant-beaked ostriches.
The dialogue is either muffled or comes out nonsensical and silly. A melting pot of nationalities are represented in all colors, sizes and shapes. Some speak English, and other words of gibberish require translators.
Those of you who missed the opportunity of becoming statistical prey during the opening week of this rancid blockbuster are the lucky ones. Count on this film dominating the Golden Raspberry Awards (“Razzies”) dishonoring the worst that Hollywood has to offer for 2008.
Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"