The mammoths are wooly, the humans are shaggy and the cliches are thick in Roland Emmerich's "10,000 B.C."
The cheesy prehistoric epic might have been fun if anyone involved displayed the slightest sense of humor.
D'Leh (an uncharismatic Steven Strait) grows up in a camp of hunters and gatherers who live in lodges constructed of mammoth bones on a snowy mountainside. His people wear skins, grow their hair in long dreadlocks and hunt their mighty prey with only sharpened sticks.
Then one day a far superior bunch of humans arrive. These folk have domesticated the horse, grow grain and make cloth, have developed the bow and arrow and know how to fashion metal into weapons.
Further proof of their advanced civilization can be found in their taste for rape and pillage.
D'Leh watches helplessly as his friends and especially his betrothed, the blue-eyed Evolet (Camilla Belle, wearing big contact lenses that make her look like an alien), are taken away in bondage. Then he sets out in pursuit with Tic Tic (Cliff Curtis), the tribe's master hunter.
D'Leh is destined for great things. We know this from the stentorian narration by Omar Sharif. Unfortunately, Sharif so mangles his English pronunciation that only every fifth or six word is intelligible. Still, we get the drift. D'Leh is the chosen one spoken of in prophecy. Yadda yadda yadda.
On his journey D'Leh battles huge voracious chickens, befriends a saber-toothed cat, crosses jungles and deserts and builds an army of warriors from other tribes savaged by the marauders.
Finally they come to the bad dudes' city, where all those captives are used as slave labor to build pyramids. Except that these aren't Egyptians _ apparently this civilization is what's left of Atlantean culture.
This idiocy -- an amalgam of caveman flick, "Androcles and the Lion" and territory covered more coherently in Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto" -- is served up with a straight face by the players. Too bad; a strong camp sensibility is just about the only thing that might have saved this lumbering beast.
But Emmerich ("Star Gate," "Independence Day," "The Day After Tomorrow") delivers the patented foolishness as if it were the Arthurian legend.
"10,000 B.C." looks pretty good and the computer-animated beasts are OK (the killer chickens are even better than that), but there's not an interesting character to be seen, and the dialogue by Emmerich and Harald Kloser is like the awful stuff they used to make Indians speak in old Westerns. Better to have D'Leh and his fellows converse in gutteral grunts.
Makes me think I was too hard on "Clan of the Cave Bear."
D'Leh? More like Homer Simpson's "D'oh."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun