10,000 BC (2008), written by Roland Emmerich and Harald Kloser, is a screenplay about a small group of remote hunter-gatherers who must travel to Egypt during the construction of the pyramids to save the world as they know it. And judging from the title I guess it is set in 10,000 BC/BCE.
Hold up, I just read the entire section on the myth genre in John Truby’s book The Anatomy of Genres, and this story could have been a blueprint for that chapter: Which is odd because on Wikipedia 10,000 BC is called an action-adventure film. There are certainly elements of all three genres, but the books centers around one hunter/warrior, D’LEH, and his growth as he fulfills his destiny of saving his people and of course… getting the girl.
This is the first true “myth” genre film I have read. I found it to be a bit of a tedious read. Perhaps the trickiest part were the character names, all of which were not common names. Then there was the symbolism. Combined with the vivid descriptions of the world in 10,000 BC, I just found it easy to get lost. Lots of rereading.
With that said, while parts of the script I found a bit over the top, it was readable. I did not feel there were too many boring parts, although the third act seemed to peak late and drag on a bit too long.
It’s myth, so it’s all about the journey, a man’s walk from a tundra-esque place, through mountains, plateaus, to the desert. Of course, there is a journey through time as well, from hunter-gatherer to farmer to advanced civilization. And there is an internal journey of fulfilling one’s destiny. It’s certainly an entertaining plot.
Predictable and cookie cutter. D’Leh is the typical impulsive lead with lots of potential. Tic’Tic is wise and has a quick temper, yet is always forgiving. The bad guy, whose name I cannot remember, is bad. And the really bad guy is straight up evil. The god like really REALLY bad guy, who is of course the most evil by enslaving thousands of people, actually appears somewhat misunderstood, certainly his actions more understandable than the really bad guy. Should that be the case? No, but that’s how it read.
Dialogue & Pacing
I liked the dialogue – There were no long speeches.
The pacing was hit-or-miss. The way the script was written made it so that there were quite a few scenes with strong descriptive writing, but then there would be lines that would represent what I would assume are over a minute of screentime. I did not feel it flowed well.
I cannot say I truly got into 10,000 BC at any point, so I did not really connect with too many of the characters. I felt some of the scenes were predictable. I mean we all know the main character is not going to die before the final battle, so why does he need to escape death so many times throughout the script? I think Truby actually wrote about the importance of this technique (but I can’t be bothered to find it in his book). Let’s rephrase the question: If someone escapes death by pure strength, then luck, then it is revealed the wise gods are in support of him, would anyone truly believe any force of evil could take him down? Not me.
With that said, I did find aspects of the ending, particularly the combining of the villages, somewhat moving. It’s tricky to pinpoint exactly why that is, and it’s a scene that I have seen in similar form on the screen a thousand times; so why the impact? Perhaps it just reminds me of seeing a friend I have not seen in a while and the feeling that I get when that happens.
Points of Interest
There were three scenes that I noted:
- Page 38 – “Stop Helping Me.” This is actually the first, and only joke I picked up on in the entire script.
- Page 55 – “Do not die, Tic’Tic… Please live and if you do, I will listen, and I will learn…” This to me is an example of the script rushing important points. This emotional moment is when the hotheaded and impulsive D’LEH realizes he needs to change and promises to do so, which is a big deal, yet there is little warning that it is coming, so it feels rushed. Perhaps there could have been a moment of reflection, or prayer, before making the promise so as to give this turning point more impact.
- The ending – The last few pages are worth a second read, which I plan to do now, as the scenes jump quickly and it is easy to get lost.