Saturday, July 21, 2007

Saber-tooth cats, mammoths star in 10,000 B.C.

I walked down to the local theater earlier today to catch the latest Harry Potter movie, not expecting to see anything related to prehistoric animals. So imagine my surprise when, during the trailers, I saw this:

It was a trailer for an upcoming movie called 10,000 B.C., directed by Roland Emmerich of Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow fame. I vaguely remember hearing about this movie a year or so ago, thinking it interesting but quickly forgetting it. I definitely had no idea it was already in production.

Any movie that features a saber-tooth cat already has won my ticket. But judging from the trailer, it also features a terror bird and mammoths. Lots of mammoths.

It's not shooting for realism, if the trailer is any indication. By 10,000 B.C., saber-tooth cats could only be found in the Americas -- if they were still around -- and terror birds had gone the way of the dodo. There also are several scenes in the trailer featuring the construction of the pyramids, using mammoths no less. You think they'd overheat in the desert with those thick shaggy coats. Anyway, the Egyptian pyramids do not date back to the Ice Age, despite fringe theories to the contrary.

Personally, I have no problems with the inaccuracies, as long as the producers market the movie as a fantasy rather than a historical drama. (In that sense, the world of 10,000 B.C. would be much like the Hyborian Age of the Conan stories.) The sad truth, however, is the director has been known to pass off psuedoscience as the real thing in his previous efforts, so prepare for a lot of BS to accompany B.C.

What's the plot? This is the description from the trailer on YouTube: "It was a time when man and beast were untamed and the mighty mammoth roamed the earth. A time when ideas and beliefs were born that forever shaped mankind. 10,000 B.C. follows a young hunter (Steven Strait) on his quest to lead an army across a vast desert, battling saber tooth tigers [sic] and prehistoric predators as he unearths a lost civilization and attempts to rescue the woman he loves (Camilla Belle) from an evil warlord determined to possess her."

A high-definition Quicktime version of the trailer also is available.

I'm excited about the movie even though I know little about it and I've been unimpressed with Emmerich's other films. But when a big-budget movie about dinosaurs and other monsters is in theaters, book publishers usually try to cash in by publishing novels and anthologies about the creature in question. So check your local bookstore around March 7, 2008, when the film is scheduled for release.

Also, just a little trivia, this may be the first big-screen film since Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger in 1977 to feature a saber-tooth cat. Yes, there were the Ice Age movies, but those were cartoons. The cats also featured in two truly awful direct-to-video films, as did a killer mammoth that was possessed by an alien lifeforce. All three aired on the SciFi Channel, known for its *cough* quality programming. *cough*

Update: Ain't It Cool News already has a review of the movie. Warning: Spoilers if you follow the link.


Anonymous said...

your arcticle is as inaccurate as the movie you criticize.
many sabertooth cats species lived both in europe and america (Machairodus,homoterium etc) and the pyramids in the movie are not supposed to be the egyptian ones but some ancestors built by the survivors of an "atlantidean
civilization" depicted in this film. Said that, 10.000 b.C. is a pulp indeed! you can't pretend it to be a national geographic documentary, but it's not bad.

Anonymous said...

I don't think they even did a movie novelization for this film. Much less any other books. :(