Saturday, March 15, 2008

No Woman No Cry

You know, Roland Emmerich's films don't really insult your intelligence, but they don't really stimulate the braincells either. They just are - they're entertaining, visually spectacular, but they're also ultimately forgettable.

I must admit I like Stargate very much, but that's because, like Emmerich, I'm rather obsessed with Egyptology. It's also because the film has James Spader (what's he doing these days?) and Kurt Russell. But that's the only Emmerich film I like.

If you think 10,000BC is going to be a visual spectacle, well don't hold your breath. It's one historical and anthropological mash-up, somewhat like Darwin on speed. You've got cavemen, woolly mammoths, sabre-tooth tigers ... and pyramids, Egyptians, turban-wearing horsemen. I kid you not.

While the film does try to be as multi-cultural as possible, I did find some of its elements rather disturbing, like the fact that the bad guys look middle-eastern and don turbans. My friend complained that I was being my typical complaining self, but how do you explain the fact that the good guys speak English (of course it's supposed to be some ancient tongue) and follow a prophecy about a "blue-eyed child," but the bad guys speak a foreign language and get subtitled?

But as the movie goes along, you'll find that you won't care anymore as the mash-up gets more and more ridiculous. 10,000BC is really Cloverfield in ancient times - it's about a guy who goes through all sorts of shit to save the girl he loves. And like all Emmerich films, it's got forced emotions, cardboard characters with plastic feelings.

The most interesting thing here is how Emmerich is still trying to convince us that the ancient Egyptians came from outer space. He's obviously read Robert Bauval's and Adrian Gilbert's book, The Orion Mystery, which alleges, very convincingly, that the positions of the pyramids of Giza correspond with the constellation of Orion.

The real mystery of the pyramids, and why they have fuelled so much speculation about them being built by aliens, simply boils down to two factors. Firstly, the pyramids were built to such mathematical perfection that it seems impossible that they were the work of ancient people without scientific know-how. Secondly, the first pyramids were built in the Third Dynasty and were small structures that were far from perfect, and have not lasted the ravages of time. In the Fourth Dynasty, the Great Pyramids were built, and it was as if the method was suddenly perfected. Then in the Fifth Dynasty, it seemed like there was a brain-drain and the pyramid-building technology seemingly disappeared.

As for 10,000BC, if you were going to go crazy with the whole idea, you might as well go hog-wild with it, instead of trying to be all serious. This kind of movie should be a complete cinema of spectacle, but there just aren't enough monsters. (I can't believe I said that.) They should have harnessed that sabre-tooth and used it as a battle-cat, like He-Man.

Lastly, what's with the pose below, so overused in movies?

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