Everybody loves a Woolly Mammoth. Well don’t they? Hollywood director, Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow) is such a fan of Mammuthus primigenius that he’s funded an entire movie based on the premise: wouldn’t it be cool to see humans running around with the four-legged beasts in 10,000 B.C.
We open in prehistory, somewhere in Eurasia, where a tribe of hunters (The Yagahl) are waiting for the next stampede whilst tormenting the Elders with the question: what is the collective noun for a Woolly Mammoth? Momentous changes are foretold by Omar Sharif’s voice-over, as a mysterious outsider in the form of a girl with freaky blue eyes, Evolet arrives. She quickly pledges herself to young buck D’Ley, and before you can say “love interest” the dwelling is attacked by evil outsiders on horseback.
Poor Evolet is abducted in front of D’Ley and taken into slavery with many of his kin. D’Ley and a rag-tag assortment of his tribesmen have to leave their home and venture to far-away lands, er without shelter or any obviously food supply but hey!
You may have guessed; this is absolute tosh. For starters most of the characters speak modern English, which is incredibly jarring when they say things like “Why does TikTik not ride with us?” The Yagahl (a tribe with remarkably good teeth for their epoch) look like either ageing Rastafarians or extras from a Lynx advert.
Really, the film-makers have thrown together every racial, tribal stereotype in the hope that something will stick. I just don’t understand why, when we eventually see the pseudo Egyptian pyramid site, the leader is protected by Albino midgets?
It seems to go on for about 10,000 minutes too; every time the story sags, they wheel out yet another wise-man, who has a new and improved prophecy to fit the next sequence. For the record (and the kids), you will see sabre-toothed tigers, giant emu-beasts as well as mano-a-mammoth fighting. But the special effects sequences are only fresh if you haven’t seen an adventure film for 5 years. This is Apocalypto with 1% fat, lashings of 300 and very little to recommend.