A couple of times while watching this film I wondered to myself if director Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day) really meant for this to be an historical epic or maybe the comedy I was actually finding it to be. The idea behind a film like this has so much potential as most of us see prehistory as a fascinating time of huge animals, harsh conditions and exotic locations. The potential for interesting stories is endless.
D'Leh (Steven Strait – Sky High) is someone who always felt like an outsider even in his own tribe. His father abandoned the tribe when D'Leh was a young boy and this caused him much shame. The only good memory from his childhood is when a young girl, Evolet (Camilla Belle – The Lost World: Jurassic Park, The Patriot), was found after her entire tribe was wiped out. From the moment he sees Evolet D'Leh's heart is with her.
After claiming the White Spear (held by the leader of the hunt) under false pretenses because the holder of it gets Evolet as theirs, an ashamed D'Leh spends an evening away from his village. On that very night a band of mysterious warlords raid his village and take many of the hunters and Evolet as their prisoners. Brokenhearted, D'Leh vows to go to the ends of the Earth to find Evolet. D'Leh and fellow tribesmen, Tic'Tic (Cliff Curtis – Live Free or Die Hard, Whale Rider), Ka'Ren (Mo Zinal – Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day) and Baku (Nathanael Baring – first film) set off on a voyage to find their captured tribesmen.
Despite the fact that the film covers an era and a topic not often seen onscreen there are plenty of moments that we have seen too many times in film and characters, despite their distance from us in time, who act just like we do. The characters and many of the scenes in the film seem familiar like they have been cut and paste from previous films in order to make this one (Apocalypto, 300, The Lord of the Rings, etc.). Boring! Director Roland Emmerich seems at times distracted from the fact that his film is basically about a chase. He loses focus and spends time on silly side stories. Also silly prophesies from many different sources (apparently in these times there was no shortage of people who could access prophesies) kept cropping up trying to explain what was going to happen. Too convenient and contrived. My God! They even dug up a blind man to give them some help at one point!
Despite the fact that prestige is added to the film by the very fact that Omar Sharif (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago) is the narrator, it ends up being quite cheesy. Much of that has to do with the direction and script, but the actors also play their part in this. I don't know why D'Lea's tribe speaks English, but even overlooking that issue, I was oftentimes distracted by the weirdly accented English they were speaking. Is it British? Is it Russian? I ended up wasting my focus thinking about those types of things instead of concentrating on the story. Or maybe it was my brain's way of saving me from the ridiculousness of it all? Who knows?
Some of the special effects work in the film is marvelous, but you get to see much of it during the trailers that have been showing for months now. They end up not being enough to make this prehistoric mess worthwhile seeing.
-A Wild and Wooly Ride – Bringing Prehistory to Vivid Screen Life from Pyramids to Period Animals
-Inspiring an Epic – How Real History Influenced Story and Design Elements
-Exciting Alternate Ending
-Awesome Additional Scenes