10,000 B.C.

Every human heart is imprinted with a story, the need for a savior. Whether one thinks of Homer’s The Odyssey[1] or the Christian message of Jesus, certain ideas remain repetitive: an evil usurper, prophetic pronouncements, a journey, obstacles to overcome, a people to rescue.  All these baseline story elements appear in 10,000 B. C. Perhaps the reason the film came close to the magical one hundred million dollars in ticket sales (surely to be topped by DVD rentals) is because people inherently understand their own requirement.

Roland Emmerich best known for Independence Day rolls out another combination human-computer generated movie that big screen audiences love.  Like ID an evil empire exists only to subjugate other people.  A reluctant hero emerges from the enslaved people group.  Wonderfully awful ”prehistoric” creatures bedevil the brave one in his quest to bring back his tribe.  A veiled prophecy foretelling the future is a moving force behind the action scenes.  And in the end, evil is overthrown, families are reunited, the leading man becomes a leader, and gets the girl.

Cliff Curtis as Tic’Tic (Live Free or Die Hard) is perhaps the only person on screen that many will recognize; he establishes the proper mentor-protector role for his protégé, D’Leh.  World renowned Omar Sharif narrates the story, explaining the flow of events like an off-screen Homer.  Camilla Belle (When a Stranger Calls), the damsel in distress, Evolet and D’Leh, played by Steven Strait, are younger actors who rise to the occasion, playing an epic saga as if it were happening to them.

Mammoths, saber tooth tigers, and a strange, ravenous super-bird are computer created delights.  When the technological marvels are on screen, the room shakes with the properly compelling musical score (and enlivens a 110 minute film that could have been cut to 90 minutes, eliminating “dead spots”).  But the life-like imagery never seems inserted into the human world.  We fear for what seems to be an actual man-beast encounter.  Tucked into the storyline is D’Leh’s rescue of the tiger who refuses, like the fabled lion whose paw has a thorn extracted by a young man, to kill the being who has helped him.  Key to the prophecy of a savior, is the one whom the tiger does not touch.

When D’Leh encounters the international menace (whose Atlantis history is hinted at as the viewer sees the Egyptian-like pyramids being built) he begins to adopt Tic’Tic’s parable of a leader: instead of drawing a small circle around himself, concerning himself with only those closest to him, he draws a big circle around himself, becoming a multi-national hero.  Herein is the key to the film and to life itself: the story of a needed savior woven through every human heart.

Rated PG-13 for human and computer generated violence and perilous sequences.

Dr. Eckel teaches ancient Hebrew history from the Old Testament at Crossroads Bible College, Indianapolis, IN

[1] Tennyson’s “Ulysses” and “The Lotus-Eaters” along with Wordsworth’s ”Laodamia” are modern re-tellings of Greek characters and stories.

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