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Film / 10,000 BC

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A spectacularly historically inaccurate movie, directed by Roland Emmerich and released in 2008.

In the titular year of 10,000 B.C., a mammoth-hunter named D'Leh is part of the Yaghal tribe who live in the mountains. Appearing to slay a gigantic ultra-mammoth, he is awarded his tribe's sacred artifact, the White Spear. This allows him to claim any woman in the tribe as his wife, and he chooses his childhood friend Evolet. However, guilt over not actually slaying a mammoth causes him to return the spear, angering said childhood friend.

Soon after, horsemen with swords show up and kidnap many of the villagers, including Evolet. He and the few surviving hunters set off on a quest to track down these raiders and get their families back. Throughout his journey, they encounter dangerous wildlife, strange terrains, and a local village who believe D'Leh is The Chosen One that will overthrow the "Almighty", the evil god who the horsemen work for.

One of the most infamous and blatant examples of Rule of Cool in all of film history. Make sure to bring your MST3K Mantra.

This film contains examples of:

  • Advertised Extra: Despite what the main poster shows, the Smildon only has two short scenes in the movie and never gets to face-off against D’Leh. In fact, it spares his life the two times it appears.
  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Averted. All of the major characters except maybe The Almighty and Old Mother are normal, physically modern Homo sapiens. The Almighty's exact nature as a human or Human Alien is left unclear, whereas Old Mother is heavily implied to be a bonafide Neanderthal and the Last of Her Kind.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Ignoring the obvious fact of the title, the film appears to be set in the prehistoric times, with the main character encountering both a woolly mammoth and a saber tooth tiger. However, he ends up somewhere that appears to be ancient Egypt or at least Mesopotamia (an emperor is having a large pyramid built). Although he does end up destroying that civilization...
  • Anachronism Stew: The "god" and his immediate followers are ancient-Egyptian flavored, the warband he hires as muscle are Arabic-ish horsemen with Polynesian style boats, and everyone else is in various flavors of the stone age.
  • Anachronistic Animal:
    • The characters ride upon modern-day horses. The problem is, horses in prehistoric times looked nothing like their modern day, more domesticated, descendants. The horses should be much stockier, have upright manes, be plainer looking, and generally much more smaller in both height and mass (overall being closer to a donkey than a modern horse).
    • On the opposite end of the spectrum, giant terror birds like Titanis went extinct around one million years ago and were definitely not around 10,000 B.C.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Implied. The slaves tell Moa & Baku that The God of the Pyramid came down from the stars. Given the ridiculously advanced (for the setting) technology he and his servants use, they may well be right.
  • Animals Not to Scale: Pretty much all the extinct megafauna in the film are far larger relative to the human characters than they should be, with the woolly mammoths especially standing out in this regard. In reality, they were only a bit bigger than an Asian elephant. Here, some of them are nearly 20 feet high.
  • Animal Stampede: As the slaves try to escape, D'Leh scares a mammoth of burden and starts a mammoth stampede that tramples the enemy guards.
  • Androcles' Lion: D'Leh rescues a giant sabretooth tiger that was pinned under a log in a pit that was filling with water. As thanks, it leaves without attacking him. Later, when D'Leh's party encounters the African tribe, the sabertooth reappears. Seeing it docile around D'Leh causes the tribe to declare him the chosen one.
  • Artistic License – History: The movie probably isn't meant to evoke historical accuracy. Naming the movie on an actual prehistoric date was [more likely] done for promotional purposes.
    • In one scene, D'Leh eats hot red peppers with a new community he meets. Since the film takes place in Africa or Eurasia, and peppers originated in South America, this is impossible.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Too many to count.
    • Terror birds went extinct almost a million years before humans.
    • Since the film takes place somewhere in the Old World, Smilodon should not be there, as it lived in North and South America. Also, it is designed to look like a big tiger with long fangs and a short tail, which is based on the alternate name "Sabre-toothed tiger". In reality, Smilodon wasn't a type of tiger and was a member of a completely separate group of felines.
  • Atlantis: Another version of the God's origin story has him coming from a distant homeland that sank beneath the ocean. It seems to be his most plausible origin: in one scene, when Evolet is brought before the God, the camera focuses on some strangely detailed maps that are displaying a mass of land in the Atlantic Ocean, between South America and Africa.
  • Back from the Dead: Old Mother sacrifices her life so that Evolet can be brought back to life.
  • Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: After buying, the warlord takes Evolet to be bathed and clothed by his servants before he tries to seduce her.
  • Black Speech: The "Egyptians" speak in a language that none of the characters speak or understand.
  • Chastity Dagger: The lead warlord buys Evolet as his concubine and tries to have a private moment with her. As he prepares to have his way with her, she pulls out one of his knives to kill him. However, they are then interrupted by the Atlantean's servants who are none too pleased to see that the warlord tried to keep one of their master's slaves for himself. The servants are savvy however, and after aresting the warlord, make her give up the knife she had hidden when they entered.
  • The Chosen One: There are two prophecies in the movie. The African tribe believes that D'Leh is The Chosen One who will free the slaves. The God believes that one with a mark in the shape of the stars will kill him. He learns that Evolet has a scar on her hand in the shape of a constellation, however, she does not kill the God.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Not so much "do anything to win" as "do anything to get out alive," but the warlord kills one of his own men during the terror bird attack so that he can take his horse and get away.
  • Deconstructed Trope: Baku wants to be a hunter from the very start of the movie, becoming a Tagalong Kid in pursuit of that and is reluctantly accepted in this role by Tic'tic and D'leh, and gets his chance in a metaphorical hunt during the climax after D'leh starts a stampede among the captured mammoths. Furthermore, Baku's motivation in the film is the find and kill the one-eyed slaver as revenge for his mother's death at the start of the film. Finally, in the very last battle in the entire film, he gets his chance: One-Eye is advancing on Baku's friend Tudu and Baku has a spear. He raises his spear, hurls it at his archenemy...and completely misses. What did you think was gonna happen, Baku? You've never used a spear before! Luckily, Nakudu is there to successfully kill One-Eye in the same way that Baku tried.
  • The Dog Bites Back: A subtle example. Among the numerous peoples from disparate countries D'Leh brings with him to the pyramid include a group of giant African warriors. They all sneak in disguised as slaves and an overseer begins continuously whipping their leader, who just crouches down and takes it until D'Leh gives the signal, when he immediately stands up to his full, seven-foot plus height, grabs the overseer by the throat and effortlessly hurls him off the pyramid to his death.
  • Feathered Fiend: The Terror birds are huge and very aggressive. They hunt down the humans in tall grass, in a manner reminiscent of the raptors from The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
  • Genre Throwback: To One Million Years B.C. and other "prehistoric caveman adventures" films of the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
  • The Heavy: One-Eye and the Warlord Leader act as the physical threats for D’Leh and his allies to fight. The God is the overarching antagonist of the movie, but he is not in it very much and gets easily killed by D’Leh throwing his spear at him.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Any scene taking place at night is shot with a blue filter. Considering how dark the wilderness could get in a time where there would be no prominent light sources to illuminate scenes, this was probably for the better.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Being rejected by Evolet causes the warlord who kidnapped her to throw a spear into her back, seemingly killing her. He even tells D'Leh, in his own language, "You will not have her either" before being killed himself.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: The leader of the warlords takes an interest in Evolet, even buying her to keep her, though his master was not pleased.
  • Inertial Impalement: This is how D'Leh kills the mammoth. When his spear gets stuck in the ground, he runs away, leading the beast to impale itself. He also does it to the terror birds, this time intentionally.
  • Last of His Kind: Old Mother is stated to be such, and implied to be a Neanderthal. The Almighty is also likely such, being the last Atlantean or an Alien.
  • Light Is Not Good / Order Versus Chaos: The false god wears white and is charismatic enough to build a civilization around him. And then the good guys come around and destroy the civilization he formed. Seems like an inverse version of the order/light against chaos/darkness more often present.
  • Meaningful Name: "D'Leh" is "Held" spelled backwards; "held" means "Hero" in German and Dutch. Likewise, the woman is named Evolet. Telove. The love. Dang, they named her after her role.
  • Medieval Prehistory: Mammoths, saber-toothed cats and terror birds along with a horse-riding, sword-wielding, pyramid-building culture.
  • Mighty Whitey: The quasi-African tribesmen living in the desert have a prophecy that "one day the one will come who will free our people". And that one is D'Leh. Obviously, they just can't do it themselves.
  • Misplaced Vegetation:
    • Film Brain notices that the area transitions from the Brazilian rain forests to the South Chinese tropical forest when one of the terror birds chases the hero into an area forested in bamboo.
    • On the other hand, the African village elder giving the hero a handful of corn to take back and grow in his tribe is definitely an example of this trope, as maize originated from Central Mexico, not Africa, and was only brought to Eurasia late in the last millennium. In addition, while it would have been a fairly good idea to use this as a secret historical phenomenon lost to history where Native Americans received the corn and used it as the major staple of their diet as a result of this leader's gift to the hero (as implausible as it may sound), it has already been established according to documentation that D'Leh and Evolet came from the Ural Mountains of Western Russia, making the idea impossible.
    • Furthermore when the movie takes place the Sahara might not have even been a desert given that every few thousand years it shifts between a dry climate and a wet climate.
  • Misplaced Wildlife:
    • Woolly mammoths helped build the pyramids. Never mind that they're woolly mammoths and thus should be somewhere cold. Which Egypt isn't. To be fair, the implication seems to be that the mammoths were captured and brought there for use as labor just like the human slaves, not that they're actually native to the desert.
    • The sabre-tooth in Africa. Sure, some species of sabre-toothed cats did live in Africa, however the species featured in the film is clearly a Smilodon, which only ranged from North and South America.
    • Assuming that Word of God is correct and this takes place in South America, everything is misplaced. Even the terror birds (the last known to date are from Florida; some possible fossils come from the late Pleistocene of Paraguay, but it's not entirely certain).
  • Panthera Awesome: A giant sabre-toothed cat. Technically the real animal wasn’t a part of the Panthera feline family, but the sabre-tooth here is heavily modeled after a tiger.
  • Raptor Attack: The terror birds are essentially used this way, acting uncannily like the velociraptors from Jurassic Park.
  • Rule of Cool: One of Roland Emmerich's many specialties.
  • Slave Liberation: D'Leh and his army's arrival triggers a slave revolt amongst those that have been captured by the Almighty, which ends in their freedom and the destruction of his society.
  • Title by Year: Ostensibly set in the year 10,000 B.C., released in 2008.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The confrontation with the Smilodon is featured heavily. It gets stuck in a pit that's filling with water. D'leh says to it "Do not eat me after I free you!" He frees it, then it goes off on its way. It shows up again later on, but only to spare D’Leh’s life so the quasi-African tribesmen can recognize he is the man in their legend.
  • Villainous Crush: The warlord leader of the four horsemen falls for Evolet and buys her to make her his lover, even kidnapping her from D'Leh near the end. Of course, when he realizes she doesn't want him he shoots an arrow into her back, killing her before D'Leh kills him.