’10,000 BC’ coming to Netflix

Roland Emmerich has created a number of remarkable movies depicting alien invasions, stargates to other worlds, and the end of the world. His more mundane movies depicted the Stonewall Riots that are considered the start of the modern gay rights movement and something suggesting that Shakespeare did not write the plays that have been ascribed to him.

“10,000 BC” is one of Emmerich’s strangest films and, by all accounts, one of his worst, though it is visually arresting. The movie depicts a group of hunter-gatherers whose families are abducted by slave raiders and taken to what appears to be Egypt, where they are set to building pyramids. Woolly mammoths still roam the Earth and are being used as beasts of burden and, later, tanks with legs and tusks.

To say that “10,000 BC” does violence to history, geography, and archeology would be to put the matter mildly.  Mammoths were not yet extinct at the time of the movie, but they were already on their way out. The really eyebrow-raising aspect of the film is the idea that an advanced civilization existed on the banks of the Nile, building stone monuments, using metal tools, conducting agriculture, and even using something that looked like a sextant 12,000 years ago. The situation that the movie sets up is outright fantasy, akin to the lost continent of Atlantis or ancient aliens influencing the rise of civilization.

Of course, Emmerich did not make “10,000 BC” for people who stayed awake during history class. He made it for audiences who were content to chomp on their popcorn and groove on brawny guys and gorgeous women in furs getting payback and wreaking mayhem on some proto-Egyptians who kidnapped their dear ones. Visually, the movie is stunning. In no other film will the viewer witness herds of mammoths running amok, smashing down pyramids, and scattering hapless slave drivers like so much wheat. “10,000 BC” is not the Stone Age we learned about in school, but, inaccuracies aside, it is sure set in an entertaining version.

While the critics looked askance at the movie when it came out in 2008, audiences showed their appreciation by showing up in droves. “10,000 BC” made almost $300 million in its initial release. Now Netflix subscribers will have another chance to see the movie, then nitpick at the details over dinner and drinks later. It is best seen by suspending disbelief and going along for the wild ride Emmerich takes one on.