I have to review 10,000 B.C. next month, so I figured I might as well see the similarly-titled One Million Years B.C. (1966) last night — and I have to say, I kept staring at Raquel Welch’s eyebrows. Yes, her eyebrows. I know she has other assets, too, but they didn’t seem remotely as anachronistic or implausible to me as those perfectly manicured lines above her eyes.
Of course, the two films presumably don’t have all that much in common, beyond the similarities between their titles.
One film takes place in truly prehistoric times, with cavemen and dinosaurs somehow occupying the same timeframe, whereas the other film — based on what we see in the trailers — seems to take place in the earliest days of civilization, with cities and temples and the elaborate social and physical structures that go with that. (I don’t know where the new film takes place, but cities like Jericho and Damascus are believed to have been inhabited as early as 9,000 B.C. and 10,000 B.C., respectively.)
What’s more, One Million Years B.C. has no intelligible dialogue — everyone speaks in a “prehistoric” language — whereas the most recent trailer for 10,000 B.C. indicates that the actors in that movie will probably speak English. And in a weird sort of way, that difference alone almost makes me want to take the Raquel Welch movie more seriously than the other movie.
As cheesy and stupid as One Million Years B.C. may be, the lack of modern dialogue gives it a sense of “otherness” that helps to transport the viewer back in time, whereas I suspect the dialogue in 10,000 B.C. will sound hopelessly modern, no better than the lines that were spoken by The Rock and friends in The Scorpion King (2002). And let us not forget that 10,000 B.C. is directed by Roland Emmerich, whose Revolutionary War film The Patriot (2000) featured such absurdly anachronistic exchanges as: “May I sit here?” “It’s a free country — or at least, it will be.”
And speaking of Mel Gibson movies, the trailer for 10,000 B.C. makes the new film look like Apocalypto (2006) with CGI mammoths — and Apocalypto, of course, also benefitted from foreign, ancient-sounding dialogue, even if the dialogue was undercut at times by modern colloquial subtitles. So that’s one more comparison that doesn’t work in 10,000 B.C.‘s favour.
Incidentally, the night before I watched One Million Years B.C., I happened to see Jason and the Argonauts (1963) on the big screen — and both films feature visual effects by Ray Harryhausen. That was purely coincidental, and in fact I had forgotten that the Raquel Welch movie featured his work, but it was a nice surprise to see his name in the credits again, twice in two nights.
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