PictureWell, Warner did at least deliver on the video front. The 1080P VC-1 encode is presented in a 2.40:1 ratio and I am glad to say that there is nothing pre-historic about the picture.
Blacks are solid, very nice and deep and the contrast is there in abundance. The transfer from the source is also pretty much pristine and everything is as sharp and detailed as you could wish for. Landscape shots and close ups are both very finely textured and you wont be left wanting for the finer details. I struggled to find evidence of any edge enhancement and there was very little grain to speak of.
For the most part the CGI is done well. The Mammoths are rendered in fairly convincing fashion and the Sabre Tooth Tiger is impressive, although the scene in the Naku village made him look rather artificial in motion. When it comes to colours everything is deeply saturated, whites are almost pure and the fleshtones do well to appear accurate. However there are a few scenes that appear to overly favour the blues but this generally is not a problem. On the whole though, it's an impressive video offering.
SoundThe film maybe ropey and the extras rather sparse but Warner certainly pulled out all the technical goodies and didn't just stop at the video front. The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack (48Khz/24-bit) is an incredibly expansive affair.
Mammoths are no lightweights and it's good to know that every thump of the thunderous stampedes will rock your subwoofer into overload mode. LFE is used regularly throughout the film and for the most part it's incredibly well controlled. Nice and deep where it needs to be and remains concise and punchy without any wallow of any sort. There is a tendency however to overuse the low bass in order to compensate for the general lack of ambience.
Whilst all the surround channels are used, there never appears to be a convincing sense of surround if that makes sense? I put that one down to a poorly directed downmix. The clarity and dynamic range of the mix on the other hand is without question and is as you would expect from the resolution on offer. Dialogue is crisp and well balanced and no matter how loud you wish to go the whole dynamic range holds true.
ExtrasAll the extras are presented in standard definition and to be frank there's not much on offer by way of content. This Warner release is disappointingly thin by way of additional features and the studio has missed an opportunity to beef up the disc by simply presenting a bare minimum set of extras.
A wild and woolly ride - (13mins 18secs) An in depth look at the entire process required to recreate the period, animals and pyramids seen in the film. Roland Emmerich is joined by his technical crew who present themselves in a sit down fashion to talk about the way they went about creating the look and feel of the film. It's ok and feels like a documentary rather than what should have been a more engaging encounter with the technical guys.
Inspiring an epic - (12mins 57secs) How the real history of 10,000 BC influenced the look and feel of the movie. Graham Hancock, author of the Fingerprint of the Gods explores the possibility of a lost civilisation and how this may have influenced the film. Most of this documentary style of extras are presented in informative fashion, but none of it is actual based on fact. Rather it is based on one mans supposition of pre-historic events.
Alternate ending - (3mins 7secs) Omar Sharif dons a rather dodgy looking haircut preaching the story to a group of Yagahl kids. It's not much of an alternate ending but the few brief moments you see of him proves that there is more quality of acting in this extra than the whole of the movie put together.
Additional Scenes - (9mins 56secs) There are ten deleted scenes on offer here which are nothing other than very short incoherent clips. Whether included in the movie or not they would have made no difference whatsoever as they are essentially all as bad as the movie itself.
VerdictThere are many times where I wonder what the likes of Ray Harryhausen would have done or been able to achieve with the benefit of modern day CGI. After watching 10,000 BC I can only look back and marvel even more at what he achieved with his painstaking stop motion techniques. Such was the approach to the detail, the love and complete mastery of his craft.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said of Roland Emmerich and the approach undertaken in making this movie. Whilst 10,000 BC is technically a great film, both visually and sonically it really is a top-drawer high definition release, it fails in its basic premise as an entertaining film. The blu-ray disc is also woefully short of quality extras that may have helped it in many ways as a package.
I've always been taught to stick to what you know and what you know you should try to do well. Emmerich should take keynote. His primary mistake in this movie is that it appears he may have actually been trying to make a serious film? This is where it all went wrong. What you end up with is a halfway house prehistoric movie that hangs together off the back of a handful of CGI scenes with an absurdly and laughable camp storyline to string you along.
Does 10,000 BC have it's moments? To be fair, yes bizarrely it does. In short it's a blatant rip-off of Apocalypto but not done half as well. Roland Emmerich has clearly been the 'master of disaster' in the past but unfortunately on this occasion he has simply 'mastered a disaster'.
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