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10,000 BC

In a remote mountain tribe 12,000 years ago, a young hunger, D'Leh (Steven Strait), has found his heart's passion—the blue-eyed Evolet (Camilla Belle). But when a band of mysterious warlords raid his village and kidnap Evolet, D'Leh leads a small group of hunters to pursue the captors to the end of the world to save her.

The critics weren't kind to 10,000 BC, so when I sat down to watch it, I didn't expect much. Even so, I found myself mildly entertained. The script is shallow with poor dialog, but the story offered enough meat to keep me interested, and the brisk pacing certainly helped. I like the PG-13 rating, which resulted from a non-graphic depiction of the violence, but some may see this as a drawback considering Hollywood's penchant for blood and gore.

Warner delivers a beautiful VC-1 encode with an immaculate print. Black levels are very good, although I did notice some video noise in a few darker scenes. Detail is above average, but the CGI effects are on the soft side, which is common with CGI-intensive films. Color saturation is exceptional, and the crystal blue eyes of Camilla Belle really shine in HD. Edge-enhancement halos are apparent, but they aren’t consistent from scene to scene and may have more to do with the photography than with any post-production tweaking. The Achilles' heel of VC-1, banding, rears its head during the third act in the backgrounds, but otherwise this is a solid effort.

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack provides impressive dynamics with superb bass reproduction, especially during the mammoths' stampede. Dialog is a bit on the soft side and has some intelligibility issues, but considering the challenged writing, this isn't such a bad thing. When utilized, the surround channels are active and engaging, but unfortunately, there are long stretches where ambience is non-existent.

The supplements are presented in SD with low-bitrate VC-1 encoding. There are 14 minutes of forgettable deleted/extended scenes that include an alternate ending. Two featurettes titled "A Wild and Wooly Ride" and "Inspiring an Epic" explore the inspiration for the story and the special effects and run about 13 minutes each.

As long as expectations are kept to a minimum, 10,000 BC can be entertaining, but don't look for great acting or an in-depth story. It's a popcorn flick with a solid presentation that's at least worth a rental.

Release Date: June 24, 2008

Film: 5 out of 10
Picture: 8 out of 10
Sound: 8 out of 10

Review System

Source
Panasonic DMP-BD50

Display
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)

Electronics
Onkyo PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 Amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner

Speakers
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer

Cables
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector

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