In ancient times past most tribes and men were hunter gatherers and had not yet started to cultivate the land. The biggest animal that they hunted was that of the Mammoth. The person to pierce the heart of the beast would be the one to hold the White Spear and be the one to lead the people of the Yagahl. The is the setting that we have for the start of the film that most critics hated and most audiences adored. Personally, and I know that is wrong for a reviewer, I could care less what other critics say about the facts of the film. It was fun to watch and it is always going to have a special place for me since it was the last film that I got to watch while my father was still alive and he absolutely loved the film.
Now that my pandering is out of the way, lets look at the film and since the critics tore it up because of so called history, does it really matter? We already know that the pyramids are older then what people claim they are and they found one that was even older then them that was tore apart for use in the others. When you take that into account it is a film that COULD have happened which blows their historically inaccurate tellings out of the water. What matters most is the story and that is truly a love story with lots of action thrown in and some mysticism as well. This is not meant to be a factual telling but an adventure that lets the audience see the world and its past in a more magical way and not just the dry stuffy and dusty shelves of scholars. It is a drama that plays out that shows how a boy can become a man and how a man can become a leader.
D’Leh (Steven Strai) is the son of the previous holder of the White Spear. His father has to look after the well being of his people and that means making sure that they do not starve. He knows of the prophecy that Old Mother (Mona Hammond) has told about the young girl that they found and that she would be the woman of the one who kills the last mammoth but he feels that they can not wait that long. Wanting to make sure that he risks only his life he gives the spear to his closest friend Tic’Tic (Cliff Curtis) and goes in search of food that he can bring back. He makes Tic’Tic promise not to tell the others what they have done and to look after his son while he is gone. He never returned and we see D’Leh grow to be a hunter and how his love has started to develop for Evolet (Camilla Belle).
The hunts are becoming more scarce and D’Leh and Baku (Nathanael Baring) are standing watch for when the heard of mammoth will come. Once they see them coming over the horizon into their valley they let the village know. Everyone is getting ready for the great hunt that will both cloth and feed them for the coming months. Old Mother feels that this will be the last hunt and tells Tic’Tic that it can not be his spear that kills the beast but must instead be one of the younger hunters as she feels that the time of prophecy is now at hand. 2 young men want to be the one who kills the mammoth. Ka’Ren (Mo Zinal) wants to do so to win the White Spear and D’Leh wants it to win Evolet for his own.
The hunt is successful and by plain dumb luck it is D’Leh’s spear that kills the great beast. With everyone looking and claiming that he was courageous while the others were not he claims the spear and with it his woman Evolet. Everyone is cheerful and congratulates him, all that is except Tic’Tic. He knows what really happened and not happy that D’Leh did not tell all what really happened. Later that night D’Leh is feeling guilty about it all and gives the spear back, feeling that he had no right to it. With it he also has to give up Evolet as well. He can not face the others and stays away from the camp which is one of the reasons he was able to still be free and alive to rescue Evolet.
The next morning men on horses, or four legged demons as the Yagahl called them, come and ransack the village. They take many prisoners that they will be selling into slavery as well as much of the meat that was being prepared as smoked jerky for storage against the coming winter. Tic’Tic and D’Leh can do nothing but stand and watch as Evolet and most of the hunters are being led away with bound necks and wrists. Once gone D’Leh prepares to go after them to save the one he loves and to bring the other hunters back. He is not going to let anything stop him, not even the ravings of KaRen that it is foolish to follow. Old Mother tells KaRen to be quiet and then tells him that he will have to go with Tic’Tic and D’Leh over the mountains until they find their people and are able to bring them back.
This film truly is a romantic quest as well as a drama of life where a small group of people have to find ways to overcome rather large obstacles. Of those they have to face a great desert, a hungry saber-tooth tiger, plains warriors, dodo birds and even the elements itself so that they can bring the ones that they and others love back. We see a boy become a man and then see the same man become a great leader. So great is he in what others see, he is able to pull together several plains tribes and gather many spears under himself. He will use them all to make sure that the one he loves and the people with her are freed from the ancient gods of the stars and the island sunk beneath the sea.
If you enjoy watching men overcome their fear you will like this film. If you like to watch near prehistoric films then you will like this one. If you like the myths and history of the pyramids and Egyptian culture you will like this one, unless you are a history czar with no sense of humor or romance. If you are the latter then go crawl into your dusty books and let the rest of us fantasize about how it could have been all those long years ago in 10,000 BC.