January 17, 2009

Movie vs. reality in 10,000 B.C.

Some comparisons show how phony the tribal cultures are in 10,000 B.C.:

Movie:  "Behold! I've discovered a planet!"

Reality:  "Our forefathers discovered the 'wanderers' eons ago. When Venus the evening star appears in that notch in the mountains, we know it's the vernal equinox. That's our signal to begin watching for the annual mammoth migration."

Movie:  "Four-legged demons! Ai-eeee!"

Reality:  "The first men on horseback surprised us, but we quickly realized they were just like us. We tried to trade for horses; we even tried to steal some. But there isn't enough grass for them to forage on the mountaintop."

Movie:  "See the 'great birds' floating on the water!"

Reality:  "Sewing huge pieces of cloth and fastening them to catch the wind is a neat trick. But it's not practical in our mountain home. When we want to visit our neighbors, we simply paddle across the lake in our birch-bark canoes."

I could go on, but I trust you get the point.

The indigenous people in 10,000 B.C. are a primitive, superstitious lot--more so than any real tribe. After decades of experience, they're still ignorant of horsemen and sailboats. They haven't mastered the bow and arrow or basic astronomy. Their greatest achievement is a net.

This is Hollywood's version of indigenous people. Even when they overthrow an evil empire, they're still "noble savages." Other than a random prophecy or two, they don't have any culture or religion. Nor are they intelligent enough to develop agriculture, domesticated animals, or the other trappings of civilization. They need a master race of Atlanteans to give them these things.

D'Leh's heroics in 10,000 B.C. are the last gasp for tribalism. As the movie states repeatedly, the Yagahl's way of life is doomed. Progress is the only alternative for these primitive people.

In other words, being indigenous is bad and being civilized is good. Hard to believe that Indians survived another 11,492 years without horses, ships, gunpowder, or the printing press. Yet somehow they managed.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

Below:  "We're a bunch of half-naked savages. We haven't even invented the bow and arrow yet."

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