The husband and I have been arguing about something stupid lately: Roland Emmerich’s new movie, “10,000 B.C.” Our point/counterpoint goes something like this: the movie looks totally, completely and ridiculously anachronistic and unrealistic to me. The husband argues that it shouldn’t matter because it’s just a movie. I continue to argue that it does matter, mostly because I think it’s funny to hear him argue about mastodons but also because it really does kind of piss me off.
First of all, I’m no kind of paleontologist or anthropologist. I don’t have extensive knowledge of prehistoric animals or early human culture. Still, though, there are things that seem glaringly wrong to me in the previews I’ve seen for “10,000 B.C.” including saber-tooth tigers the size of ambulances, gigantic palaces and structures that seem to bear striking resemblances to the Luxor in Vegas and organized armies fighting each other. A quick check of the internets tells me that 1) saber-tooth tigers stood about chest high to humans and weighed around 800 pounds max, meaning they were smaller than ambulance-sized breadboxes; 2) in 10,000 B.C., people were still living in caves and stone structures were just a glimmer in the eyes of the dudes who first built them in 9,000 B.C. None of the structures had flat-panneled TVs or 24-hour access to the poker lounge. And 3) humans were nomads. They weren’t organizing any Army vs. Navy football games, let alone attacking each other in well-organized masses of humanity. I may be wrong on some of this stuff, but I’m pretty sure Roland Emmerich is even more wrong.
Which leads me to the bigger question: should I really even bother being aggravated by this, regardless of how entertaining it is to fight with my husband? Getting upset by explosions in oxygen-less space or getting miffed that the guns used in “3:10 to Yuma” weren’t even invented at the time the movie was set is definitely a nerdy thing to do, so I embrace it heartily on that front. But the husband argues that if I’m going to get huffy about realism and anachronism in certain movies and TV shows, how can I disregard stuff like the fact that Spiderman can’t really crawl up the sides of buildings with super-sticky spidey fingers and Mr. Ed can’t actually talk (blasphemy!) and Hello, Kitty isn’t really stealing as many souls as I think she is. Where should I draw the line?
I guess “10,000 B.C.” bothers me because I feel a movie with an actual date in the title should try to be at least a little bit true to that time period, unless of course it’s a caveman movie starring Ringo Starr. (The fact that there are any movies starring Ringo Starr is enough of a brain tickler that I’m not really going to fight it.) But if I’m watching a movie about Abraham Lincoln, I don’t want to see him getting to Ford’s Theater on a Segway. On the other hand, if I’m watching a movie where James Spader leads a bunch of a people through a magical gate and they find themselves in a pseudo-Egypt where people shoot each other with lasers, I’m going to be cool with it because I just watched some dude walk through a magical gate. To me, the key is that it’s all about context.
Either that or I worry about really, really stupid stuff.