It's a prehistoric action movie which has nothing at all to do with the people or the culture of those times, and it is written by the music director. Yep, Harald Kloser is the man who not only gave music for this film, he also co-'wrote' this absurdly surreal film with no teeth or tail.
This is a film made entirely for young boys who are not going to question the veracity of the film's logic, but accept everything at face value and have a good time. It's completely ridiculous, has an absurd plot, the writing is atrocious, and the acting is only so-so, but at 15, all you see is great CGI and huge guys with muscles and spears fighting huge saber-toothed tigers on pyramids. What's not to like?
Except that when I was that age, we got to have this kind of fun at Jurassic Park, and that movie, as blockbuster-y as they come, never once did seem stupid, even after we grew up. 10,000BC is not even trying to reach that level of sophistication in pure thrills. It just wants your money, and by Jove if it takes a half-naked man fighting wooly mammoths and discovering the use of stars to tell the way to save humankind, that is exactly what it will have.
As a grown-up man, I had a perverse sort of pleasure watching this film; which, if you go in believing it is stupid (which it is), you might end up having some fun in. Evolet (Camilla Belle) is a young girl brought into a mountainous tribe after her people were killed. D'leh (Steven Strait), who loves her and wants her hand, and is an accomplished hunter, is in the very same tribe.
Then warriors eventually attack D'leh's village and kidnap Evolet and many other young dudes. D'leh and his mentor Tic'Tic (Cliff Curtis) are now in pursuit. Of course this is not the very same history you had read before. The warriors have sophisticated metal weapons, have tamed horses, and have built a city of pyramids and temples and such. Along the way, D'leh and the team meet other tribesmen who don't speak English like they do, so a handy translator does the honors. With every different tribe.
The film is not even set on Earth, really. There is a moment when the men cross snowy mountains, and within 10 meters or so are dense jungles, literally. This is a theme park in Roland Emmerich's head, and we are paying for a chance at the ride. The ride itself is hokey, but they do have some fun technical whiz-bang for us. The CGI is actually quite inspired, except for the one time when some ostriches are meant to be threatening.
Emmerich has a clean style of establishing shots. Wide angled vista shots, and closeups. He might fashion himself to be an auteur, but all that I see is a director who has no clue, but has made films that made a lot of money, so why don't we just give him some more to make an action movie about mastodons?
Unfortunately, this makes for a very constrained movie experience. You absolutely have to watch the film believing it to be stupid, making fun of the ludicrous plot devices and the shameful stealing of other films and their elements in its entire running time. I counted at least 18 films that Emmerich stole from; I don't know how many you can spot.
Your call, really. Save up for a better film, or go watch it, ridicule it, munch popcorn and enjoy yourselves but only by being condescending.