From the distant past of 2010 comes the incredible tale of the distant future, yes before we go any further it’s another “Earth all along moment” but still we’ve got Sean Bean and the producer of ‘Pillars of the Earth‘ which is a fairly decent board game (though I don’t know why that’s considered a selling point for a movie) plus the director of Band of Brothers who got some decent work out of some apparently less than decent actors so how bad can it be? Well there’s only one way to find out and that’s to travel to …………………………………..
We start with some cavemen hunting. Some neatly trimmed and waxed cavemen, some neatly trimmed, waxed and very modern looking cavemen but cavemen none the less. Their pray, a giant sloth who I assume is just very slowly getting away. Still it manages to give them the slip by going beyond their hunting grounds into a forbidden land of darkness and danger where no man may venture. The rules that have allowed this tribe to survive while the rest of man has fallen forbids them from going any further. Their leader arrives, looks down at their idea for passing beyond their territory and then after one remembers to say please says “oh, go on then.”
But it turns out rules are there for a reason and though they manage to take down the sloth one of their hunters gets bitten, quietly off stage, and begins to turn into a zombie Neanderthal. Still they stab him through the heart and the elders get to call everyone stupid and claim the heart for themselves as punishment for wandering off. So it seems things aren’t too bad after all.
Once back at camp Kaleb tucks into his sloth jerky and complains about the way things are. By the way he complains we can easily tell that he is our hero. He is our hero because he has mastered the ancient forgotten art of reading, he is it seems also the chosen one but we will get onto that later. His father used to wander off and leave his two kids unsupervised while he roamed the world looking for ancient treasures and other peoples. Apparently he found all this but all it seemed he could be bothered to bring back was a battered copy of Tom Sawyer. Now you might ask why he only taught his two children to read instead of anyone else in the camp, the actual question you will be asking by the end of the movie is why did he apparently teach nobody else in the world how to read. Still I’m getting ahead of myself.
Kaleb decides it’s time for him to leave, packs up his belongings and heads out onto the trail. He gets about half an hour from camp when he notices a giant band of roaming zombie Neanderthals going the other way. Of course respecting the rules of the road and realising they have right of way, he pulls over to let them pass and gives them plenty of time before realising that might not have been a good thing and going back to camp. Turns out Zombie Neanderthals are not very good at waiting for their script cues as Kaleb gets back too late to warn anyone or do anything productive but too early to be inspired by their deaths.
So he picks up the girl he has a crush on, along with her more attractive and competent boyfriend and manages to convince them to come and help him look for help in saving their tribe, which has now run and hid in a cave and collapsed the entrance.
So while they try to find a way out through the convenient river at the back it is up to our trio of heroes to find help.
One group finds leeches the other finds Sean Bean. Well actually Sean Bean finds them. It turns out he knew Kaleb’s father and thinks he might be the hero the world needs, just not the one it deserves. Sean takes them back to his castle ruins that he had shipped over from England for just such an emergency and prepares to give them a little back story for all this low budget madness.
It seems that long ago mankind decided to play god and resurrect a load of extinct animals, things went wrong a duh! Anyway it seems that man brought some ancient zombie like disease back to life with them and that has promptly ravaged the world. Still things aren’t all bad as Kalebs daddy used his amazing powers of reading to produce a cure for the infection, something Sean hopes Kaleb will be able to carry on. As it seems his Dad forgot to tell anyone else how to make it and then promptly got himself killed. Now the last of the powder is held by a mad man running around the Skyfall set and it is up to Kaleb to go and get it back and hopefully figure out how it was made.
A task that makes perfect sense given he has only ever read Tom Sawyer. Meanwhile the tribe must dunk the village idiot to get rid of the leeches from the lake before trying to make their way out through a convenient well shaft at the back of the cave for it seems that biting is only the quickest way to spread the infection, breathing works just as good, if not as much fun.
With time running out, though no way to know this the party rest up before heading forth. For Door and Seven this means one night together, to share in their life, and love before who knows what tomorrow. For Kaleb this means watching. Honnestly this scene is like super weird. Especially when Door catches him and just makes like weird eye contact. But don’t worry they make up for it by splashing each other tomorrow so everything’s good.
The movie isn’t bad, especially for something that premièred on the syfy channel but truth be told it’s all over the place in terms of acting and plot. Even Sean Bean suffers in this with what I assume to be someone off camera shouting to him every so often “No Sean, do British!”
Apparently there was talk of this being the first in a trilogy and I can’t even say it shows. It struggles to stand by itself and it seems to fail to set up anything to go beyond the 80 odd minutes run time. Oh and if you’re coming to this for another epic death scene from Sean Bean the best you get is him fighting off hoards of zombie Neanderthals to keep the beacon lit, taking about two hits and then falling down a hole because he wasn’t looking where he was going. It certainly isn’t his best work.