Let's get one thing straight, this is a kid's movie, with lots of CGI action. Being a still a kid at heart I took it in on the last day it was playing up here. Not a great mney maker, I shared a nearly empty theater with maybe three teen age couples. So I won't bother to discuss all those adult movie virtues like plot, characterization, message, acting, etc. The setting, long long ago in a history similar to that of Conan the Barbarian, has some possiblities. D'leh,the hero, is a member of backwoods and primitive tribe that lives in the high snowy mountains and prospers by hunting mammoths. The mannmoths are very good, big, shaggy, and dangerous looking. D'leh's tribe is raided by horseback riding bad guys who carry off to slavery D'leh's girlfriend. You can pretty much guess the the rest of the flick from there.
The makeup and costume departments don't do a very good job. D'Leh and all his people are burdened with really ugly black wigs, and powdery war paint that makes Boy George and Michael Jackson look suave. The costumes run to fur and leather and no tailoring at all. Everyone looks shaggy. shabby, and overweight. The wigs are dry, dirty, and dusty looking and make everyone look just awful. Plus it's hard to tell even D'Leh apart from the rest of the shabby members of his tribe. Continuity suffers.
And the prop department is just as bad. All the spears, even the one that takes down a mammoth, are light, flimsy, twisty, gnarled and lacking decent flint spear points. They don't look capable of stabbing a toad, let alone a bad guy or a mammoth.
The mammoths are good. The civilized bad guys use domesticated mammoths to haul the stone blocks for their pyramids. To kick off the predictable slave rebellion we have a really good mammoth stampede.
The writers manage to mess up a couple of promising scenes. As the bad guy starts to ravish the pretty heroine, she gets her hand around the hilt of his dagger. Before she can cut him a new one, the door bursts open, and the high priest, with body guards dashes into the room. Scratch one opportunity for heroine to show some spunk. At the climatic showdown between the hero and the bad guy, the bad guy attempts to get out of Dodge on his horse, with the protesting heroine thrown across his saddle. Something goes wrong, and both bad guy and heroine fall from the horse giving the hero his chance to get his hands around the bad guys neck. It is not clear, at least on a first watching, if the fall from the horse is caused by plucky heroine fighting hard, or just an accident.
Bottom line. A medium good kid's movie that could have been much better.