The prehistoric film is in a state of crisis, and Roland Emmerich's imminent 10,000 BC doesn't help things one bit. A generation ago, inspired by trailblazers such as One Million Years BC (released in 1966), the genre provided a steady stream of edifying diversions - The Clan of the Cave Bear, Quest for Fire, Conan the Barbarian and Red Sonja. All of these films featured leggy, empowered, strong, leggy, decisive, leggy, fearless but primarily leggy young women who had worked themselves into positions of tremendous power. But now, in a typically weasel-like attempt to make up for perceived past transgressions against feminism, male screenwriters and directors have purged the cheesecake element and dragged what had been a fairly racy genre right down into a bog of retroactive political correctness.
In today's postmodern prehistoric film, the women - rather than thundering across the Hyborian savannahs clad only in string bikinis stitched together from the carcasses of very tiny Jurassic marsupials, but doing so in a strong and empowered way - are simply shunted off to the sidelines. There, dressed quite sensibly for the primeval winter in blankets, scarves and stone age maxi-skirts, they revert to bland, traditional roles as nurturers, seers, bringers of light, bearers of good tidings. Meanwhile, the boys get to peel down to their skivvies, show off their six-packs and have all the fun. Were they dead, Sandahl Bergman, Brigitte Nielsen, Grace Jones, Raquel Welch and all the other warrior queens of yesteryear would be turning in their graves.
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