CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS (2010)

TMG Scale 3.0
Starring: Documentary by Werner Herzog

For starters, James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman are still alive. Werner, buddy,  get one of them to narrate your next film. You have a voice fit for a baseball umpire or a monkey trainer. Narration is not your thing.

We are promised an exclusive tour inside the Chauvet caves of Southern France. I thought I was going to see a cool movie about caves. All I got was over an hour of meaningless and continuous panning of the same cave drawings over and over and over again.  And the background music of loud flute playing and wailing women was just too much. I finally had to walk out.

I have rarely seen a documentary interviewing more self absorbed and self important people with terrible hair, awful teeth and  worse personal hygiene in my life.  I could almost smell their bad breath.  These “scientists” in this film all belong in a cave or appear as if they truly were born in one. What is it? Are there no dentists or hair stylists in all of France?

There was about thirty minutes of some cool cave scenes and a decent use of 3D filming. But this was not cave exploration—-this cave already had permanent metal walkways and safety features.  I felt more like I was seeing a museum mock up rather than the real thing. I read where Roger Ebert called this movie “spellbinding.”  I generally admire Ebert’s opinions, but in this case the only spell I got was one putting me to sleep. The interviews with these archaeologists all seemed more philosophically based, if not pure fantasy,  than based upon fact or science. They attribute meaning to these drawings and the people who made them that is just hyper-speculative.  Suggesting they were drawn with tremendous meaning or because an extra leg was tosssed in on a bear, it suggests motion and that these were perhaps the earliest forms of film making?  Oh come on!  Maybe the artist  had a sense of humor, could not count or was just a bad artist. Maybe these drawings were simply graffitti by some teenage  kids skipping fire making school and were just bored?  No one really knows.

Yes, seeing some cool sketches in caves probably done by people perhaps  20,000 years ago is halfway cool…for five minutes.  That’s it. This movie had all the excitement of Paranormal Activity II and even less direction. Skip this film and go visit a real cave, a museum, the zoo or a concert.

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