15 March 2004 | Blueghost
It's OK, but somewhat commercial.
It ain't "Quest for Fire," but does an OK job of getting it's story across. I've seen this film a couple of times, and am not really thrilled by it, but I also don't have too many criticisms of it either.
If I were to point my finger at one aspect of the film, an aspect that I thought was holding back a better movie, I'd have to place my finger on its direction. The actors are in earnest of their performances, and do their absolute best to give us a paleolithic saga, but the director points both story and performances to a high energy commercial film. For myself the performances, though genuine, aren't natural. They're forced, and that's no fault of the actors.
This combined with poor light design and mediocre cinematography really torpedos what could've been a better film. And for a film supposedly shot in 70mm every viewing I've ever seen has the film shaking in the gate a great deal. Not to mention the number of hot spots from reflectors bouncing sunlight onto the actors. The nail in the visual coffin is the color timing. The upside is that the location selected was quite impressive, though the film never conveys the geographic location it's supposed to be.
The notion of a blond haired beauty adopted into, quite literally, a low-brow tribe is fair enough. But the fact that she's "superior" and blond puts a wry knowing smile on this viewer's face. Then again it is Hollywood, so the sappiness is probably there by design. It's also somewhat ironic that a woman narrator, one with a seemingly African accent, helps convey the story of a blond heroine. It just seems silly to me.
I've never read the book, so I can't comment on the adaptation. However, I will say this; I found many of the plot points implausible, contrived, and just plain outright wrong, as well as disconnected from what is known, or at least believed to be understood, about our ancestors.
If you must see a caveman epic, then do yourselves a favor and pop "Quest for Fire" into the video machine of your choice. "Clan of the Cavebear" is watchable, but not overly great. I might call it an above average flick, but by no means exceeding.
Watch at your own risk.