To call "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" a great movie isn't just an understatement, it's a wildly inaccurate way to describe an experience that, in its immersive sensory pleasures and climactic journey of discovery, more closely resembles an ecstatic trance.
Herzog's voiceover is, as always, more entertaining than most film soundtracks. The film has a touch of that gray fuzz which still afflicts 3-D, but the Chauvet cave is a perfect candidate for such technology, because it stashes its secrets in a recess.
The director is excellent at contextualizing these venerable wall paintings, at discussing them with a variety of scientists in a way that allows us to think about them with a perspective we otherwise might not have.
Has much to recommend it: Herzog's half off-the-wall/half-profound queries, a delightfully unexpected coda on albino alligators, a single scene on ancient weapons that alone justifies the 3-D process, and the opportunity to see what so few have seen.
Werner Herzog has such obvious enthusiasm for the discoveries he depicts in Cave of Forgotten Dreams, it's as if you're listening to a giddy little kid who learned the coolest thing at school today and can't wait to tell you all about it.