Quest for Fire Reviews
The main story follows a trio of neanderthal tribesman tasked with going on a journey to find fire and bring it back to their tribe after the fire that they had been using and protecting tragically gets extinguished. This would all be simpler if they were more advanced and could make the fire themselves, but at least they're more developed than one of the other tribes depicted in the film.
The story is quite simple, but there's so much more to it than that. Besides being a basic man versus nature survival story, it's also very human and deep, and traces the development of man into a less primitive state of being. Four tribes are depicted in the film, all of them in various stages of development, and each with their own set of values, culture, and language or communication abilities.
The story starts out as interesting, and only gets even more so from there as the trio's journey takes them to places that alter their world forever. Yes, you do have to suspend disbelief, and sometimes the material comes off as a bit hokey, but you actually really care about the characters, and are just as delighted as they are when they make new discoveries, even if it is something as simple as learning the concept of laughter.
This is a really fascinating film, and it feels like a pretty high water mark to me. Some of it got a little slow for me in a couple of places, but that aside, there's not much (that I'm personally aware of) wrong with it. I thought it was pretty realistic, and well researched, and I liked that it was rather artsy and that the film had no narration (outside of an opening crawl) or real language or subtitles, forcing the viewer to follow things solely based on music cues, facial expressions, actions, and body language.
As far as acting goes, it's pretty damn good. This was probably more challenging than it might seem, but everyone does a wonderful job. At the time, none of the cast were known, but that has changed for two of them: Ron Perlman and Rae Dawn Chong. The makeup and effects are pretty decent, though I think Perlman might have been too authentic (sorry bud, I love you and your unique look, but that's probably why the types of roles you get are generally pretty limited.
All in all, this is some tremendous stuff, and it's definitely great at provoking thought and discussion. Unfortunately I don't think some people would be mature enough to handle this without giggling, and it's not for all tastes anyway, but I do think it's one that everyone should see.
Anyway, to my surprise one of my favorite authors, Anthony Burgess, the embodiment of a true linguist, is who created the languages in this film. Not surprising since he also created Nasdat for the A Clockwork Orange novel. This made the film a lot more enjoyable.
Although the story is not historically accurate, it is in fact a good example of how to work with a very difficult story and in a very visual way, the premise of what film is... a visual art first and foremost
The story does not move fast and the humor throughout really dilutes the dramatic end, which seemed very slapstick. But this is an interesting movie that is fun to watch as a scenic ride more than anything.
Also, the scene with Mammoths seemed a bit wonky. I'd think the mammoths would be used to having spears tossed at them so how can they let a humanoid come near?
Noone talks at all but you understand what they are saying!
However, as a story, it is well done with our characters (neanderthals, homo sapiens or whatever they may be) fighting off wolves, lions, and bears, encountering mammoths, and discovering the missionary postion and humor. A true human expirience :-P
Although prehistoric, this is the most logical conclusion.
I find it humorous that some people find this movie's sexual themes gratuitous or something to laugh about. I don't think it was the director's intent to just throw in these sexual themes merely for titillation. The point of this film is clear.
Think about it!
IT, being Man's basic needs; Procreation being one, next to shelter and food and the ultimate point of the film being about fire and our need for it.
While this movie didn't have any dialog, it's very easy to see what is actually going on.
If you see nothing but rape or sexual content in this film then you have some real problems psychologically and need to seek help.