Quest for Fire - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Quest for Fire Reviews

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½ March 2, 2018
Quest for Fire is a wonderful prehistoric adventure which is beautifully shot, superbly directed by Jean-Jacque Annaud and for the most part very plausible and grounded in reality. Its attention to detail is admirable and it succeeds as this fascinating, mostly wordless and largely very successful experiment. But in the end, the film's highest accomplishment is actually its very important, subtle and ultimately moving portrayal of the arrival of knowledge, love and laughter as humanity's most essential tools.
½ January 23, 2018
Such a cool, yet ridiculous and original movie. Some of the set pieces are really impressive, as are the actors dedication. The lack of dialog doesn't stop this from being engaging. If anything it makes it more universal.
April 26, 2017
A dumb but unique film that's a Canadian classic
½ April 1, 2017
Racist film that unfolds between unequal races while races do not exist. With civilizations more advanced than the others, and, as if by chance, they have white skins, whereas the "wild" ones all have the cliches of the Africans (cannibalism ...)
February 27, 2017
"Quest for Fire" was a solid reminder about why I enjoy watching films and learning about their art; they are able to express ideas and tell stories by means of well put-together shots, detailed sounds/music, and emotionally charged body language.
½ February 25, 2017
The snob in me wants to dismiss this mind-numbingly stupid film and everyone who ever liked it, but the schmuck in me, somehow, enjoyed it. It's just as dumb as you expect, yet way more fun.
December 25, 2016
"Quest for Fire" may or may not be scientifically accurate, but given the cast manages to act out the story with just facial expressions, body language, and a made up gibberish, it's certainly an obscure, if not unintentionally funny, movie about the first evolved humans.
½ December 8, 2016
Pretty darn good if you're into pre-historic language films.
½ November 20, 2016
Quest for Fire is an awesome movie. It is about three prehistoric tribesmen who go in search for a new fire source. Everett McGill and Ron Perlman give fantastic performances. The screenplay is well written. Jean-Jacques Annaud did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the adventure and drama. Quest for Fire is a must see.
½ April 3, 2016
Between 2.5 and 3. Probaby, theories about prehistoric men have changed much from 1981, and lack of dialogs is a problem, but it gets to tell an interesting story. Special effects, for the time of the movie, are not very bad. Make-up gets incredible gestures.
½ December 13, 2015
An ambitious film that hit all of its ambitions.
½ November 1, 2015
One of the most original films and unique that i have seen. It is bright as the characters have no dialogs and anyway, the story is well understood; it is something to be thankful for that used practical effects, gives you a classic touch and eye-catching to the whole film. Quest For Fire is a film without dialog but with charismatic characters and a story completely interesting and entertaining.

Review en Español:
Una de las películas mas originales y únicas que he visto. Es brillante como los personajes no tienen diálogos y de todas formas la historia se entiende perfectamente; es de agradecer que se usaron efectos prácticos, le da un toque mas clásico y llamativo a toda la película. Quest For Fire es una película sin diálogos pero con personajes carismáticos y una historia completamente interesante y entretenida.
½ October 24, 2015
Una de las películas mas originales y únicas que he visto. Es brillante como los personajes no tienen diálogos y de todas formas la historia se entiende perfectamente; es de agradecer que se usaron efectos prácticos, le da un toque mas clásico y llamativo a toda la película. Quest For Fire es una película sin diálogos pero con personajes carismáticos y una historia completamente interesante y entretenida.
May 11, 2015
An all time classic, Quest for fire is one of the few such classics that could definitely use a modern day reboot to update some of the science and effects.

Unambiguously a product of the early 80s Quest for fire tells a interesting, captivating but a bit outdated story about early humans in a cruel, slightly low budget, world. Nonetheless, it's a must see for Ron Perlman enthusiasts and for younger film enthusiasts who want to see what a movie like 10000 bc could've been in another world.
April 29, 2015
Don't expect a dialog for this movie. Brilliantly done with body language and an adventurous quest for fire before they knew how to make it.
½ February 28, 2015
What an interesting and amazing film. The director is excellent because he manages with this story to explore and question what we know about our long lost relative ancestors. It's really well written, perfectly acted and very well shot. A film that will definitely trigger your curiosity.
January 18, 2015
Otra que quiero volver a ver la vi el 84 , 85 ? no recuerdo
September 6, 2014
It could be a disaster if it had dialogues!!!
I love this film.
½ August 1, 2014
I often think about how different our lives would be without language. Our dependence upon words for communication goes so deep that even the vast majority of our thoughts are verbal. A person in our society with no understanding of words or language would have great difficulty in life, and they would have trouble maintaining meaningful relationships in the Western World. The 1981 film Quest for Fire gives us a glimpse into what it would be like to live in prehistoric times, before the conveniences of modern languages. Because of this, most of the film's script is composed of grunts or primitive phrases that may seem too humorous for many viewers to take seriously. However, the film as a whole is a rather moving tale of the culture and struggles of early man.

To be honest, I don't know the name of a single character in this movie, and for the most part, that doesn't matter. The film begins with a tribe of Neanderthals, the Ulam, who have fire that they are able to carry with them in a makeshift bone satchel. Without the knowledge of how to start a fire themselves, the fire in the satchel must always stay lit in order for the people to have both warmth and light. After an attack from an apelike tribe, the Ulam lose their fire, and three young men from the tribe set out with the satchel on a journey to glean fire from another source and return it to the tribe.

At first I thought that the lack of language in Quest for Fire would be a difficult obstacle for director Jean-Jacques Annaud to overcome, but it turns out that the non-verbal script actually serves the setting of the film quite well. Without words, only raw thoughts and emotions come from the characters, and their lack of understanding of the world around them adds to the wonder of the film. More effective tools and weapons are discovered slowly throughout the movie. When the trio are encountered by a pack of wooly mammoths, the group treats them like gods. A bear attack feels much like an attack from a troll would in a fantasy film. In fact, Quest for Fire feels much more like a fantasy adventure than a historical account. Even though the plot takes place on earth, it's a version of earth that we have never experienced. This creates a setting for the film that is unlike any other that I've seen, and a sense of wonder that could rival Spielberg.

There are some parts in this film that are hard to take in. The Neanderthal in the movie haven't moved much beyond their animal predecessors, and their sense of morality is still developing. There are a handful of sex scenes in the film that seem like rape scenes at first, but play out like most sexual encounters do in the wild. You could say that some of these scenes are masochistic, but I think that such a comment would show a lack of understanding of the times. Soon after the trio's journey begins, they run into another tribe that actively partakes in cannibalism, an act that disgusts the three from the Ulam tribe. It is interesting to watch the characters develop their understanding of both morality and the world around them throughout the film, and later on in the story, I actually found myself invested in these grunting nomads.

The acting is fine, although it definitely isn't the focus of the film. Everett McGill plays the leader of the trio, accompanied by a young Ron Perlman and Nameer El-Kadi. The group is later joined by a woman, played by Rae Dawn Chong, from a tribe that is a bit more developed than the Ulam. The interactions between her and the Neanderthal group are believable, and they work for what the film requires. The real praise for Quest for Fire, however, should go to Annaud for such a masterfully crafted adventure. The costumes and makeup are great, the sets feel real and believable, and the whole experience is quite breathtaking. The French filmmaker does a great job transporting the audience into this world, a feat that many of his contemporaries from this time were not able to emulate.

I'm not going to say that this movie is perfect. It lacks a certain sense of congruency that we see in the narrative of other cinematic classics, and there are a few scenes that seem unnecessary, even if they give Perlman's character a chance to provide some comic relief. Also, even though I enjoyed the script consisting of grunts and primitive language, I can see how some viewers might find this to be grating. I'd be lying, however, if I said that I didn't fully enjoy Quest for Fire. It is one of the most creative and risky films that I've ever seen, and despite the main characters' lack of intelligence, the film ends up being a rather smart adventure. Quest for Fire is one of those forgotten gems from the 80s that most from people from my generation haven't seen, and one that I hope to introduce my friends to soon.
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