MV5BMTM4NDY4NjYwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODQyODMyMQ@@._V1._SX326_SY475_

Review: CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR (1986)

.
Best Bad Quote:
“Rawharrrr, ugh! Farranghaaa rrrroaaaaaarrr!!!” <– [Sound of cave man who can’t get it up]
.
Daryl Hannah. What is she? Scientists maintain that any traces leading back to her mutant alien species’ were lost long ago… I personally theorize that she belongs to that select group of “people” who are actually animated characters. You know, the Mariah Carey, Rip Taylor, and Mama June types. They can’t be true. They just can’t! Anyway, Daryl’s “Nell” in the City-ness made her a good candidate for a great many charmingly absurd 1980s movies. She’s been a mermaid, a Replicant, and– most unfathomably– ghost that falls in love with Steve Guttenberg. These characterizations are all pretty daunting challenges that she breezed through like the oblivious champ/chump she is. But no role would be as formidable as that of Ayla in The Clan of the Cave Bear, wherein she had to go full-on Cro-Magnon. In this film, she was given the impossible task of creating a heroine at once primal-ly uncivilized but still able to project the glimmer of man’s destined intellectual evolution. Well, she half succeeded.
.
This film is one, great big, missed opportunity. I don’t know that anyone has been able to capture our Neanderthal period with any dignity. Quest for Fire (1981) did a fairly commendable job, and Kubrick’s iconic snippet of our baser ancestors in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was pretty eye-opening– as was the following spoof sketch in The Groove Tube (1974).Hahaha. High school… It’s an interesting subject to discuss and one that at least feels like it should be an essential one. Of course, there are probably political reasons why evolution isn’t dissected more. (Where is Spencer Tracy’s Henry Drummond when you need him, damn it)!? The super-early B.C.’s housed an era when people actually had problems, like getting attacked by lions, having your kid trotted off in a wolf’s mouth, being raped by your clan compatriots, or watching your latest crush be decapitated by a bear. Bummer. All of these stress-infested moments are indeed showcased by CCB. However, when Hollywood turns the camera on this patch of history, we get crap of the 10,000 BC variety– “B/c why? Because they hate us!”
.
In Clan, the good meets the bad pretty evenly. The most glaring error was casting Hannah, despite the fact that her vacant expressions actually do much to communicate her low position on the mental totem pole. She haplessly lacks the animalistic depth necessary to make her characterization of Ayla even slightly authentic. It’s kind of like the pinnacle dumb blond got lost on her way to the beach, stumbled onto the film set, and the director was like, “Whatever. Just keep rolling. She looks good in bear skin.” Fortunately, she is indeed easy on the eyes and her ignorance makes her so vulnerable that you kind of have to pity her. Why can’t this poor cave girl get it together and find the right guy? Sadly, she’s hardly the proper person to guide the ship of man’s civilization process. She looks most at home when she’s spinning around in happy circles shouting her name to the sky. “That’ll do, Daryl… That’ll do.” #CaveBabe
.
The plot follows the maturation of the Cro-Magnon Ayla when the young girl’s mother is killed, thus rendering her utterly alone in the wilderness. Lying on the edge of death, she is found and adopted by a slightly more primitive clan. At first, they want to leave her for dead. She’s one of the “new kind”– a competing clan who comes to threaten their very existence. Ayla is the way to the future, you see. She is slightly more intelligent and further evolved in her thinking, posture, and looks. Basically, she’s a total WASP, so clearly she’s better than the hairy, dirty, uni-browed people she now finds herself surrounded by. Her foster parents Creb (James Remar) and Iza (Pamela Reed) take her in and protect her, even while her presence is considered a burden to the tribe. To make matters worse, she’s deemed utterly fug due to her sad albino appearance (you remember that Twilight Zone episode, right?) but, as we learn from the young, angry Broud (Thomas G. Waites), beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Upon Ayla’s entry into their company, he immediately pokes the little girl with his big stick– FORESHADOWING.
.
Anyway, long story short, Ayla the outcast slowly ingratiates herself to the clan, however she is still made to feel submissive to her peers. Also, her willful ways of learning to use weapons or refusing to bow before men makes her an unusual threat. Broud, as the group’s future leader, attacks the issue of Ayla’s early feminism head-on by taking her from behind. He doesn’t have much staying power, but he gets the job done. Honey Broud doesn’t give a sh*t! He takes what wants! Still, Ayla is a tough cookie. This is, at heart, a coming of Age story. She survives occasional banishment, the self-administered delivery of her baby, and even manages to educate herself in the healing powers, which will allow her to maintain her rocky position in the clan. But, the ending is inevitable. Her friends are backwards; she is forwards. You don’t evolve by standing still. She must press on to the new hope, which she eventually does by challenging and exerting her dominance over the sexually frustrated Broud, So long, ya’ big foreheaded f*ckers. Hail Whitey!
.
This movie is cheesy as Hell. The cosmetics used to make the Neanderthals look Neanderthal-y are very… sub-par, shall we say? You kind of find yourself waiting for the Heavy Metal music to start so Broud can take the mic and start waling like David Lee Roth. He and the rest of the group look like a very beastly hair-band, after all. The wigs are definitively “no bueno.” However, the acting, specifically on the part of Remar and Reed, is actually quite decent, however silly, over-exaggerated, and damn awkward most of the cast is in just being their most “natural” selves. One would think this wouldn’t be so hard, as remnants of our descendants should still be present within all of us, but their presentation comes off like a bad LSD trip caught on tape. Or maybe those bath salts that make people eat faces… Yeah, that feels right. Still, the movie introduces an interesting peek at a bygone people and one more chain in the link of our pilgrim’s progress: how we learned to count, the mythologies and spiritualisms we created to make sense of existence, the laws of behavior and thus governments we administered to keep order… It could have been a pretty good flick. Damn that Daffy Daryl… You just can’t take her seriously. Still, her cutting edge of “Huh?” makes for an entertaining hour and a half.
.
Rating:
3 out of 5 Afternoon Duhr-lights
cave cave cave
.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply