Tuesday, April 26, 2011

3D Dog Says: Herzog's 'Cave' Is A Grizzly Mess

By 3D Dog
Anytown, Planet Earth

Maybe it's a dog thing, but I've never really understood the appeal of Werner Herzog as a filmmaker. Sure, he's made a LOT of documentaries. And some of 'em are pretty interesting, thanks to his reliable habit of picking provocative subject matter. But you still spend most of your time ignoring, or forgiving, all of the annoying little idiosyncrasies that make it Herzog films...well, Herzog films.

The Cave Of Forgotten Dreams is no exception. The topic is fascinating - the discovery of an untouched, completely preserved 34,000 year old cave in France full of neanderthal cave drawings and the bones of animals that have been extinct for thousands of years. Incredibly, Herzog managed to finagle the exclusive rights to filming - the French government is unlikely to grant access to anyone besides an elite group of archaeologists, ever again. And he still managed to royally fuck up a subject that NatGeo could have made history with. From minute one, Herzog asks that you forgive him for any number of filmmaking no-no's - he and his crew are only allowed in for a short time, and have virtually no room to move about, so they and they're equipment are in nearly every shot of the cave.

One of the few redeeming qualities is actually the 3D - being able to see the contours and the texture of the cave drawings, bones and claw marks really make you feel like you're in there. Other than that, his heavy-handed voiceovers are riddled with schmaltz, and an uninterrupted 20 minute segment of cave shots set to pan flute music makes you want to claw your eyes out. By the 30 minute mark, it was clear that they only had about 40 minutes of unique content that they planned on stretching into a 90 minute feature, come hell or high water.

Summary: I never thought I'd be bored to death in a movie almost entirely about bones.

Wags: 2/5

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