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synopsis : cro-magnon ayla loses her mother to an earthquake and escapes certain death by a lion .
reluctantly rescued by a neanderthal clan who likes to have sex doggy-style , ayla grows up to become a blond , feminist supermodel who challenges the neanderthal patriarchy by throwing rocks and giving birth without a mate .
comments : allow me to state for the record that i find daryl hannah an appealing presence in movies .
she proved quite charming as the intelligent astronomer in the romantic comedy roxanne and equally creepy as pris in the sci-fi classic blade runner .
the clan of the cave bear clearly tries to capitalize on hannah as a selling point : the poster art bears a striking closeup of hannah in tribal paint and the video box prominently features her name in lettering the same size as the title .
not even her starring role in this turkey , unfortunately , can save it from being an unbelievable exercise in cheese .
it's so uniquely bad ( a film dealing with prehistoric man that actually tries , and miserably fails , to be serious ) that it's oddly fascinating .
the ridiculous attempt at drama here leaves the audience somehow transfixed , wanting to see how this dud plays out .
the clan of the cave bear is based upon a popular novel by jean m . auel .
to this day , the book possesses a loyal cult following .
i remember a dear friend of mine had a dog-eared copy of the novel she had read as a child with all the so-called dirty parts blacked out with marker by her grandmother .
i have never read this book , but i sure hope it's 10 , 000 times better than its film adaptation .
if not , then i'm at a complete loss to explain its popularity .
the clan of the cave bear immediately opens with a comically absurd scene .
a young ayla , looking much like drew barrymore in e . t . ,
tramps about in the woods .
with her cute little ponytails and fur wrapped about her , the audience's expectations of a convincing portrayal of prehistory are immediately shattered .
what follows is a laughably choreographed sequence in which an earthquake swallows up ayla's mother ( a blonde with fur pants . . . er ,
leggings ) .
tearful ayla looks on as the cameraman shakes the camera . . . well ,
as the earthquake slowly recedes .
a hungry lion becomes interested in her for lunch , but the screaming six-year-old manages to outrun the king of the wild and find a safe haven .
i won't detail the story any further ; this seems enough to illustrate my point .
this movie is really stupid .
it never even gives the audience a chance to suspend their disbelief .
also , the obvious comparison between the appearance of cro-magnon man in prehistory and the rise of feminism in our century is about as subtle as burning a wonderbra in front of charlton heston .
the movie doesn't just suggest this message ; it whacks the message into the audience with a two-by-four .
a blond , gorgeous woman challenges the social laws of a bunch of people in gaudy brown wigs .
she's of the " new people " ; they're of the " old people " with " the memories . "
yep .
we get it .
we get it .
the clan of the cave bear apparently received an academy award nomination for best make-up , which surprises me .
the movie depends upon a lot of make-up obviously , but much of it is unconvincing .
as stated before , daryl hannah is daryl hannah here ; she looks like she just stepped out of the shower all the time .
the rest of the characters have dark make-up of some sort smeared over them to look like dirt .
the face-painting that's occasionally seen is perhaps the only notable work here in my mind .
this movie also suffers from its new age trappings .
maybe the music sounded a lot more fresh or original during 1985 , but now it sounds dated and cliched , like poorly conceived elevator music .
add to this the film's faux-mysticism , including spirit animals and dream visions , and a narrator who sounds like a psychic you'd expect to hear on a 1-900 number , and you get a movie that has serious problems being serious .
the clan of the cave bear is rated r , though it's probably one of the most inoffensive offensive films i've seen in quite a while .
it contains several scenes of sex sans nudity .
the violence mostly consists of hunting scenes .
the funniest moment of the movie occurs when a neanderthal in love with ayla attempts to rescue her from a ferocious bear .
the bear bites his head off and the audience sees it rolling about .
although this may sound gratuitous , i'm sure , it's so cheesy that it probably won't bother most people .
the clan of the cave bear is a bad movie .
however , as i wrote at the beginning of this review , it does have the distinction of originality .
typically when i think of bottom-of-the-barrel films dealing with early man , fantasy movies involving dinosaurs ( who did not exist at the same time as man ) and raquel welch come to mind .
the clan of the cave bear tries so hard to be serious that , though it's so bad , the audience is still interested by the unique setting and characters of the movie ( which is why i awarded this turkey two stars ) .
i have to think that fans of the book would be disappointed with this film version ; however , i'm only basing this observation on the fact that the book is almost invariably better than the movie .
i shudder to think that it could be otherwise . . .
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