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Mark Atwood
Review, Clan of the Cave Bear
Getting caught up on my NetFlix.

The film of the day is Clan of the Cave Bear. One and a half stars. It wasn't actively bad, but it wasn't at all good, either.

It inherited most of what didn't make the book very good, and added to it that which tends to make movie adaptations of thick books not very good.

It was interesting and amusing that the script and the director "played it straight", with the People "speaking" mostly in gestures. They did leave in the two things I do remember from the book, from when I read it many years ago, that Alya could intuitively grasp the concept of "number", and that the "unusual" shape of her shoulders gifted her with the ability to use a sling.

I'm sure that there really are amazing and breathtaking and tearjerking true stories key to the rise of humanity and about the time when there were two human species. However, Clan of the Cave Bear is not amazing, is not breathtaking, and not tearjerking. Neither the book, nor the movie.

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Current Location: Home, Capitol Hill, Seattle WA

7 comments or Leave a comment
jenevastorme From: jenevastorme Date: May 16th, 2007 10:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe so, but Ayla was still part of the inspiration for me to become a botanist. ;-)

The movie sucked, but the books were still acres better than "Quest for Fire". ;-P
From: neocuriosity Date: May 16th, 2007 02:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're a botanist? Cool! Your disappointment with Quest for Fire is completely understandable - bleaaaggggh! One laugh and a bunch of grunts.

Never saw the movie, Clan of the Cave Bear, I heard it was horrible. I did read the books (ALL of them). I found them richly detailed in a way that I could really dig into and understand, though I'm aware that the narrative is fiction. The rest of the books deal so much more with plant matter and crafts and 'the way things work', which is COOL.
memegarden From: memegarden Date: May 16th, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I first saw Quest for Fire I was mesmerized, and I picked out words throughout--I specifically remember identifying the word for "fire" early on. Strangely, I didn't have this experience the second time through.
jenevastorme From: jenevastorme Date: May 16th, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
If I'd seen Quest younger -- MUCH younger -- I might have appreciated it more. Then again, I saw Cave Bear in high school and thought it cheesy beyond belief, so maybe not. But yeah, Ayla inspired me to learn more about herbs and other plants. I've been gardening in various capacities for the past twenty years, and I just got a job as a technician detecting Dutch Elm Disease in our local elm population so the infected trees can be removed and properly disposed of. So I'm not technically a botanist, but that is what my undergraduate degree was in. ;-) My graduate degree, for which I just got my letter of acceptance (WHOO-HOO!), will be in Natural Resource Management.

Now you know more about me than you probably ever cared to. ;-P
jenevastorme From: jenevastorme Date: May 16th, 2007 11:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yeah, and re: the books. I agree. I've read them all several times, and though COTCB is far and away the best of the bunch and some of the rest are downright silly at times, I've found them all interesting in various ways, from the day-to-day survival skills of the Neolithic age to the intercultural and interpersonal relationships depicted.

A lot of people I know scorn the whole "she invented everything from the blowjob to peanut butter" thing, but I think I get what Auel's doing there. She seems to be illustrating the shift from an earth-based religious sensibility to an anthropomorphic one, in the way the various cultures react to Ayla and her strange upbringing and subsequently strange skill set.

Ayla came by her skills naturally enough, just by having to adapt to a very alien family and culture with very stringent demands on its members, but to others of her own kind she seems like a supernatural being by virtue of her learning and innovation techniques being developed to such a high degree -- which they had to be for her merely to survive the very physically, emotionally and spiritually challenging environment in which she grew up.

I swear to Colin, though, if I had to read about her "engorged nodule" one more time I was going to scream.
From: neocuriosity Date: May 17th, 2007 02:34 am (UTC) (Link)
LOL! "Oh, Jondalar!"

jenevastorme From: jenevastorme Date: May 17th, 2007 10:20 am (UTC) (Link)
7 comments or Leave a comment