Monday, February 2, 2009

The Claudes: Clan of the Cave Bear.

My experience with Daryl Hannah: Splash and Roxanne. I think I watched Splash 25 times as a kid, and Roxanne 20 times. I enjoyed them both. nothing, though, prepared me for the cinematic masterpiece that was Clan of the Cave Bear. I knew it would be good, it had Claude's seal of awesome on the back.

I know that Clan of the Cave Bear was a book before the movie. I didn't read it. I'm sure much of the silliness that was in the movie was also in the book (the names, for example) but it doesn't take away from the glorious stupidity that made us watch this. Twice.

We open on a prehistoric scene with two pretty blond people, young Ayla (Daryl Hannah's character) and her mom. The earth opens up, as it was prone to doing in those times, and swallows Ayla's mom. Poor Ayla has nothing to do but crawl into a cave and get swiped by a "Cave Lion." Bleeding, and passed out she is found by a group of neanderthals. The medicine woman named Iza (her mate is Broud, the story teller and sprirt animal bestower) adopts her, because her spirit animal (ravens) were making noise. Much crankiness from the leader's son, Creb, ensues. Creb is a jerkface this whole film. They decide to keep Ayla because she has strong magic/medicine/spirit thanks to the cave lion wounds on her thigh and because she found a cave for them to all hole up in. FYI, Ayla is a Cro-magnon, not a neanderthal.

These neanderthals, well versed in the "old ways" of matted hair and cave dwelling, communicate in pigeon and chest thumps. Some character's' names : Broud, Brun, Goov, Grod, Zoug, Eep, Op, Ook, Ah-ah.

Also, you are awesome if you figured out the Jetsons joke up there.

Anyhoodle, Ayla grows into Daryl Hannah. A lady, let's call her Ook, tells Iza that Ayla will never have a mate because she is so ugly. Hilarious! See, that's funny because of the cognitive dissonance--Daryl Hannah in 1984 was not ugly. AND, Daryl manages to maintain a luscious, shiny, waist-length do while everyone else's hair is matted into a spiky, brown halo around their strong foreheads. Ugly indeed!

Well, Creb has grown up too. His dad's the leader so he thinks he'll be the leader too. He has none of his father's kindness. If it were really 1984 he would be played by James Spader.

One day, all the mens are out trying to whack a stump with some rocks from a bola. Creb is really bad at it. (HAHAHA Creb suuuucks HAHAHA.) Because Creb is petulent, he get's frustrated, throws the Bola down, and stomps off to kick a saber-tooth puppy or something. All the neanderdudes follow him. Guess what! Ayla was watching from behind a tree the whole time and she totally rocks at the bola! It must have something to do with her bigger brain.

There are lots of scenes of hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Killin' game, pickin' berries, fishin', etc. Iza is the midwife/herbalist so we are treated to some neanderbirth and herb gathering. Iza is learning Ayla the healing arts. The cave scenes are pretty much about Creb ordering Ayla around while all the other neanderfolk accept it. Oh, neanderwimmins can't touch hunting gear. That's important. It's forbidden, according to the "old ways", for a woman to use tools.

Life is tough for Ayla: she's ugly, she doesn't have a spirit animal, Creb is a booger, she has no mate and therefore no neanderkid, and she has to hide her bola mad skillz from the clan. One day she's out digging roots or whatever and Creb sees her. He, um, has his way with her. We are treated to a few scenes of this, one is in the cave with the whole clan awatchin. Fun! Ayla eventually gets pregnat and has a little matted- haired moppet. At some point Ayla get's the spirit animal of the cave lion. Creb hates it because that's a man's sprit animal, not for the woman he clearly adores/despises.

Uh-oh, one day the clan is out hunting or subsisting and one of the kids gets dragged off by a wolf. It's clearly a bad wolf because it's black with eeeevil yellow eyes. Ayla hauls out her bola and saves the kid! Woo--oh, wait that was really a bad thing because women can't touch stuff like that. The clan decides to shun her for "3 periods of the moon" or some other celestial time period. Ayla is forced to crawl into her own cave with her baby in winter.

Because it's a predictable, crap plot, Ayla survives and rejoins her clan just in time for the big gathering of all the cave bear clans! They're going to choose their new leader (Creb totally thinks it's him). Iza gives Ayla some medicine bowl and then dies. At the big meeting Ayla meets another blue-eyed person. That's important for like 3 seconds because he dies later (spoiler!) The break-out sessions for this meet up include: the storyteller/medicine man group (Broud goes), the young hunters (Creb and blue-eyed guy), and medicine/apothecary women with Ayla in attendance. They all get painted up like the movie poster, drink some sort of neanderbooze, and reel around a fire. The goal was tittilating savage rites, but the effect was drunken summer camp. Ayla has a vision where here cave lion walks away from a cave bear. Deep, I wonder what it means?

The next day is the big day. All the neander-up-n-comers must fight a bear with sticks to see who the new leader is. They all provoke a bear and start stabbing it with twigs. Blue-eyed guy dies, other folks get mauled, Creb wins. Boo.

After returning to their cave, Ayla's neanderkin accept Creb as their leader. They also accept her kid as one of their own. Creb want's Ayla to sleep in his area, a proposal that would set my heart a patter, claiming her as his own. Ayla finally sprouts a spine and says no. She's leaving. There's a big world out there for her. Creb hits her. His neanderdad chastizes him for hitting one of his people. "That's not what a good leader does, jackass" Neanderdad grunts and slaps.

Ayla leaves. Taking only her bola and her shiny blond locks.

I wish there was a sequal.

1 comment:

  1. Technically, "Eep, Op, Ook, Ah-ah" IS from the Jetsons, when teen heartthrob Jet Screamer performs his new song "Eep Opp Ork Ah -Ah!" to rave reviews at the Swivel Lounge where his TV show is taped, which daughter Judy gets to see! mawwwwwwwwwm