Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Herzog’s Cave of Prattle and Banshee Muzak
This is not good. Having watched Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams with some friends, I decided to write a review. And so, as is my habit, I checked out some other reviews, just to calibrate my own impressions (and those of my friends). Right off the bat, three Big Name Reviewers – David Edelstein of New York Magazine, Andrew O’Hehir of Salon, and Manohla Dargis of The New York Times – are saying this is a good film, albeit with flaws.
Well, everything has flaws, and this is not a good film. As my friend and Big Name Cartoonist Nina Paley said on her Facebook wall: Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”: an excellent subject ruined by mediocre film-making and even worse gratuitous 3-D. I didn’t find the 3D so bothersome as she did – it made her head hurt – so I’ll back off on that part of her comment just a bit.
But only just a bit. All too often I found myself thinking “Wow! so this is that new-fangled 3D” when I’d have prefered to be left in peace to dwell on: “Wow! a rhinoceros,” or “Wow! four horses, look there’s two lions, fight! fight!” or “Wow! all those hand prints way deep in the cave” or “Wow! the glistening stalagmites and stalactites, the glistening crystalline surfaces.” Instead it was the 3D, the banshee New Agey music, and Herzog’s prattling commentary.
Yo, Dude! Anyone sophisticated enough to want to see a film about these paintings in the cave of Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc is sophisticated enough to think their own thoughts about the mysteries and enigmas. They don’t need you to tell them what to think and how to feel. So back off.
Alas, it’s too late for that. He’s made the film and fluffed out 60 minutes worth of material to 95 minutes. If the subject interests you, and you don’t mind paying a premium price (17 freakin’ dollars in NYC) to wear the high-tech 3D glasses, you might want to see the film. But your interest would better be served by putting that money toward a nice book of photographs of the cave. You might even find a book with intelligent and non-obtrusive commentary.
3D is a curse.
Bill - Thought you might appreciate my mention of your piece here: http://blog.uvm.edu/aivakhiv/2011/06/10/herzogs-cave/