80,000 years ago, fire is still a mystery. Its creation has yet to be mastered but is stolen from nature. Naoh (Everett McGill), Gaw (Nicholas Kadi) and Amoukar (Ron Perlman) are part of a neanderthal group living in a cave and keeping a fire alive within a lantern. They are attacked by the primitive Homo erectus Wagabou tribe. The remnants of the tribe escape but they lose their fire. The three are sent forth to relight the lantern. They are chased by sabretooth tigers. Then they attack a tribe of cannibals to retrieve fire. By doing so, a prisoner of the cannibals Ika (Rae Dawn Chong) escapes and starts following the trio. She's a Homo sapien. They even encounter mammoths.Although the mammoths look silly now. Historical accuracy can be a tricky thing and I can't nit pick this movie. Some of it seems off but I don't have the required PHD. What I do like is the movie's uniqueness. I don't recall too many films like it. There's maybe one or two. Also the story is actually quite compelling. It's filled with action. It has some funny moments. It's an interesting and truly unique movie going experience.
Jean-Jacques Annaud's French caveman epic has gained an almost mythic status in certain circles, mainly due to its one-of-a-kind nature and its relative obscurity here in Britain. Expecting another man-vs-monsters adventure yarn in the style of ONE MILLION YEARS B.C., I instead found myself watching a powerful and deeply moving film concentrating on the triumph of the human spirit, the struggle for life, and the calamity of death. Despite there being no recognisable language spoken in the film, the story is very easy to follow and basically consists of the quest undertaken by three cavemen to capture and bring back fire for their tribe, who will be wiped out without it. Along the way they face many dangers, from wildlife to aggressive rival tribes, to treacherous bogs and even cannibals. QUEST FOR FIRE is a film that pulls no punches in its depiction of the brutality and violence of stone-age life, and the explicit violence and gore is kept realistic which makes it all the more shocking.Most, if not all, of the elements in this film are spot-on. Annaud's direction helps keep things interesting throughout, and his style helps the viewer to identify with the central characters despite us being separated from them by thousands of years. The music is stirring and the camera-work often spectacular, often when taking in the breathtaking unspoilt locations that the film uses - from the wilds of Canada to the plains of Kenya and the mountains of Scotland and the Cairngorns, the landscape is used in such an evocative way that it almost becomes a character in the film itself. The special effects that transform lions into sabre-tooths and elephants into mammoths are simplistic but highly effective, as is the subtle makeup used on the actors to give them that prehistoric look.Speaking of acting, it is generally of a very high level in what are difficult performances to give - acting must be done here through actions rather than words, but the actors successfully manage to pull it off. Each of the central trio (comprised of Everett McGill, Ron Perlman, and Nameer El-Kadi) have strong, distinctive appearances which are accentuated to good use in the movie. Rae Dawn Chong also puts in her breakthrough performance as the cannibal prisoner who is freed by our heroes and joins them on their journey. The various action is handled adeptly with fine camera-work and the film is very moving at times, especially towards the end, without being sentimental in any way. QUEST FOR FIRE is definitely the most realistic caveman film of all time and also perhaps the best. Incidentally, the film's success was proved by the arrival of two Italian rip-offs which followed the year after: Alberto Cavallone's gruesomely graphic MASTER OF THE WORLD, and Umberto Lenzi's silly but endearing IRON MASTER.
80,000 years ago, fire had the meaning of power; when a tribe is attacked by another aggressive tribe and their source of fire is stolen, three tribesmen travels in a quest for fire. They retrieve the source of fire from a primitive group of cannibals and a female prisoner escapes from death. She follows the trio, and they discover that she belongs to a tribe in a higher stage of evolution that is able to create fire. Their contact promotes an evolution of their own tribe.This is the third time that I watch this fascinating and unique "La Guerre du Feu", which is an unforgettable masterpiece of the great director Jean-Jacques Annaud, now on DVD. The story is awesome with amazing performances without words but with a wonderful choreography, and in my opinion Rae Dawn Chong and Ron Perlman deserved nominations to the Oscar in this earlier works. My vote is nine.Title (Brazil): "A Guerra do Fogo" ("The War of the Fire")
The Ulam are a tribe of cavemen who possess fire in the form of a carefully guarded small flame which they use to start larger fires. Driven out of their home after a bloody battle with the ape-like Wagabu, the Ulam are horrified when their fire is accidentally extinguished while taking refuge in a marsh. Because the tribe does not know how to create fire themselves, the tribal elder decides to send three men, Naoh, Amoukar, and Gaw, on a quest to find fire.
Roger Ebert gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, writing that he saw it as a "borderline comedy" in the opening scenes, but "then these characters and their quest began to grow on me, and by the time the movie was over I cared very much about how their lives would turn out." Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune awarded three stars out of four, stating that "you may be tempted, as I was, to shout wisecracks at the screen. But then the basic appeal of the story begins to work, and every so often we find ourselves asking ourselves, 'I wonder if that's the way it did happen?' And when that happens, 'Quest for Fire' has you hooked." Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that the film was "more than just a hugely entertaining science lesson, although it certainly is that. It's also a touching, funny and suspenseful drama about prehumans." Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times wrote that she did not know how historically accurate the movie was, "But this is film making, not carbon dating, and it seems that every piece of magic and the skill of every craft has been used to free our imagination, to let it soar with the film to see what life may have been like 80,000 years ago." Pauline Kael of The New Yorker wrote, "It's almost impossible to guess what the tone of this ape-man love story (based on a French novel, by J. H. Rosny, Sr.) is intended to be. Are we meant to laugh at the gaminess? At the men's werewolf foreheads? (Thick hair sprouts about an inch above their eyebrows.) The director, Jean-Jacques Annaud, seems to be willing for us to laugh but not sure about how to tell us when." 2b1af7f3a8