Well, looks like I get to finish out the week with a dinosaur movie. Now I remember seeing a small portion of this movie years ago and thinking it was absolutely ridiculous. It would be years later before I would finally be able to watch the whole movie, and that was honestly by random fluke of luck. I was up late and this movie just happened to be on so why shouldn’t I watch it. When I went on a dinosaur buying binge a while back, I decided to throw this movie in to the pile in order to add a little difference to the mix. Now, let’s see if I still find Caveman entertaining.
The plot: On October 9th, 1 Zillion years B.C., a tribe of caveman is gathering food from the trees outside their cave. Atouk, a skinny and bullied caveman, is chased away from the group by Tonda, the large, brutish leader of the tribe, and forced to look elsewhere for food. As Atouk wanders around, he sees a large 4 legged dinosaur and runs back to the tribe, screaming out “Macha”. The dinosaur chases after him and as Tonda makes some of the men try to fight the monster, it frightens them off and they all go and hide, with the dinosaur eventually grabbing one of the cavemen and carrying him away. Tonda leads the cavemen back to their cave but Atouk stays to help his friend Lar, whose leg was injured by the dinosaur, but Tonda says that Lar is “Pooka” (broken) and casts him out of the tribe. As the cavemen return to the tribe, Atouk stares at Lana, Tonda’s mate, and when Tonda isn’t looking, he offers her some food but instead of thanking him, she promptly calls Tonda’s attention to the food and he quickly eats it. The next day, Atouk is forced to try some new berries by Tonda and Atouk ends up being knocked out, causing the other cavemen to ignore the berries. That night, Atouk puts some of the sleeping berries into a larger piece of fruit and offers it to Lana, knowing that she will share it with Tonda. Later, Atouk heads over to Tonda and Lana’s sleepins space and attempts to sleep with Lana but ends up exhausting himself trying to get her into position. The next morning, Tonda grabs Atouk, thinking it is Lana, and when he realizes his mistake, he kicks Atouk out of the tribe. Atouk wanders around until he sees Lar and the two friends embrace each other, with the force of their hug causing their spines to align so they stand fully upright. The next day, Atouk and Lar see a cavewoman named Tala leading a blind cavemen named Gog by a tar pit and when Gog falls into the tar, Atouk and Lar go save him. After getting him back to shore, Atouk and Lar straighten Gog and Tala’s backs and introduce themselves, with Tala falling in love with Atouk. As they go to clean themselves from the tar, Gog wanders off and unknowingly encounters a Tyrannosaurus. When Gog hits it, it ends up running off and chasing Atouk and the others but Atouk manages to accidentally stab it in the chest with a broken tree branch, causing it to start belching and leave. When Tala hugs Atouk, Lar jokes about Atouk and Tala “zug zug”, and Tala likes the idea but Atouk refuses, saying he loves Lana. When Lar says Tonda will kill Atouk, Atouk grabs Gog’s stick and motions like he did to the Tyrannosaurus, saying he will do that to Tonda. They head back to their old home and find out that Tonda and the men are gone looking for food. Atouk heads inside to see Lana, who seems impressed by his new upright appearance but refuses to leave. When Tonda appears, Atouk and the others quickly leave while he is distracted, with Tala mocking Atouk for his cowardice. Later that night, Atouk and Lar attempt to kidnap Lana and take her from the cave but when they get outside, Tala moves Atouk’s hand off of Lana’s mouth, allowing her to scream for Tonda, who chases them away. The next day, Atouk and the others discover some other cavemen and after straightening their spines, they go looking for a new home for themselves. As night falls, a lightning strikes a tree and causes a fire, which the Atouk and his group cautiously cluster around until the realize it can keep them warm. Another group of cavemen appear, one of which speaks perfect English, and after introductions are made, two of them begin fighting over a dead bird that they have. Atouk attempts to stop the fight by splitting the bird in half but in his attempts, he ends up holding it over the fire and the cavemen are shocked to discover that cooking the food over fire makes it taste better. As they finish their meal, one of the new members to the group blows on an empty gourd and, liking the sound, continues doing it, prompting others to start making music with whatever items they can find. The next morning, Atouk wakes up before the others and encounters the Tyrannosaurus again, which follows him towards their camp but Atouk lures it towards the fire, causing it to burn it’s foot and leave in pain. With no more food on hand, Atouk and Lar lead a group to go find some more food and eventually find a large egg. The group grabs the egg and starts heading back to their camp but when they stop to rest, they are confronted by Tonda and his group of men, who chase them away from the egg. Tonda and his group grab the egg and start to carry it away but when they are attacked by a Pteranodon, they end up dropping the egg off a cliff. The egg breaks open over a geyser and while Tonda and his group walk away, Atouk and his group head over to the egg, which has been cooked by the hot gases and water, and grab pieces of it to take back to camp. Atouk and his group return to their camp but were followed by Tonda and his group, who try to attack them. Atouk and the others fend off Tonda with several torches and chase them away, but Tonda and his group had grabbed several of their torches as they left and realizing that they have lost their fire, Atouk and the others follow after them. At the mountain cave, Tonda and his men show everyone the fire they brought back and then Tonda, seeing how Atouk and his group looked, begins straightening everyone’s spines before having all of the men jump on him to straighten his. Atouk and the others reach the cave to find it empty and quickly grab the fire and food inside but as they are heading back, they see Tonda and his tribe fishing in a nearby stream. Tala tells Atouk to keep moving with the others but Atouk stays behind and watches Lana try to catch fish. When Lana ends up being swept downriver, Atouk and Lar rescue her but Lar ends up being swept downstream and disappears into an underground cavern. While Tonda and his tribe believe Lana is dead, Atouk returns to Lana and tells her that Lar is dead. Meanwhile, Lar surfaces in a frozen cavern and as he slides further down into the frozen area, unaware that he is being followed by an Abominable Snowman. Atouk returns to the camp with Lana and as he begins pampering her, Tala gets jealous. When the others ask about Lar and he tells them that he disappeared, they say they should go look for him. Lana wants Atouk to stay with her, saying she loves him, but Atouk agrees with the others to go look for Lar. The group begin searching and eventually find the frozen cavern where Lar surfaced and slide down to the lower chamber. Inside, they find Lar frozen in a block of ice, with the Abominable Snowman right behind him, and begin working on freeing him. Meanwhile, a jealous Tala leaves the camp and heads to the cave, where Tonda is in the process of picking a new mate, and she tells him Lana is alive and convinces him to follow her. Back in the ice cave, Atouk and the others free Lar but their torches also free the Abominable Snowman, who chases after them but they manage to get away. Meanwhile, Tala leads Tonda and his men back to her camp and they see Lana there but decide to take all of the women, including Tala, back with them. When Atouk and the others return and learn from Gog what happened, they want to go after Tonda and Atouk agrees, but gets an idea. The group begin to fashion weapons and armor, then use the sleeping berries to drug the 4 legged dinosaur that had attacked them before. With their preparation ready, they march onto Tonda’s cave, then start a fire to smoke them out. When Tonda exits the cave, Atouk challenges him and a fight breaks out between Tonda’s men and Atouk’s group. Atouk gets onto the back of the dinosaur and challenges Tonda, who manages to grab Atouk and drag him off the dinosaur. Tonda then begins kicking Tonda and Lana decides to kick him as well but Tala grabs Lana and punches her. Atouk manages to grab a weapon and hit Tonda, then keep using other weapons, and a shield, until he finally manages to defeat Tonda. AS Atouk and the others celebrate, with Tonda’s tribe accepting Atouk as their new leader, Lana steps up next to Atouk, throwing a mocking look towards Tala when Atouk puts his arm around her and leads her up to the top of the hill with him. As the crowd cheers, Atouk picks up Lana, then shocks everyone when he drops her into a pile of dinosaur feces. Atouk then walks over to Tala and as they clasp hands, the crowd cheers as they all head into the cave.
Caveman met with poor results from the critics, holding a 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that while there were some laughs to be found, the lack of originality hurt it’s chances of being a better comedy. When Barbara Bach heard who was going to be starring in the picture, she was disappointed as she felt the role should have gone to a more accomplished comedian like Dudley More. However, after her first meeting with Ringo Starr, the two ended up falling in love and marrying 10 months later. The movie was a box office success, earning $15.9 million dollars world wide.
This is another one of those stupid 80’s comedies but it is still able to make me laugh. The acting was good, with Ringo Starr (Atouk), Dennis Quaid (Lar), John Matuszak (Tonda), and Shelly Long (Tala) doing great jobs in their roles. Barbara Bach was also good as Lana, though her main role was basically to look pretty (no, I seriously think that they told her to just look pretty and seductive all the time), while Avery Schreiber (Ock) and Jack Gilford (Gog) made for some great comedic characters. The story was pretty basic, with the whole outcast group going up against the more popular/dominant group which has been done over and over again. The special effects regarding the dinosaurs were honestly a little cheap, looking very much like the claymation/models that they were, but the googly eyed aspect of them actually made them pretty funny. It’s a silly bit of a rom/com but one that is able to provide some laughs.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5