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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Nature > Civilization > History > Geography > Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D: Humanity’s Lost Masterpiece – A Film by Werner Herzog (Sundance Selects/IFC/MPI Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray on one disc)

Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D: Humanity’s Lost Masterpiece – A Film by Werner Herzog (Sundance Selects/IFC/MPI Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray on one disc)

 

3D Picture: B     2D Picture: B     Sound: B+     Extras: C     Film: B-

 

 

Werner Herzog has somehow gotten permission to film inside the Chauvet caves in Southern France.  Here he walks us through the oldest known pictorial creations by mankind.  It is considered one of the most successful documentaries of all time as it provides a new and jaw dropping way to experience a pristine work dating back 30,000 years.

 

Werner Herzog, who made other great documentaries like that of Encounters of the End of the World and Grizzly Man, shines a light in a way like only he can do on a prehistoric pictorial work that few have had the opportunity to see.

 

The film starts with the cave’s discovery in 1994 (so a fairly new discovery) and works its way forward.  The cave has been on lockdown by the French Government as to protect it from would be thieves/vandals.  The cave houses the earliest known cave paintings, along with many full skeletons of cave bears (now extinct).  It seems that the cave was sealed by a landslide ~30,000 years ago and the contents had been untouched since.  The French government built a huge vault like door and metal walkways to avoid damaging the caves wondrous treasures.

 

The documentary is rather dry, especially when speaking to various archeologists.  It is the imagery, however, that makes this feature worth while.  Not many have this opportunity and now that it is on film people from all over the world have this once exclusive opportunity.

 

The technical features of this Blu-ray 3D and standard Blu-ray presentation are nicely done, but less than what I was expecting.  The filming was most done with small consumer grade high definition cameras and light that does not admit heat as to not damage any of the cave’s contents.  With that said the quality of this 1.78 X 1 AVC Encoded 1080p image is lacking; never achieving the breath taking quality that I was expecting.  Yes, to view the caves are extraordinary, but the 3D is weak and uninspiring.  I would say that the standard 2D Blu-ray was about the same in terms of what each other offered as far as color and texture.  The sound is a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio that is nice, but mostly comes from the front as this is a dialogue heavy presentation with commentary and interviews being the main sound focus.  I will say that the musical scores do utilize the surrounds and fill the room, making a solid atmosphere and pleasurable experience.

 

The extras include only ‘Ode to the Dawn of Man: A Short Film by Werner Herzog’ and the film’s Trailer.  The short film is 39minutes long and focuses on the composing of the score for the film under review here.  Neither was all too exciting, though nice for at least one viewing.

 

 

-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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