Caveman Blu-ray review
It’s the year One Zillion B.C. (on October 9th, to be precise) and the tribes of cavemen are struggling to survive, fending off their rivals to get the best food. As Atouk (Ringo Starr, who many may remember as a drummer) travels through the harsh environment to gather, he’s greeted by a sort of Venus flytrap, which proceeds to smuggle and kiss him. Further on his journey, he’s stalked by a giant horned lizard, which is also on the hunt for a meal.
That’s the life of Atouk, who has it much worse than any of the other cavemen. He’s the one they come to when they need someone to test the berries to see if they’re poisonous, just as Ringo was probably the one The Beatles had go into venues to check for carbon monoxide leaks. Adding to his troubles, Atouk has a crush on an unbathed beauty named Lana (Barbara Bach, who played the Bond girl in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME; she and Starr wed the same month CAVEMAN hit theaters) who just happens to be the mate of his daily antagonist, Tonda (Oakland Raider John Matuszak, who would go on to play Sloth in THE GOONIES).
After one too many mishaps, Atouk is forced out of the cave neighborhood, where he’s reunited with his friend Lar (Dennis Quaid, 1979’s BREAKING AWAY) and meets a blonde who will have to do named Tala (Shelley Long, 1980’s A SMALL CIRCLE OF FRIENDS) and a blind man named Gog (Jack Gilford, who played Hysterium in Richard Lester’s A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM) who’s made a habit of falling into tar pits.
Carl Gottlieb’s (who wrote the screenplays for JAWS and THE JERK, among others) CAVEMAN would be insufferable if it wasn’t so darn odd. The primary oddity is Ringo Starr, whose appearance in any movie always raise an eyebrow, even though he had been making non-Beatles-related pictures since 1968’s Terry Southern adaptation CANDY (he would next co-star in any Southern work, THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN). (1981 overall proved to be a questionable year for Starr, who also released Stop and Smell the Roses, the cover of which stands as one of the creepiest in modern music.)
As the movie progresses, it only gets stranger, introducing a number of zany happenings and several stop-motion creatures, including dinosaurs that crow like roosters in the morning and hoot like owls in the night, a Tyrannosaurus Rex (maybe?) that burps and a flying insect that mimics the facehugger from ALIEN. It even pauses for a musical number and to introduce the Abominable Snowman (Richard Moll, who would later appear on NIGHT COURT). This is a movie that just doesn’t give up.
CAVEMAN is certainly a curiosity, and there’s something alluring about it—not in how bad it is, but in how it keeps chugging along despite its awful gags. It will also make fans of caveman comedies wonder what Pete Best would have done with the material.
Video: 1.85:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The color palette is limited to mostly browns, but they look quite nice. Overall, the video has a noticeably grainy look to it and occasional bouts of softness, but it will still please fans of the movie.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. The audio transfer presents clear dialogue, nice sound effects (from burps to roars) and an enjoyable Lalo Schifrin score.