In movieland, the third dimension is typically the province of big budget animated flicks and franchise fare. But, this weekend, theatres are handing out the special glasses for decidedly artier fare: Werner Herzog's documentary about Paleolithic cave paintings, Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Has the acclaimed German director (Grizzly Man, Aguirre: The Wrath of God) managed to de-cheese the technology as he immerses audiences in ancient caverns? (Watch the film's trailer.)
Yes, Cave is an amazing use of 3D: I typically associate 3D movies with cheap thrills and overblown franchises, but Herzog's use of it is a "stroke of genius," says Leah Carroll in The Atlantic. It's the "perfect combination of unexpected yet inevitable," a brilliant way to capture the startling beauty of Paleolithic cave paintings and the human impulse to create. Clearly, 3D technology can do more than inflate the ticket prices of tent-pole flicks.
"Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams: 3-D done right"
And wonderfully subtle: Herzog and his cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger use the added dimension in a "lovely, quiet, enveloping way" says Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune. The result is a film that "takes you to a place you won't soon forget" and serves as a refreshing alternative to the "animated mediocrities and bombastic live-action attractions slapped with the 3D label."
"Art that stands test of time"
But at times a little blah: "The 3D is sometimes less than transporting," says Manohla Dargis in The New York Times. It's not a perfect film — the "new-agey score tended to remind me of my last spa massage" and there's an extraneous coda involving albino crocodiles — but still, "it's a blast to be inside the cave, to see these images, within 3D grabbing reach."
"Herzog finds his inner cave man"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- How Israel's hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left
- The real lesson of Rick Perry's mug shot
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- Why China thinks it could defeat the U.S. in battle
- What the 'death of the library' means for the future of books
- Welcome to the age of ambivalent feminism
- What you need to know before you support the police in Ferguson
- Making officers more diverse isn't enough to stop police violence
- How Republicans could win back Silicon Valley
Subscribe to the Week