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Cavemen (Blu-ray Review)

Cavemen - www.whysoblu.comLA playboy Dean (Skylar Astin) is fed up with one-night-stands and empty relationships – he wants more out of life than just a party. With a little inspiration from his nine-year-old nephew and his best friend Tess (Camilla Belle), Dean decides to try his hand at finding true love for the first time – which proves to be much more difficult than he thought in modern-day Los Angeles. 

Cavemen - www.whysoblu.com

 

Film 

Cavemen are about a group of friends who live in a loft nicknamed, you guess it, “The Cave” in the trendy Downtown Los Angeles area. Our two leads, in essence a poor-man’s version of Mikey & Trent from Swingers, are Dean (Skylar Astin) and Jay (Chad Michael Murray). Dean is the in essence the chump of the group who does not have that much luck with the ladies and when he does score a date and sexual encounter becomes needy and wants to fall in love with the woman he just slept with. Jay on the other hand just wants to have fun and does not care about relationships. The more the merrier in his case.

Things overcomplicate themselves when Dean starts to develop feelings for his platonic female friend named Tess (Camilla Belle). Whenever they’re both onscreen together in the same frame it gets to be ultra painful due to Dean being an ultimate wuss and trying to play off his attraction to Tess. I found myself yelling at the screen “ASK HER OUT ALREADY!” The ending, even if you have just seen the trailer, is fairly obvious and can be seen a mile away, so no surprise there. It’s the journey to the end that is painful.

I give props to the Chad Michael Murray and the production. Murray was actually pretty cool throughout the film and never came off like a douche as I thought he would. He would make a great wingman. I loved the fact that they filmed Cavemen in DTLA. I recognized Little Tokyo, The Fashion District Alleys, Olvera Street, etc. Lots of cool watering holes were also on display. I do get that Cavemen was shot on a really low budget but have the feeling that it probably cost more to make than Swingers did 20 years ago. The differences are that Swingers has a really strong script and Cavemen does not. Not only that but Dean, as our main protagonist, is annoying as all hell and wallows in self-pity. Mikey in Swingers did the same thing but he was at least funny and tolerable.

I will also give slight props to Cavemen in that for a low budget affair they did squeeze every penny out of the budget for production purposes. I do like some scenes that take place on the METRO subway here and in the crowded streets of DTLA. There’s a certain “new wave” feel to it due to certain scenes where you have the obvious crowd who are not actual extras looking into the camera or commenting in the background as our actors in the foreground go about their business. Scenes like those are charming, because it’s guerrilla filmmaking. Grab a camera, your actors, and shoot. Oh, and Jay was cool.

I apologize if my rant filled review reads like a Cavemen vs. Swingers bout but it’s an obvious comparison. If you’re at all curious about location filmmaking and low budgets, etc., Cavemen will serve a purpose. If you’re looking for what NOT do when writing a script inspired by Swingers, which still stands the test of time, then Cavemen also serves a purpose. That last statement is not a compliment.

 

Cavemen - www.whysoblu.com

Video 

Encoding: AVC MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: Clarity and detail were on point and I did not detect any instances of tampering with the contrast levels, boosting, or otherwise. Sharpness levels were also kept in check.

Depth: The Blu-ray really brought out the DTLA scene, with its bold palette. Cavemen certainly pops on the Blu-ray format.

Black Levels: 80% of the film takes place at night and outside and the black levels stay consistent all throughout. There may have been one or two instances of minor crush but there was nothing distracting at all.

Color Reproduction: The color palette was very strong – from the boys and their “man cave” loft to the bright and neon-fluorescent signage on the streets of Little Tokyo and DTLA beyond, I didn’t notice any disruptive banding issues.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones looked natural and even under certain bright lights that would normally distort a person in tea life no one had an out of place hair or blemish on their pretty little heads.

Noise/Artifacts: A couple of creepy-crawly spots aside the Blu-ray had no distracting noise or blemishes to speak of.

Cavemen - www.whysoblu.com

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0.

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: The sound quality on Cavemen is above average in its presentation being that its a drama/comedy hybrid, so you won’t get explosions or martial arts coming through in way of set-pieces, however, you will get a pretty decent audio experience.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE was put to good use during the party/club scenes and with the use of trance music. The bass got its groove on in those scenes.

Surround Sound Presentation: The ambience sounds in the back were up to snuff – the rear channels enhanced the DTLA nightlife a bit without drowning out what was going on in the front.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels always remain clean and clear. This is a dialogue driven film, so it has that going for it in the sound department.

Cavemen - www.whysoblu.com

Extras 

The lack of extras will not do the overall rating for the Blu-ray any favors.

  • Trailer (HD, 1:39) – Theatrical trailer for Cavemen presented in high definition.

 

Cavemen - www.whysoblu.com

Summary 

Cavemen could have been the second coming of Swingers if only the screenplay was stronger. The actors are fine in the roles that they portray but the story is clichéd ridden and not very interesting. Cavemen on Blu-ray has above average video and audio specs but the lack of extras drag it way down.

 

 

 

Order Cavemen on Blu-ray!

Cavemen - www.whysoblu.com

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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