Although occasionally bleak, the film affords many pleasurable moments, showing early man learning to laugh and expressing delight and amazement at the sight of fire.
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What are critics saying?
The talk is mostly in grunts and whoops, and the film sometimes reaches the brink of a Mel Brooks travesty, but never falls over. [18 Jan 1982]
Quest for Fire is diverting and well made, and kids should love it. Chong is delightful as the first feminist heroine. And as bloody and brutish as the fights are, the film is resoundingly sweet-natured at heart. [15 Feb 1982, p.61]
Quest for Fire expresses an eloquent partiality for civilized virtues, especially companionship, sexual bonding and parenthood. [05 Mar 1982, p.B12]
This is supposed to be serious hard-hitting but with most prehistoric depictions, only manages either school reconstruction or parody.
Quest for Fire is more than just a hugely enterprising science lesson, although it certainly is that. It's also a touching, funny and suspenseful drama about prehumans.
The title is a tease: Quest For Fire is the quest for understanding, the quest for an answer, the quest for The Answer. Quest For Fire maintains that in the space of 80,000 years we have walked a long, long way, and have come scarcely any distance at all. [12 Feb 1982]
These characters and their quest began to grow on me, and by the time the movie was over I cared very much about how their lives would turn out.