Spring Cleaning in the Studio
Art, Escapism, and Despair
Folds and Fabric in Art
A Gift from the Netherworld
News for February!
by Georgette Tan
Genre: Action / Adventure / Drama
Director: Marcus Nispel
Cast: Karl Urban, Moon Bloodgood, Russell Means, Clancy Brown, Jay Tavare, Nathaniel Arcand, Ralf Moeller.
Guess what? Pathfinder won't be released in the US until April. The rest of us can watch it first and then taunt our American friends and enemies online.
The movie opens with a Native American woman seeing a white horse, which I gather from her reaction is a sign of some sort. She runs after the horse, falling through the undergrowth into a creek. Looking up, she finds herself staring at the iconic helm of a Viking ship.
The ship is dead quiet, for good reason. Everyone on it is dead... and for quite awhile, from the looks of them. The woman finds one survivor, a very terrified Norse boy, who falls very easily to her shocked stare and motherly hugs.
She takes him home. We are treated to that scene where all the elderly men of the tribe gather in their meeting place and sprout clichés about why they should or should not kill the boy, only to have the decision made by the most obvious figurehead in the room. The Chief says that they will take the boy in and raise him as their own. It helped that the woman who found the kid is his wife.
Fast forward 15 years. Boy grows up to be Karl Urban - blond, muscular, pale and quite predictably known as "Ghost". He seems happy and accepted. A neighboring tribe visits their village, led by their chief Pathfinder (Russell Means).
Ghost spends too much time staring at StarFire (Moon Bloodgood), the chief's daughter. A warrior from StarFire's tribe also has his eye on her. I will assume that he's the tribe's best warrior, promised to StarFire, and all that jazz because those kinds usually are.
But this isn't a love triangle. This is a bloody and violent movie from the once upon a time when the common language is who can kill the other guy first.
The Vikings return while Ghost is conveniently out of the way. They butcher his adopted tribe and burn the village to the ground. Ghost returns in time to kick some Viking booty, but not in time to save anybody. The only thing that is left for him to do is make the frantic journey to Pathfinder's village to warn them that the invaders intend to "cleanse the land" and settle down in the New World.
Pathfinder is a remake of a 1987 European film. The Native American tribes here speak "English". The Vikings speak in growls and snarls. I was told that they spoke an imaginary language in the original movie. Since I don't understand any Scandinavian languages, it could very well be imaginary. I'm not sure about classifying Pathfinder as an English movie because Native Americans are people of few words in this movie, and the Vikings had most of the dialogue.
But there is no doubt that this is an action movie. It's nothing but action. It's skirmish after skirmish, all strung together with some running around and a bit of drama. There's even a cheesy scene at the end where the outcast Ghost has his gain-true-acceptance-at-great-personal-cost moment.
If you strip away the fascinating historical backdrop, it's just another boring fight movie where the white man becomes the saviour. This is a good movie to watch if you want to watch people kill other people.
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