Pathfinder

Two Worlds, One War. The Ultimate Battle Begins.

Adventure Action
99 min     5.598     2007     USA

Overview

A Viking boy is left behind after his clan battles a Native American tribe. Raised within the tribe, he ultimately becomes their savior in a fight against the Norsemen.

Reviews

Gimly wrote:
Historically inaccurate with characters you don't care for and a story you've seen beat-for-beat before. But somebody give this damn costume department an Academy Award **immediately**! _Final rating:★★½ - Had a lot that appealed to me, didn’t quite work as a whole._
Wuchak wrote:
_**Great-looking action/adventure flick is dramatically weak and banal**_ Vikings come to North America hundreds of years before Columbus bringing death & destruction to the Beothuk people in what is now Newfoundland. One of the latter, Ghost (Karl Urban), is actually a Viking by blood, a survivor of a previous Viking expedition. I thought this was going to be some low-budget Syfy flick but, no, "Pathfinder" (2007) is a theatrical release with stellar production values. The first thing I noticed was that the director is Marcus Nispel, who went on to direct the 2011 version of "Conan the Barbarian." There are some glaring derivative bits sprinkled throughout, like Tarzan, "Conan the Barbarian" (1982), "Rambo 2," "Last of the Mohicans," and so forth. This isn't helped by forced lines, like the exchange about the two wolves within each individual. Clichéd bits like this CAN work, but they have to be better executed. The antagonists are the Vikings, who are depicted as comic booky inhuman monsters, whereas the natives are virtuous. This brings up the whole nature vs. nurture issue as Ghost is of Viking heritage but because he's brought up by the spiritual Beothuk people he isn't corrupted by the Vikings' ways. This suggests that evil or immorality is socially spread. Russell Means, who played Chingachgook in "Last of the Mohicans," is on hand as the elder Pathfinder. It's great to see him still truckin' along at almost seventy years old. The film was shot in British Columbia in mostly forest settings, but with occasional mountains that don't look much like the Northeast; some do though. Despite this flaw, "Pathfinder" is a visually striking film from beginning to end, and I don't just mean the scenery. Nispel knows how to make a spectacularly good-looking movie, that's for sure. In fact, it's so awe-inspiring it's worth the price of admission. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the story. Everything is here for a quality movie, but somehow the story just isn't all that captivating like "Last of the Mohicans" or the original "Conan the Barbarian," although it's serviceable. Some complain about the extreme violence but it's not necessarily a case of violence for the sake of violence as there are dramatic valleys to contrast the violent highs. Depth is hinted at, it just needed more. Meanwhile the overkill action sequences needed reigned in. The film runs 1 hour, 39 minutes. GRADE: C
Filipe Manuel Neto wrote:
**A historian should not watch this film without a medical team nearby.** My problem with films set in the past, or about historical facts, is that my academic background in History prevents me from lightly accepting everything that the filmmakers want to make me swallow. That's why I was so harsh in the reviews I wrote about some films here, and everything indicates that, to major sadness of my heart, I will continue to have this problem. Okay, cinema must have its creative freedom, and it is also necessary to fill information gaps (we don't know everything about the past), but even creative freedom must recognize logical limits. Today, we know without a doubt that Scandinavian navigators – who have been called “Vikings” – were the first Europeans to arrive in North America. What we still don't know is whether they were aware of it! Could they have maintained contact with Native American people in the region where they landed? Personally, it seems clear to me. Were there conflicts? I don't know, archeology might discover more about this. Is it legitimate to say that the Vikings discovered America? Yes, if we find out that they knew they had arrived at another continent. Until then, no: not even Columbus had that awareness. The film takes this first contact between Amerindians and Europeans and creates a story of blood and violence: on the one hand, the Amerindians are portrayed as simple, friendly peasants who live in harmony with nature and who have their land invaded, and the Nordics are bloodthirsty savages who kill for pleasure. Furthermore, the script uses the historical fact to draw a parallel with the future European colonization of America in which, supposedly, Europeans return to invade and massacre “inferior” peoples for the pleasure of seeing blood flow. These are parallels that I even understand, given the modern need to demonize any European colonization enterprise. Current society, especially in the Americas, feels the urgency to condemn the colonial past of the Old World, forgetting that it is a daughter of that same world and that it is not so different from what it was in the past, in vices and virtues. These kinds of parallels and revisionist needs reveal a lot about the way we see the past, and are enemies of historical truthfulness. In short, this is what makes this film a piece of garbage that I don't recommend to anyone, and to these problems are added the usual untruths and factual errors about Vikings, from the damn horned helmet that everyone should already know is pure fiction to the indistinct use of any apparently medieval sword, apparently Arab horses and many iron armors, made with technology that would only appear four hundred years later. I'm not the best person to talk about indigenous people, but I believe that experts in the culture and traces of these people may have some heart problems after seeing this film. Is there anything good in this movie? Well, yes… the film was very well filmed and makes good use of the landscapes and filming locations. For action fans, the film has good fight scenes, well choreographed and quite creative (sometimes even too much). The soundtrack isn't bad, it does its job flawlessly. Russel Means was pretty decent in his role, but he's literally the only member of the cast to deserve any kind of spotlight, and I can't even consider him doing a remarkable job.

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