Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Karl Urban, Clancy Brown, Moon Bloodgood, Russell Means, Jay Tavare
Director: Marcus Nispel
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
The heroic story of a young Norse man raised by Native American Indians who wages a personal war against the Vikings that barbarically raided his tribe.
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Under appreciated, misunderstood film
Ratspit | California, United States | 07/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The movie going audience these days is not only sometimes fickle, but it is also spoiled. My wife and I saw pathfinder, and after some of the terrible criticizing reviews I heard I was bracing for a possibly terrible film. How surprised I was! Pathfinder was a fine film. If you grew up in the 1970's and 80's and like gritty films with hard action, and minimalist approaches, this pure and simple story of survival will probably be a breath of fresh air for you (it was for me) and a chance to take a break away from many of today's bloated, special effects laden blockbusters that are fine for what they are but really don't deliver much in the way of gritty harsh action. Is it perfect? No. But it's a grim story that is meaningful, entertaining, and worth seeing.
The story is not clichéd and predictable in any more of a way than anything else is these days. It's simple, decent, and gets the job done of being entertaining. Sometimes I was surprised, sometimes not, but always entertained. My stomach just turns at the people who hate this film but go on to defend these bloated Hollywood CGI spectacles. The acting is fine, even superb in some places (Carl Urban did a fine job with what he had to work with and shows he is very capable). Visuals are great and sometimes breathtaking, filming style and editing is fine (minimalist, nothing too fancy, does not have a zoom or tilt addicted camera operator and does not look like an MTV video), dialog could have used some work perhaps, but dialog isn't the focus of this SURVIVAL film and it works well enough. The Vikings lines are subtitled, and the Native Americans just speak a simple English. Was this the best choice? Probably, though it may not be satisfying for some. Otherwise the whole film would have been subtitled and I think the director was smart enough to realize that this film was not offering that level of entertainment. This is not trying to be Apocalypto. The main couple has a decent enough chemistry more suited to the times portrayed and the violence they are in the middle of suffering then some of today's recent bloated blockbusters.
My one complain is that there is certainly a level of historical inaccuracy going on here, and the Vikings take the brunt of it. But the film is not supposed to be a work of fact and somebody has to be the villains. As far as villains go however, they certainly are some mean dudes in this film! All in all, everything that happened, the acting, the editing, the pacing, everything was understandable and done well and made this into an exciting film of a story of pure survival with some extra elements thrown in for good measure. If you're a nit picker, stay away from this film. If not, and the subject matter appeals to you, give it a try. I'm glad I did, and I'm looking forward to buying this on DVD."
You are the last of your kind in this cursed land
Gunner | Bethlehem,Georgia | 02/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Pathfinder DVD
The Pathfinder is about a Norse/Viking boy around twelve years old who was abandoned or shipped wrecked on the coast of (I'm guessing Canada) where an young Indian woman finds him and adopts him into the tribe. He, of course, is not accepted by the tribe and has to fight to obtain recognition.
Without giving too much, away this move is full of action. Combining elements of Conan the Barbarian - Collector's Edition,Beowulf (Unrated Director's Cut), ]]Rambo First Blood Part II, [[ASIN:B00005JPLW 300 (Two-Disc Special Edition), and Jeremiah Johnson. Whew, a good movie for action movie fans.
Highly recommended for fans of for action movies, Conan the Barbarian, Beowulf, Rambo First Blood Part II, the 300, and Jeremiah Johnson.
Gunner February, 2008
Interesting premise but what they end up doing with it is ra
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 08/16/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The historical question is not whether the Vikings came to North America but rather how far South they came once they made it to Vinland (a Norse settlement has been found on the island of Newfoundland). There must have been interactions between the Norsemen and the "skrælingar" (Native Americans), and while there is no evidence that the two races engaged in a violent confrontation it does make a neat idea for a movie, which is why we have the film "Pathfinder: The Legend of the Ghost Warrior." Ghost is a young boy who is left behind after a previous Vikings raid and who grows up eighteen years later to be played by Karl Urban (Eomer in The Lord of the Rings" but also Julius Caesar on "Xena Warrior Princess"). When another Viking raiding party led by Gunnar (Clancy Brown) attacks his village, Ghost leads the fight against the invaders, hoping not only to save his adopted people but also win the heart of Starfire (Moon Bloodgood).
Basically what he have here is "Vikings and Indians" instead of "Cowboys and Indians." Couching the film in such terms, of course, is easily understood but not politically correct. But if you think about the latter in contemporary sports terms, the idea of the Minnesota Vikings taking on the Cleveland Indians is certainly in the ballpark for a key dynamic of this film, which features armored warriors against people armed with essentially sticks and stones. The idea of a war being waged in the New World a thousand years ago is pretty compelling: the concept trailer they shot to get the film produced makes that case quite nicely up to the point when the native warrior attacks the hulking Norseman and you see it is the Viking who has the ax and the lad in the buckskin is fighting with a sword.
The genesis for this 2007 film is the 1987 Norwegian film "Veiviseren" ("Pathfinder"), which is based on a Sami legend. The first full-length film in Sami, that movie was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. This version, written by Laeta Kalogridis and directed by Marcus Nispel, takes the basic story idea of a warrior leading the Sami to victory against a horde of invading Chudes and transplants it from Finnmark to the New World. The Sami become the nameless Native American people rather than the Beothuk people of Newfoundland and the Chudes are transformed into Vikings.
My major problem with this film, quite frankly, is that the hero of this movie is white and the subtext is that if it were not for the kindhearted son of a Viking who was raised by Native Americans the Vikings who come back in Act II of this film would have killed ever native inhabitant of the continent. Well, okay, that would not have happened unless the Vikings infected the local population with a disease that their immune systems could not handle, but you get the idea. At least this movie allows the title character, played by Russell Means, to come up with the obvious strategy that a people armed with Stone Age weapons fighting on their own turf would use against three dragonships worth of Viking warriors, because that is what I really wanted this film to be about.
"Pathfinder" never tries to pass itself off as history, which is a legitimate approach, but a bit more realism would not have hurt. The film was shot in British Columbia, which explains how they get from the ocean shore to snow capped mountains in a relatively short period of time, a direction dictated not by geography but because that is what happened in "Veiviseren." What they should have done was take the premise of a people fighting back against armored invaders in general without being tied to the specifics of the earlier film. Setting up the Vikings to be defeated on terrain and in weather more akin to the land from which they came ends up backfiring.
Whenever possible the film relies on images more than dialogue, although they do not end up going the "Quest for Fire" route. The color palette in the film favors the Vikings for most of the film, tending towards blue, black, white, and silver stressing night, cold, and metal. Eventually these colors overwhelm the film and works against the basic contrast of the Vikings warriors in the lush green forests that I found compelling. The Norsemen speak Icelandic, which is apparently close to the language of the Vikings, leaving English to be the language of Ghost and his tribe.
I ended up rounding down on this film because in the final act of the film the Vikings enter the realm of being too stupid to live. There is a scene that involves going around a frozen lake. Gunnar sees this approach as being an attack on the courage of him and his men, insisting on walking across the ice. At this point I turned to my daughter and said, "Gee, if only they came from a land of ice and snow, and knew something about when not to cross a frozen lake." Besides, I like it when the good guys win a lot more than when the bad guys lose."
Path to an "ok" action fantasy flick..
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 08/02/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Pathfinder (Legend of the Ghost warrior) is a film that I have to say would have to be an acquired taste. Loosely based on the Graphic novel published by Dark Hose comics, upon its production, it was intended to be a "straight to DVD" feature. However, with the success of Frank Miller's "300"(another comic based epic), the studio decided to capitalize and gave it a shot in theaters. "Pathfinder" didn't enjoy the success of "300" though.
The movie's timeline is set a few years before Columbus, somewhere in early North America. Our tale begins when a 10-year old Norwegian boy is found by a Native-American woman. Abandoned by his Viking brethren because of his refusal to slay a mother & child, the boy is taken in by the woman's tribe. Raised in the ways of the tribe, the boy oftentimes is still regarded as an outcast. Fifteen years have passed, the boy's Viking brethren (called "Dragon people" by the natives) has resurfaced to once again "pillage and plunder", in their path is the village he spent most of his childhood. The boy, now in his prime, must exact vengeance upon his former sires for his abandoment and to protect the life he has grown to cherish. Karl Urban( DOOM)plays the lead role and the beautiful Moon Bloodgood (Eight Below) plays his love interest. Clancy Brown plays the leader of the Vikings.
PATHFINDER is a hard film to judge. There are a lot of plot holes and inconsistencies, much of the film's main premise may depend on the viewer's imagination and interpretation(I did consider it a fantasy film). I suppose it would be easier to put one and two together if you managed to have read the Dark Horse comic, but I believe a movie should be able to stand on its own for the benefit of viewers who haven't seen the comic version. Details and motivation are put to the back burner here, as the supposed details of the so-mentioned "prophecy" are a bit blurry (my personal take is that the tribe prophecised a pale skinned warrior, much like the white horse), the Viking's motivation for the massacre (my take is that the movie depends on the "Berserker" reputation of the Northsmen--ok, I'll buy that.) and exactly how the lead character (Karl Urban) learned how to use a broadsword with nobody to teach him(perhaps because of his natural "Viking blood", a bit far-fetched, don't you think? or maybe he learned from childhood--hmm, a child wielding a heavy sword?). The Indian tribe are often mentioned as savages with NO knowledge of the workings of the sword that contradicts the idea that one who grew up among the Indians can learn the use of a such a blade. It was also mentioned that the Northsmen have no knowledge of the tribes' "spring season" and snowy terrain, how could that be, when they know how to use sleds? That's the movie's main weakness: it contradicts itself at times.
Now for the action; while watching the 1st-2nd acts of "Pathfinder", the film "APOCALYPTO" came to mind, especially during the chase sequences. When I saw the scene with the frozen lake, Bruckheimer's "King Arthur" came to mind. Not to say that the director (Marcus Nispel) is stealing gimmicks, it's just that it shows that the director likes action movies. Even the Vikings have equal parts "CONAN" mixed with "PREDATOR" look. The characters are flat and the acting is a bit bland. There is ABSOLUTELY no sense of "society" between the warring sides. The movie definitely needed more depth to allow people to have a sense of community so that viewer can have an investment with the tribes' fate.
To its credit, the costumes are decent and set designs are quite well done. Put realism and spirit in the back of your mind, and it seems to be a decent "straight-forward" action popcorn flick. There is a lot of "hacking & slashing" with the usual bloody "splatterfest" that I'm quite certain people who like these types of films and not expecting much may find it diverting.
PICTURE/AUDIO: 2.35 Anamorphic widescreen enhanced. The PQ is very nice and free of dirt and grain. Colors are a bit bland but it looked intentional to create the atmosphere. The transfer is sharp with solid black levels. 5.1 Dolby/5.1 DTS English track is very powerful. The 5 channels of sound is very crisp.
EXTRAS: 7 DELETED SCENES--Director's COMMENTARY--7 shorts about the film's production.
Now the keeper: TIE-IN with the graphic novel version of PATHFINDER. Needless to say, the comic version is a lot stronger than the film.
PATHFINDER is a watchable(if passable), brainless action movie. Equal parts "TARZAN" AND equal parts "CONAN". I really wanted to like it but in the end, the empty plot just made me feel that it would have made more sense as a "direct to DVD" popcorn snooze, rather than having the studio pretending it was a "high-end" release. It wasn't laughingly bad, but people will have to come in with the right expectations.
RENT IT! (a weak 3 stars, a bit better than 2 ½ so I'll be generous)