Pathfinder

"Weak"

Pathfinder Review


The idea that Vikings arrived in America long before Christopher Columbus is a fascinating one. It's easy to envision these bearded warriors, hunkered down in their longboats, stumbling sick and exhausted onto North American shores after a harrowing journey across the wild Atlantic. That's at least what I see. The makers of Pathfinder see something else entirely. The Vikings who wash ashore here are giant-sized brutes and they come complete with veritable armies and practically a herd of horses. It's like they rowed over from Jersey on cruise ships.

And forget every image of Vikings you've ever seen, these guys are less Scandinavian herdsman and more post-Apocalypse titans. Remember Humungous from The Road Warrior ("The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla!")? Throw a few bear skins on that guy and give him a helmet made of twelve ram's horns and he could play every one of the Viking raiders in Pathfinder. I half expected MasterBlaster to come surging out of the primitive landscape.

The other thing you'll want to forget when viewing Pathfinder is that most films have a plot. Pathfinder doesn't. It's just a choppy blend of every action film trope ever written. I suppose that kind of makes it archetypal -- it's not one thing; it's everything. But the picture's storyline is held together so flimsily that when you actually get an idea of what's going on, you immediately realize it's incredibly stupid.

Here's what happens: A Viking boy (who grows up to become Karl Urban) is the sole survivor of a raiding party gone awry, he's raised as Ghost by the native peoples his fellow Norsemen have been terrorizing. Fifteen years later, when the Vikings come back for more pillaging, Ghost is their last and best defense against the seemingly unstoppable "dragon men" (so named because of their impenetrable armor). We've got the requisite Dances with Wolves-styled elements and the obligatory love interest played by Moon Goodblood (if anyone should be in a Native Americans vs. Vikings movie, it's someone with the name Moon Goodbloood) but mostly Pathfinder is about slo-mo carnage and widescreen shots of snowy landscapes.

Director Marcus Nispel (rising from the music video hordes) can't pull a performance out of anyone in his cast. Urban is as clunky as ever, staring into nothing to signify deep thoughts and the actual pathfinder, played by Russell Means, is utterly unconvincing, especially when he's slaying a cave bear without breaking a sweat. I suppose most of the blame for this colossal mess belongs to scripter Laeta Kalogridis (Alexander). Not only is Pathfinder saddled with cheesy Braveheart-riffs ("Run and you may live, fight and you will...") but everyone also speaks in a grating anachronistic style.

The one highlight of the film (unless you consider gory decapitations a highlight) is Daniel Pearl's stark cinematography. Pearl's another music video alumnus and there are certainly many moments when Pathfinder devolves into a blurry quick-cut mess, but most of the time the film looks stunning. Pearl dabs the picture in blues and grays and whites and there's something dreamlike, otherworldly, about the proceedings. In combination with art director Geoff Wallace and production designer Greg Blair, Pearl creates a primordial landscape of fetid, dark swamps filled with skulls and towering Wagnerian mountain peaks. This is the closest anyone's come to capturing the work of illustrator Frank Frazetta on screen.

Glossy cinematography and design aside, Pathfinder is a jumbled, hysterical muddle. The characters are not underdeveloped, they're nonexistent, the plot has so many holes you could drive an entire Panzer division through it and the acting plain stinks. Like a fever dream, Pathfinder is at times hallucinatory but ultimately, utterly forgettable.

This path looks really wet.



Pathfinder

Facts and Figures

Run time: 99 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th April 2007

Box Office USA: $10.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $30.8M

Budget: $20M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Dune Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Phoenix Pictures, Major Studio Partners

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 11%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 68

IMDB: 5.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Ghost, as Starfire, as Pathfinder, as Gunnar, as Blackwing, as Wind In Tree, Ralf Möller as Ulfar, as Indian Mother, Kevin Loring as Jester, Wayne Charles Baker as Indian Father, Nicole Muñoz as Little Sister, Burkely Duffield as Ghost, 12 Years Old

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Advertisement
Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.