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Pathfinder (Unrated Edition)

Karl Urban , Clancy Brown , Marcus Nispel    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Gerald Parker TOP 500 REVIEWER
Others have described this movie well enough already. My comment to add would be how visually rich, but too congested, this film is. The images are dense, so much so that it is hard for the eyes to find what is most pertinent in the film's frames as they pass. The prevailing black and white and sepia tones, with little other colour in evidence, contrast dark and clotted, do not help to clarify the images. There is a lot of "action" in all of this, and because of this visual congestion (or indigestion!) it is hard for the eyes to follow.

The plot pits wicked European males, this time the Vikings, against North America's "noble savages". It does make some sense, but the mix of legendary evocation with historical fantasy is not totally convincing. The acting is passable.

Enjoy this motion picture for what it has to offer, without being too hard on it. It is exciting and however dense things become, visually and narratively, the basic premises and story flow are clear enough for all of that.

NOTA BENE (late July 2013).

Recently I have acquired a DVD equipment which, among other improvements over my earlier player, is capable of playing DVDs in the P.A.L. (European) format. To celebrate that, I ordered several films that I long have wanted to obtain, but are available, at least for now, only in editions of DVD-P.A.L. One of them is "Ofela' = Pathfinder" (Kinowelt 500392), the original 1987 Scandanavian film on which the North American adaptation, made twenty years later in 2007, is based. It definitely was worth searching out. Some comments, as well as a modification in my review's title, are now in order!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the movie! Nov. 16 2013
By Teresa
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I had seen Pathfinder several years ago and thought it was very good. I wanted to see it again so I bought it. I was elated that it was a good as I remembered it. Glad I bought it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  214 reviews
50 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise but what they end up doing with it is rather disappointing Aug. 16 2007
By Lawrance M. Bernabo - Published on Amazon.com
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.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD Pathfinder Sept. 18 2011
By Les - Published on Amazon.com
Recently I saw this Movie on TV!! I'm surprised at the negative reviews here, truly I am! When you give a negative review on the basis of it "not being historically acurate", this is really a little ridiculous ! I think I have _yet_ to see an American movie that I can actually _praise_ for it's Historical accuracy, but that doesn't stop me from watching them, and yet most of the reviewers here seem tumble over themselves in regard to this movie. Perhaps historical accuracy would make boring movies ?? Still I love History. I give it 5 stars for being different to the run of the mill action movie, well played, visually very engaging, and unusual also I had a feeling of having enjoyed watching something really different for a change !

I have to agree with another writer here, that the thought also crossed my mind about Vikings falling for *thin ice* and also them not knowing anything about *avalanches*, that really was a bit silly. But other than that - really entertaining. I've seen hundreds if not thousands of films in my life, but I think this movie "Pathfinder" will linger in my mind for a while yet, so from me, a "well done!" to the makers, and the cast for bringing forth an entertaining and original movie, wide from the run of the mill !! I'd love to see these same people tackle an Icelandic, Norwegian or Swedish Saga with the same gusto. If Historically accurate were entered more into the picture, I'm sure it would run well indeed. Those interested might like a read in a book by Snorri Sturluson ? A scholar on the subject.
44 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You are the last of your kind in this cursed land Feb. 16 2008
By Gunner - Published on Amazon.com
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
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars uber violent action film Oct. 24 2007
By Roland E. Zwick - Published on Amazon.com
With scenes lifted straight out of "The Last of the Mohicans" and "Alexander Nevsky," "Pathfinder" is little more than a 107-minute-long exercise in nonstop gore and bloodletting.

Located in a sepia-toned forest that looks like a leftover set from the "Lord of the Rings" movies, "Pathfinder" chronicles the ongoing battle between a tribe of peace-loving Native Americans and a bunch of blood-thirsty Vikings who invade their land. As the movie opens, an Indian woman stumbles across a frightened little boy, the sole survivor seemingly of a Viking raiding party. She takes him to her tribe where he is brought up as one of their own. Then, after the boy has grown to full manhood, a new group of Viking warriors lands on shore to once again rape, ravish and pillage the native population ad infinitum and ad nauseam. The young man now gets to defend his adoptive people against his native one.

Once we get beyond the corny, self-reverential dialogue and all the pantheistic mumbo-jumbo common to movies of this type, we're pretty much left with just the violence in the film, which is so constant and so over-the-top that it becomes utterly ludicrous after awhile. The mud-soaked, grungy look so painstakingly established by the costume and makeup departments is almost completely undermined by the fact that all of these 9th Century savages have the most amazingly glittery, perfectly aligned teeth this side of a Crest Whitestrips ad.

Despite this rather amusing orthodontic anomaly, I'm afraid your enjoyment of "Pathfinder" will depend largely on just how many decapitations and impalings you're willing to put up with in a two-hour period.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Path to an "ok" action fantasy flick.. Aug. 1 2007
By Woopak - Published on Amazon.com
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  so I'll be generous)
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