Director: Marcus Nispel
Stars: Karl Urban
HHL’s Arbitrary and Often Unfair Rating: 2/5
My first reaction was that it was Dances with Wolves crossed with Die Hard. Take Dances with Wolves and extract any vestige of a plotline, decent writing or thoughtful filmmaking. Add in some pointless gore and that pretty much sums up the movie.
The movie portrayed the white men as the evil aggressors and Native Americans as the victims. The Vikings start massacring the Native Americans, village by village. It isn’t progressive in modern-day Hollywood when you factor in the white boy lead and the marginalising of Native American culture. Furthermore the movie was attacking the “other white guys”, not the European invaders who were actually successful in their invasion (yes, the ones whose descendants talk about America being a Christian nation, believe in Manifest Destiny and claim that racism doesn’t exist anymore).
Without looking at the values inherent in the film, the fight scenes were good with interesting shots and angles. The constant lowlight through the movie was suitable for the atmosphere and in keeping with the graphic novel origins of the film.
My main problem with the film was that main character didn’t need to be a white boy. The Native American allies in the film are portrayed as bumbling incompetents next to the fighting prowess of Ghost (Urban). Wouldn’t it be great if the film had a Native American fighting the invasion, or better yet a group of Native Americans, working together in harmony? Sadly enough, mainstream America wouldn’t show up to watch that, because the sword-swinger just has to be white. Also, while the movie was nominally about the Native Americans, Hollywood managed to fit in as little of their actual culture as possible.
Despite my critiquing I honestly like action movies, I satisfy my love for accurate history and interesting plotlines by reading. Sometimes I just like to watch shit getting blown up while I turn off my brain. Occasionally I can even stomach the obligatory sex scene and helpless pornalicious women (yes The Pathfinder did have the sex scene and the female in need of rescue) without swearing at the television. Yet, from a feminist perspective, The Pathfinder was slightly better than the norm for action films. The love interest helped fight the invaders effectively, while being a central character of the film in her own right.
Overall a typical action film translated from a graphic novel. It featured lots of fighting against the odds with a happy ending. Despite gallons of fake blood it was woefully shallow.