Pathfinder (2007) - Review

Pathfinder started out life as a beautiful graphic novel from Dark Horse. (You can see a preview of it here) Today, however, it made the transition to feature film, hitting screens across the country.

Pathfinder is an interesting film for a variety of reasons. The biggest star in the film is Clancy Brown (“Highlander”, “Lost”), who plays the leader of the Viking invaders. He never speaks a word of English in the film…in fact, there is very little English spoken in the film…or very little speaking at all. The lead in the film is Karl Urban who has had roles in Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Riddick, and Doom – and I can’t honestly say I remember him from any of them. The majority of the rest of the cast are Native American actors, and a few heavily clad Vikings who’s faces you can’t see…

The story of the film revolves around the legend of a viking boy who was raised by Native Americans 600 years before Columbus ever stepped foot on this side of the world. 15 years after he is found, more Vikings return, and they intend to wipe the planet of these “savages” so they can inhabit the land themselves. After they slaughter his family, the young Viking boy (named “Ghost”) is obviously upset…and decides to seek revenge against the Viking invaders.

The film tries very hard to emulate the style of the graphic novel, in the tradition of Sin City and 300…and it does a pretty good job of pulling that off. There are some stunning visuals in the film…it is also a very violent and bloody film (a fact that I am sure will get it seveal comparisions to 300 as well)…that handles that bloodshed in a much less stylized way than the other two previously mentioned films did.

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As I said before, the movie is very light on dialogue, with very little unnecessary words being spoken. In some cases that can be an interesting thing, and it probably worked out for the best in this film…but at 1 hour and 28 minutes, this thing felt like it dragged a bit, and I think some better and more frequent dialogue could have helped develope the characters a bit better, and give us more of an investment in them.

For all of the cool visual stuff that did work, there was quite a bit about the film that didn’t work at all. One of those thing, I’m sorry to say, was Karl Urban. I don’t think it was even his fault really…whoever decided to give him that hair and scruffy look really made a mistake. He looked like he belong in a 90s grunge band more than in the forests of the past. Starfire, the obligatory love interest in the film, came off as far too modern to me as well. She was headstrong, independent, and able to handle herself in a fight…all of which are good things…but when there is no further dept given to the character she feels like every other Princess Lea, Sarah Conner, (insert tough girl here) that you’ve ever seen.

I would not say this is a BAD film, but I also wouldn’t recommend that you run out and see it. It’s ok…maybe worth a rental one night, but the film just didn’t move me in any particular way, or leave me feeling like I’d seen something special. I think, if I were you, instead of dropping ten bucks on a ticket to see this thing, I’d just head down to the local comic store and grab the Pathfinder TPB.

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