Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Songs in the Key of Leif

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Pathfinder (2006) - following up a slow, meditative exploration of the meeting between Europeans and Native Americans with a stupid action movie featuring Vikings v. Indians.

It starts with a Viking raid on North American shores - a Viking boy refuses to kill a captive and he is cast out. He grows up to be Karl Urban, living with an Indian tribe, but always watching for the Vikings return. And return they do. After many heroic acts, horrific slaughters, and feats of derring-do, our hero is captured and forced to lead the Vikings to the Indian refuge. But now they are on his territory...

This movie is based on a Norwegian film Pathfinder, a beautiful movie filmed in Sammi, the language of Lapland. It has roughly the same plot, although it is one tribe v. other tribe, not Vikings and Indians. It is beautiful and memorable, and so nothing like the 2006 version.

But, given that it is a stupid action film, it's pretty good. It has a nice look, with a lot of misty, desaturated landscapes. It reminded me a lot of Centurion, which is interesting, because those Roman v. Pict movies were what inspired me to start watching these Native American movies. That was another action movie made with a modest budget that was both better looking and more fun than you might expect.

That is, we thought this was a lot of fun. Yes, it's stupid, and we all know that Vikings didn't have horns on their helmets. A lot of it is by the numbers. But it looks good, and it's exciting, and Urban's Indian love-interest is cute and played by awesomely named Moon Bloodgood. (Additional awesomeness: That's her real name, and she's not of Native American descent - her mother is Korean and father is part Dutch. His name was spelled Bloetgoet.) OK, it's no New World. But we liked it.

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