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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

The New World (2005)


It’s basically Pocahontas minus the animation, cheesy love songs, and furry talking animals.

Set in 1607 at the founding of the Jamestown Settlement, Terrence Malick’s epic adventure chronicles the extraordinary actions of explorer John Smith (Colin Farrell) and Native American princess Pocahontas (Q’Orianka Kilcher). As English settlers and Native Americans clash, Smith and Pocahontas find their worlds colliding and their hearts entwined, but ancestral loyalty may tear them apart. Christian Bale and Christopher Plummer co-star.

When it comes to being secretive, Terrence Malick, is the master at it. There is probably only about 6 pictures of this guy actually in film, and he has had only one public appearance his whole life. But with whatever he’s doing, it’s working, cause he still knows how to make great films.

First of all, with all of Malick’s films, every single shot is just beauty. I mean the style of Malick is here: following a character from the rear as the action is going, frequent camera cuts, and overall just beautiful images. I think this film, visually wise is so much better than his war great, The Thin Red Line, and mostly because of the setting its in. Its placed in the early 17th Century, basically in this unknown land, where you can see everything a mile away, and most scenes are just technically brilliant, and add a lot of emotion to the natural theme of the film itself.

I enjoyed the screenplay cause it takes away all those cliche that people have about the story of Pocahontas. We always kind of got this feeling that the English were total savages when they came on their land, and acted like they ran ish, when they didn’t, and to be brutally honest the Natives weren’t any better. We see how these two totally different types of lifestyles can’t get along, and actually end up in some great war scenes. It’s more than just a corny love story, which the trailer has you thinking, it’s also about the struggle between these two opposing forces, and the connection they can’t make.

The only problem that Malick can’t seem to get away from, is that this film’s narration is over-bearing at points. There are scenes that are just astonishing to look at, the problem is that, its just a scene like that, and somebody narrating gibberish. Honestly, the narration of this film kind of had nothing to do with the film itself. I mean it was boring at some points, although the visuals did hold my eyes, but times I was starting to snooze off. The film begins mostly being about the romance between Smith and Pocahontas, while mostly focusing on Smith, but when Smith suddenly goes to Canada, it becomes all about her. And then  they switch the romance over to Christian Bale, and the poor guy is never given the light of day in this film, and never able to show his true talents.

Colin Farrell is great here as John Smith, even though not even speaking for the first 20 minutes he’s on-screen. He has this great sense of smart about his character that has us cheer him on, it’s just kind of a pity, that we never really see him being all that great other than, a bangin’ lover. The film has it’s best performance come from, Q’Orianka Kilcher, who is surprisingly perfect in this role. She starts out as the playful, but smart Pocahontas, who easily falls in love with this dude, but is taken into this new world, where she has to make a transition of how she acts, talks, and feels. She does almost every scene to the best of her ability, and shows off great talent for the future.

Consensus: The New World’s narrative gets very jumbled, as well as not quite as entertaining, but Malick’s inspired direction, including beautifully astonishing visuals, and good performances, make this film worth the while.

8/10=Matinee!!!

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5 responses to “The New World (2005)

  1. Frank Mengarelli May 11, 2010 at 2:46 am

    His films are like this moving painting – he’s got to be the most visually appealing director ever. I think it’s watching life unfold in front of you. He’s wonderful. Good post Sir!

  2. mill1924 May 12, 2010 at 12:16 am

    I was expecting this movie to be total shit, yet I keep seeing on list after list… I might have to check it out.

  3. Marshall May 12, 2010 at 2:01 am

    This comes on IFC all the time — so worth the watch?

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