Written by El Articulo Definido
The Unrated Pathfinder DVD came out last week, and I've had a chance to give it a once over. At first I thought it was an unfortunate happenstance that this film came out at roughly the same time as 300. Both are based on comic books published by Dark Horse, and both have an extremely stylized vision. Unfortunately Pathfinder's vision is like a blind man in the dark.
For something that I expected to be mildly entertaining, I was fighting the urge to turn it off. The tale in itself should have been one to hold my interest as my own heritage includes both Vikings (my family tree on my Father's side can be traced back to Leif Ericson) as well as Native Americans, being 1/16 Blackfoot on my mother's side. A tale of Viking conquest in the New World should have been right up my alley, but it was not.
The meat of the story is that a Native American woman finds a Scandinavian boy alone and scared on an abandoned Viking warship. She takes this boy in and raises him as her own child. We flash-forward to the boy as a young man, still not fully accepted by his tribe. Then, a second wave of Vikings invades and a battle ensues.
Unfortunately, the battle is rather uninteresting. Not to mention the fact that the Vikings are given subtitles while the natives speak English in a story that precedes the English arriving in the New World. Why not subtitle everyone, or perhaps subtitle no one? In this it begins its sloppiness. Add in CG blood that is the only real color in the film and it's not even interesting to look at. The film has a blue-grey color palette, but doesn't work with fake blood. The blood should match the rest of the style and it does not.
Clancy Brown gives a decent performance, but that's about all this film has to offer. The action is quick and looks choreographed, and most of the performances are bland. And so, not having seen the theatrical cut, it is tough to say what might make it unrated. And if this is edgier, I now understand why there was such a minor media push for this film theatrically … it just never gets to where it needs to be. The costumes are great, the color palette looks interesting, but these are all distractions from the fact that the film has so little going for it in terms of story and filmmaking. With a tale such as this, I would like to see the action, but the camera moves around it all so quickly that much of it is a stylized blur.