The New World Reviews
Terence Malick is a very acquired taste, but is capable of providing some rewarding stuff. One has to be in the right mood to enjoy his stuff, but if you can get into that groove, then the experience is quite something. This take on the Pocahontas story, while taking liberties and guilty of some inaccuracies, does far better justice than the 90s raping perpetrated by Disney. For one, this is just better shot, not (really as, if at all) whitewashed, and just a better production all around. Oddly enough, Christian Bale is involved with both films.
Despite some license with history/story, and a purposeful desire to focus on the romance, this is a thoughtful, gorgeous poem about culture, nature, and life. As is common with Malick's work, the cinematography and visuals are absolutely stunning. This sucker is just wonderful to stare at. What misgivings the story has are made up with more faithful attempts to accurately depict cultures, sets, locations, and costumes. The art direction and set design, like the camera work, are dynamite.
The real star of the show is nature. The humans do a good job too, but they are merely supporting players, even the characters who are supposed to be the leads. This is art, so I'm sure most people won't like this. It wouldn't be what they're expecting. Much like 2001, Solaris, and other great works of art, this film is long, slow paced, and features minimal dialogue. I appreciate the subtlety and not having everything handed to me. What's odd though is that while there's not much dialogue, there's a lot of voice overs to fill in the gaps. Some don't like this (as I've read), but it didn't bug me too much. One thing I really appreciated is how not all of the scenes with Native Americans speaking are subtitled. I liked that. It makes the viewer pay attention and pulls them into feeling just like the colonists in terms of having to jump a communication hurdle.
I wanted to like this more, but I found it hard to watch. For the reasons I opened this review with, it's not so much to the fault of the film. I think you should give this a chance, if only to stare and gorgeous images and listen to beautiful music while cultures clash in an artistically rendered historical romance.
And Farrell and Bale are fantastic. As always. Don't even have to question that.
Yet, I maintain that I love Malick films. And if you were "bored" by it or thought it slow (or for any Malick film) , then you simply don't have an appreciation for arty films. No shame in that, just don't whine and complain when you don't understand it and go back to your video games.
A problem I had with it - it draggggggged. Perhaps we needed all those long dragged-out scenes to understand their feelings, but a shorter movie would have been better.
I can see the line of divide between people who are either going to hate this or love it, there seems to be no middle ground.
Throughout the film, namely the opening scene, the combination of music, sound effects and visuals, blend together seamlessly to paint an incredibly beautiful picture. The way the scenes move from one to the next and most of the dialogue being voice over, spoken almost in a whisper with a somber tone, gives the film a dreamlike (almost hallucinatory) quality and pace, which is no doubt what lulled most viewers to sleep. I can't defend the films length, as you do feel every minute, it strolls along but i was one of those few people who did enjoy every moment. I don't think poeple who didn't like this are "stupid" or "didn't get it", it's just different from 99.9% of films out there and clearly not made for everyone (in particular the more mainstream audiences as it's not typically "Hollywoodized").
In my opinion all actor's performances are impressive and sincere, as each fully become their characters. Chemistry is good between all and no one steals the spot light fom another. This film just goes to show that dialogue isn't everything and is not what creates a brilliant performance. I was amazed at how much of the story and emotion was portrayed in silence, by body language, an expression, a look or a touch. The relationship between Pocahontas (Kilcher) and Smith (Farrell) is beautiful to watch develop, her innocence and spiritual nature seem to counter his physicality and wild personality, as they meet each other with curiosity and wonder, as if they are both meeting another human being for the first time. Their deep emotions (love and sorrow to name a few) echo through the entire film with the actor's strong performances, so much so that when we meet Rolfe (Bale) later in the film we feel somewhat resentful at his advances towards Pocahontas, as our hearts still lie with her and Smith, despite the fact they are both honorable men.
I felt the authenticity of the Indian villages, clothes, rituals, language and behaviour were superior to any adaption of this story I've ever seen. As is the age gap between Smith and Pocahontas, Kilcher being only 14 at the time and Farrell 29. Malick also shows (fairly) the barbaric and peaceful sides of both tribes (Indians and English) unlike anything I have seen before. Definately the most beautiful, poetic and soulful version of this story I have ever seen. It's clear that Malick loved making this, he made it more for himself I think and despite it's criticism I'm glad he did ♥
"They are gentle, loving, faithful, lacking in all guile and trickery. The words denoting lying, deceit, greed, envy, slander, and forgiveness have never been heard. They have no jealousy, no sense of possesion. Real, what I thought a dream."
I would have enjoyed a deeper look into the Native American culture (a personal fascination), but as this was the story of Pocahontas, the love story was obviously the main reason for this film and of course the Expring.
An Epic, which I wouldn?t want to repeat watching, but was worth watching the once.
A striking elegy, a visual feast.
This is a good story and it is a beautiful piece of art. However, it is one hell of a waste of time!!! In reality, it bored the ever loving shit out of me. The only reason I watched this is because I'm a huge fan of Christian Bale, and he didn't even appear in the movie till it was 3/4 finished (and at a length of 2:10, that's looooooooong).
A very accurate tale of Pocahontas, but utterly boring. The director spends so much time trying to envelope you into the story that you can't wait to be as far from it as possible. And Colin Farrel's dialogue was nothing short of mumbling... I missed about 50% of what he said during this movie.
The beautiful background and the A list actors can't mask this piece of crap. I'm still yawning! I need red bull NOW!
Christian Bale, Q'orianka Kilcher and Colin Farrell are the soul of the movie (everyone is incredible... not a surprise with Bale, but wow even Colin Farrell seems to become John Smith).
Malick and Lubezki took full advantage of everything around them to recreate colonial Virginia to perfection. They used only natural light, and expressionist shots of nature in movement. The work that the art direction put into the re-creation of the Indian villages, and the costumes especially, is also one of the highlights.
I also think it has soul, and poetry, much more than the elements to meet more 'rational' storytelling or cinematic standards. I enjoyed every second of it... and although I can understand how some people wouldn't like it, or think it's too long, I recommend that they keep watching. It just 'clicked' at a certain point, and everything was ecstatic. Malick loves the film, it shows, and it translates to it.
Call me uncultured all you want, but a film can serve all sorts of purposes, and The New World isn't exactly a stirring masterwork of focused storytelling, so it may as well be really pretty and boring.