March 25, 2007

The Pathfinder trailer

I mentioned Pathfinder a couple of times last year. As you may recall, it's about a Viking boy (Karl Urban) who is raised by a Native tribe and grows up to fight the Viking invaders on behalf of his adopted people.

This movie was scheduled to premiere last year, but it was postponed. Now it's going to be released April 13. It's the first major Native-themed movie of 2007.

Here's the trailer:

Hmm. Looks like Apocalypto meets 300 to me. A highly stylized appearance (lots of monochromatic scenes), ultra-violent, not much genuine Native culture.

Apparently Pathfinder is also coming out as a graphic novel. Judging by the pages posted on the official website, it looks like another "lite" read.

In short, I'm not expecting much except another bloody thrill ride (see 300, Apocalypto, SCALPED, LONE RANGER, etc.). These days, nobody seems to have anything real to say about Natives. All they want to do is project their fantasies onto a Native backdrop.


Rob said...

Pathfinder resembles 300 in style and Apocalypto in content. You know, the lone noble warrior against a horde of ominous adversaries? The good indigenous hero against the evil representatives of "civilization"?

The film is set in America among its Native tribes. Given that setup, the opportunities to explore Native cultures clearly outweigh the opportunities to explore Viking cultures. But to me it seems the Vikings predominate.

I don't expect a trailer to show much. But in the trailers for The New World, End of the Spear, and Apocalypto, at least you could tell the movie was about a particular tribe or nation. In the Pathfinder trailer, you can barely detect any Native culture.

Rob said...

Yes, "nearly-monochrome CGI fantasy landscapes" are a huge part of both Pathfinder's and 300's style, apparently. So you agree with me that they have similar styles?

Ghost (Karl Urban) isn't literally indigenous, but he's adopted by an indigenous tribe. His membership in that tribe makes him an indigenous hero (i.e., a hero of indigenous people).

In fact, any white or black person adopted into a tribe becomes an Indian by definition. But I've explained this before elsewhere.

I understood from the trailer that Ghost fights alone. Now I've read an article that says his situation is similar to Jaguar Paw's in Apocalypto. (I won't be more specific because I don't want to spoil the movie for people.)

In other words, my conclusion seems to be correct. I guess I know how to "read" trailers better than you do.

It's pretty common to say the Vikings had a distinct culture or civilization. As some websites put it:

Viking civilization flourished with its skaldic literature and eddic poetry, its runic inscriptions, its towns and markets, and, most of all, its ability to organize people under law to achieve a common task--such as an invasion.

The word Viking is a collective designation of Nordic peoples, Danes, Swedes, Norwegians and Icelanders, who ranged abroad during a period of dynamic Scandinavian expansion in the Middle Ages, from about AD 800 to 1100. Called the Viking Age, the period has long been popularly associated with unbridled piracy, when freebooters came swarming out of the northlands in their predatory long ships to burn and pillage their way across civilized Europe. This, however, is now recognized as a gross simplification. Modern scholarship emphasizes the achievements of the Viking Age in terms of Scandinavian art and craftsmanship, marine technology, exploration, and the development of commerce, the Vikings as traders, not raiders.

Rob said...

I explained why the two films have similar styles. You haven’t explained anything—perhaps because of your continuing inability to articulate your views. Readers can note the difference.

So what are the glaring differences between the two movies’ styles, if any? Feel free to offer something positive rather than your usual carping criticism.

Your comment about my alleged contradiction shows you really don’t understand what I’m talking about. A tribe’s ability to enroll anyone, even someone with white or black blood, establishes the definition of an Indian. It’s a political and cultural definition that the tribes have argued for and the feds have acknowledged. What it isn’t is a biological definition based on race, genetics, or heredity.

In short, there’s no contradiction except for those who don’t know Indian history and law. Which seems to include you.

There’s also no contradiction between being raiders and being "civilized." Just look at various corporations, the Nazis, or our own forces in Iraq.

At least I can cite sources for my so-called revisionist history. That puts me one up on you. Let us know if you have any evidence that the Vikings were brutes or barbarians with no culture or civilization.