Wednesday, 31 March 2010



Dir: Marcus Nispel (Friday the 13th (2009))
Cast: Karl Urban, Moon Bloodgood, Russell Means,
USA, 2007

Seen: March 25, 2010

Reason to Watch & Review: For the Sword & Sandal Marathon*

I'm stretching the definitions again for the last installment of the Sword & Sandal Marathon before this weeks release of the Clash of the Titans (2010) with the selection of the 2007 Pathfinder. It's also doing double duty as I get to strike off one more film from my 2010 Own/Unseen Challenge list. I picked up Pathfinder last year, mostly because Karl Urban is in it whom I've been a fan of since Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers where he plays Eomer. He's also in The Bourne Identity, Ghost Ship, The Chronicles of Riddick, but now I think everyone knows him for his spot-on performance as Bones in the 2009 Star Trek. Since I picke dup the film I've also become a fan of Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation) so things were looking promising, no? Not so much. As much as I like both of the actors, they didn't seem to have much to work with in Pathfinder.

This is the only films in the marathon that is actually set in North America, the time line is pre-Columbus and infers post arrival of Vikings. I didn't find this very clear in the film, so I'll admit to help from IMDb here which also states the film is in English and Icelandic. Putting these two things together gives it a Pocahontas meets Predator feel, but imagine the aliens being vikings. Sounds strange I know, but it's as succinct as I can get. The experience of watching it ranged from being confused over the plot to flip flopping back to not really caring. I wanted to care, I really did, but just wasn't happening.

One thing that kept me from connecting with the film was that it was very violent. I would go as far to say extremely violent. I watch lots of action and horror films, but this was really graphic, like blunt objects & blood graphic. So - it that is your thing, you are in luck. For me, not so much.

In terms of a sword & sandals film, it's a stretch - but not as far as a stretch as I originally thought. There are certainly swords and fighting, but the setting makes it so sandals wouldn't be all that practical. That being said, it leads to the one thing I found absolutely glorious about the film: the cinematography. I didn't expect to say this but Pathfinder was a beautiful film to watch for the cinematography. Great use of a cool toned colour story, absolutely magical environments and beautifully diffused light in the backgrounds giving a foggy feel to the beautiful forests. It's no surprized that location listed for the film is British Columbia. I don't think there are trees like that anywhere else in the world.

Yes, out of all things what I got from Pathfinder was it's beauty. Strange, but true. This is why I love doing marathons - you never know what you will end up taking from the films.

Shannon's Overall View:
I didn't love it
I own it, so I'd probably watch it
I'd recommend it as folks who like a combination of epic feel with lots of violence

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

* The Sword & Sandal Marathon is a 13 week marathon exploring sword & sandal films in anticipation of the 2010 release of Clash of the Titans (2010)


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