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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars navigator
No, not the film staring brad pitt but one with a cast of a majority of unknowns.
I first saw this film on a late night tv arts channel and it struck a chord then, now having it on dvd I have watched it twice within a few days.
Made at a time when the AIDS epidemic was receiving constant media attention the parallels to that and the plague in the film are...
Published on 23 Sep 2009 by P. Austin

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More admirable than engaging
Vincent Ward is one of those directors who make films that are easier to admire than to enjoy. The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey is an excellent example - striking visuals, harsh landscapes, painful accents that make key plot points incomprehensible and a big idea that doesn't work quite as well as you'd like it to. Kicking off in a harsh black and white Cumbria in the...
Published on 22 Dec 2007 by Trevor Willsmer


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars navigator, 23 Sep 2009
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This review is from: The Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey ( The Navigator ) [DVD] (DVD)
No, not the film staring brad pitt but one with a cast of a majority of unknowns.
I first saw this film on a late night tv arts channel and it struck a chord then, now having it on dvd I have watched it twice within a few days.
Made at a time when the AIDS epidemic was receiving constant media attention the parallels to that and the plague in the film are obvious but nothing detracts from telling the story.
Starting off in Britain during the Plague the film follows a journey to 'deliver' a cross for fixing to a church steeple. The journey is both physical and one through time as it ends up in present day New Zealand (or as it was when the film was made).
It may sound far-fetched but it is not science fiction it is an intellegent story that really works on all levels.
I thoroughly recommend this film and will be watching it again myself before too long.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More admirable than engaging, 22 Dec 2007
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Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey ( The Navigator ) [DVD] (DVD)
Vincent Ward is one of those directors who make films that are easier to admire than to enjoy. The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey is an excellent example - striking visuals, harsh landscapes, painful accents that make key plot points incomprehensible and a big idea that doesn't work quite as well as you'd like it to. Kicking off in a harsh black and white Cumbria in the early 14th century, an isolated village is persuaded by a boy's visions that the only way to keep the plague out of their village is to tunnel to the other side of the world and erect a cross on the great church tower before dawn - only to find themselves in God's city (or New Zealand circa 1988 to us), a world of colour and lights crippled by its own plagues, redundancy, nuclear proliferation and AIDS. Blinded by television and information overload, the boy loses his ability to see beyond the knowledge that one of them will die in the attempt... There are a lot of pluses, not least the great faces in the cast, many of which look like they've literally stepped out of a Renaissance painting, but it never really engages as much as you'd like, leaving you an almost disinterested observer.

The Australian DVD is much better than the shoddy NTSC release - the Australian DVD boasts a superb anamorphic widescreen transfer, trailer and trailers for Ward's Vigil and What Dreams May Come.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Award winning film, 23 Nov 2004
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C. Evans (Ipswich) - See all my reviews
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I saw this film at the cinema in Sydney, Australia where it won awards. It was strange that it was popular there as we english had to translate the strong 'medieval' Cumbrian/Northunbrian accents for the aussies. It is a work of art, filmed in New Zealand and has a fab twist at the end. They fear plague and see it as an evil not realising that as they flee back to the safety of their village they are taking the plague back with them. One main actor is a young boy and he really good. It sounds too fantastic that they arrive in the modern-day world and see cars (dragons) and televisions but it works well. The shame is that the only format available seems to be the American one so make sure you have the right equipment to watch it if you order this DVD.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange fruit, 27 Feb 2009
A real oddity this; a film that follows the fortunes of a group of Fourteenth Century Cumbrian villagers as they embark upon a quest to tunnel through the Earth in search of a church upon which they can erect a bronze cross. They hope that if they achieve this feat before dawn their village will be spared a visitation from the Black Death, which is sweeping through the land.

A young boy, Griffin, leads this expedition, as it is his visions that have convinced the village to act. His 'second-sight' provides vivid dreams of the church and the cross, and also of a strange land. After a seemingly brief amount of tunneling the travellers find themselves in New Zealand in the present day (1988), and the film becomes more surreal as they encounter all the phenomena of the modern age - cars that seem like dragons, huge highways that appear impossible to cross, and various other aspect of technology, that seem to the ignorant and superstitious Cumbrians to be witchcraft.

Acclaimed Kiwi director Vincent Ward has crafted a quirky, enigmatic and at times completely bonkers film; his use of black and white for the sequences in the village give the film an intensity that lifts it from the mundane. Unfortunately, the weak perfomances from the cast of unknowns coupled with the film's confusing and meandering middle section, undermine the plus points and left me feeling quite bemused by the whole thing. There are moments of dark humour and pathos, but overall this is a film that is curiously unsatisfying.
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