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3.3 out of 5 stars
Pathfinder [DVD] [2007]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 April 2013
Vikings arrive in North America but as they're too early for visitor attractions they go berserk amongst the local population instead. The bloodlust makes them forgetful and they manage to leave behind a small boy who is subsequently adopted by the natives, presumably to fill out the rapidly thinning population. The boy grows into manhood but despite talk of his destiny by the elders he is largely shunned and considered an outsider. He spends his time alone practicing with his sword. The Vikings return; their massive helmets on display for all to see. They do as Vikings do, you know the pillaging, the violence, capturing the slaves etc. Anyway the young fellow "Ghost" as the natives call him isn't having any of it, besides he's sweet on a wide eyed honey from the tribe so he wants to keep her safe. He dispatches the gang of malevolent bad guys amidst majestic scenery, and a first class musical score. Karl Urban is particularly good a portraying the innocent hero who must open up a can of slice and dice, Moon Bloodgood is effective as the love interest - she also has a particularly suspenseful action sequence and Clancy Brown can do head chopping Viking in his sleep. All in all this is a fun romp.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
You can rely on mad Norsemen to do mad things - but make a belter of a movie may not be one of them...

"Pathfinder" divides lovers of sword and pillage lore. I thought it was good rather than great...and as some have said - just a little bit too silly in places...

If however you're a fan - note that the American 'Unrated' BLU RAY of this looker is REGION A LOCKED - so it won't play on our machines unless they're chipped to 'all regions' (which few are).

The 'Extended Version' is available in the UK (Region B). Stick with that one instead - and all that stupid Region Coding crap won't restrict your viewing pleasure...
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on 30 September 2007
Pathfinder is a bloody yet beautiful movie with Karl Urban's character Ghost as a strong central character. Since you can read a synopsis of the film above, I won't go into details with the storyline, but just say that it brought tears to my eyes at times and it lingers. As a Dane I was quite curious to see how my ancestors were portraied - movies do tend to go a bit overboards with the Vikings;-)but some anachronisms apart, they remind me of the local hockey supporters so I'm okay with the way they come across on screen. And the fact that they speak Icelandic, which is the closest you get to the language we Scandinavians spoke at the time, is a nice touch. I have been eagerly awaiting this movie since I first heard about it, and I haven't been disappointed. The movie was featured at the Copenhagen International Film Festival in the shorter (cinema-)version, but I like this version better.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 November 2013
In a fictional dark age, where Vikings raid Native American villages to exterminate them. A young boy, the son of a great Viking warrior, is captured by these Natives & raised as one of they're own. Now, that boy is a man, coinciding with the return of more Vikings. The worst imaginable outcome can only result with these heavily armoured brutes against the poorly equipped Natives. But, this time they are up against a more formidable foe, one of themselves, Ghost (Urban).

Overall, Pathfinder is a pretty decent film if your stuck for something to watch. It's main draw is the action & visuals, which are brilliant. The story itself isn't all that engaging, little dialogue , subtitles for the Viking language & very much relies on the actors facial emotions/expressions. Karl Urban's combination of athletics & intelligence as Ghost, makes watching him prepare the demise of his enemies all the more rewarding. The traps he uses to try & overcome the superior numbers he is against, is reminiscent of Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempts to kill the vastly stronger & better equipped Predator using his surroundings to his advantage. The Vikings themselves are visually impressive, standing tall making the natives look a bit hobbit like. Represented by lead pairing Ralf Moeller (Gladiator) as Ulfar. And Gunnar, the almost unrecognisable frame of Clancy Brown (Highlander) behind thick beard/hair & war paint, who can only be unmasked by the keenest eye in close up's. Make captivating foes. They are strong warriors, but aren't the smartest cookies, compared to Ghost. There is a love story which offers a little distraction, Falling Skies Moon Bloodgood is the native girl, daughter of the tribes chief or rather Pathfinder (Russell Means-The Last Of The Mohicans), that Ghost tries to keep safe from harm.

Visually is where the film excels, very dark & foreboding, it's like experiencing Skyrim with it's thick forests that give way to freezingly cold & harsh mountains. Which the cinematography makes look great, with sweeping camera shots from on high, and the bitter chill sending shivers down your spine just looking at it. The action is handled with equal aplomb, along with blood spatter & gore the trademark of director Marcus Nispel (Conan the Barbarian). The costumes, sets & props are some of the best iv'e seen to be honest, the Viking armor is thick, metal plate with flecks of fur jutting outwards covering it. Amazing looking shields & detailed helms. And the weapons very realistic, in particular Ghost's sword sporting an open mouthed dragon hilt & some intricate embellishments along the blade which the camera picks up & shows off to perfection.

In conclusion, it's no surprise that Pathfinder flopped at the cinema with it's lukewarm plot not being the greatest draw. But it's much more successful DVD sales, is a fitting reward for it's good action & the visuals by far some of the best in this genre. Worth a watch.
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Others have described this movie well enough already. My comment to add would be how visually rich, but too congested, this film is. The images are dense, so much so that it is hard for the eyes to find what is most pertinent in the film's frames as they pass. The prevailing black and white and sepia tones, with little other colour in evidence, contrast dark and clotted, do not help to clarify the images. There is a lot of "action" in all of this, and because of this visual congestion (or indigestion!) it is hard for the eyes to follow.

The plot pits wicked European males, this time the Vikings, against North America's "noble savages". It does make some sense, but the mix of legendary evocation with historical fantasy is not totally convincing. The acting is passable.

Enjoy this motion picture for what it has to offer, without being too hard on it. It is exciting and however dense things become, visually and narratively, the basic premises and story flow are clear enough for all of that.

NOTA BENE (late July 2013).

Recently I have acquired a DVD equipment which, among other improvements over my earlier player, is capable of playing DVDs in the P.A.L. (European) format. To celebrate that, I ordered several films that I long have wanted to obtain, but are available, at least for now, only in editions of DVD-P.A.L. One of them is "Ofelas = Pathfinder" (Kinowelt 500392), the original 1987 Scandanavian film on which the North American adaptation, made twenty years later in 2007, is based. It definitely was worth searching out. Some comments, as well as a modification in my review's title, are now in order!

The 1987 motion picture offers roughly the same basic plot, but it is more convincingly set out in its very northerly, Scandanavian setting, the Lapp region, within the Arctic Circle. Here the winter is cruelly harsh in low as well as at high elevations. The struggle for survival of the Lapp (Sami) people is a precarious one that North American native peoples did not face to nearly such a daunting degree. The Scandanavian film's setting, not surprisingly, is far more austere, and less lushly colourful, than that of the North American film. However, that only adds to the 1987 movie's stark appeal.

The cast consists mostly of Sami actors, who have a visual edge in such ethnic consistency, which helps appreciably to make all of them convincing in their roles. In the case of Mikkel Gaup, who at the time of the 1987 motion picture was in his late teens, there was one Sami among them who went on to have a relatively large and successful film career. Mikkel Gaup, at that particular age, was a strikingly handsome lad and his acting, as Aigin, who becomes a "pathfinder" for his people by action's end, is the best of the film's cast and he also generates some real, incipiently romantic warmth. However, to be fair to the others, their acting only may seem a bit stiff due to the English dubbing, the words coming across accurately enough, but a bit woodenly. (There are subtitles, too, helpful, as their presence usually is.)

I like both films rather a lot, although I suspect that it will be the 1987 film, of the two, that I shall view more frequently in the years ahead.
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Others have described this movie well enough already. My comment to add would be how visually rich, but too congested, this film is. The images are dense, so much so that it is hard for the eyes to find what is most pertinent in the film's frames as they pass. The prevailing black and white and sepia tones, with little other colour in evidence, contrast dark and clotted, do not help to clarify the images. There is a lot of "action" in all of this, and because of this visual congestion (or indigestion!) it is hard for the eyes to follow.

The plot pits wicked European males, this time the Vikings, against North America's "noble savages". It does make some sense, but the mix of legendary evocation with historical fantasy is not totally convincing. The acting is passable.

Enjoy this motion picture for what it has to offer, without being too hard on it. It is exciting and however dense things become, visually and narratively, the basic premises and story flow are clear enough for all of that.

NOTA BENE (late July 2013).

Recently I have acquired a DVD equipment which, among other improvements over my earlier player, is capable of playing DVDs in the P.A.L. (European) format. To celebrate that, I ordered several films that I long have wanted to obtain, but are available, at least for now, only in editions of DVD-P.A.L. One of them is "Ofelas = Pathfinder" (Kinowelt 500392), the original 1987 Scandanavian film on which the North American adaptation, made twenty years later in 2007, is based. It definitely was worth searching out. Some comments, as well as a modification in my review's title, are now in order!

The 1987 motion picture offers roughly the same basic plot, but it is more convincingly set out in its very northerly, Scandanavian setting, the Lapp region, within the Arctic Circle. Here the winter is cruelly harsh in low as well as at high elevations. The struggle for survival of the Lapp (Sami) people is a precarious one that North American native peoples did not face to nearly such a daunting degree. The Scandanavian film's setting, not surprisingly, is far more austere, and less lushly colourful, than that of the North American film. However, that only adds to the 1987 movie's stark appeal.

The cast consists mostly of Sami actors, who have a visual edge in such ethnic consistency, which helps appreciably to make all of them convincing in their roles. In the case of Mikkel Gaup, who at the time of the 1987 motion picture was in his late teens, there was one Sami among them who went on to have a relatively large and successful film career. Mikkel Gaup, at that particular age, was a strikingly handsome lad and his acting, as Aigin, who becomes a "pathfinder" for his people by action's end, is the best of the film's cast and he also generates some real, incipiently romantic warmth. However, to be fair to the others, their acting only may seem a bit stiff due to the English dubbing, the words coming across accurately enough, but a bit woodenly. (There are subtitles, too, helpful, as their presence usually is.)

I like both films rather a lot, although I suspect that it will be the 1987 film, of the two, that I shall view more frequently in the years ahead.
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Others have described this movie well enough already. My comment to add would be how visually rich, but too congested, this film is. The images are dense, so much so that it is hard for the eyes to find what is most pertinent in the film's frames as they pass. The prevailing black and white and sepia tones, with little other colour in evidence, contrast dark and clotted, do not help to clarify the images. There is a lot of "action" in all of this, and because of this visual congestion (or indigestion!) it is hard for the eyes to follow.

The plot pits wicked European males, this time the Vikings, against North America's "noble savages". It does make some sense, but the mix of legendary evocation with historical fantasy is not totally convincing. The acting is passable.

Enjoy this motion picture for what it has to offer, without being too hard on it. It is exciting and however dense things become, visually and narratively, the basic premises and story flow are clear enough for all of that.

NOTA BENE (late July 2013).

Recently I have acquired a DVD equipment which, among other improvements over my earlier player, is capable of playing DVDs in the P.A.L. (European) format. To celebrate that, I ordered several films that I long have wanted to obtain, but are available, at least for now, only in editions of DVD-P.A.L. One of them is "Ofelas = Pathfinder" (Kinowelt 500392), the original 1987 Scandanavian film on which the North American adaptation, made twenty years later in 2007, is based. It definitely was worth searching out. Some comments, as well as a modification in my review's title, are now in order!

The 1987 motion picture offers roughly the same basic plot, but it is more convincingly set out in its very northerly, Scandanavian setting, the Lapp region, within the Arctic Circle. Here the winter is cruelly harsh in low as well as at high elevations. The struggle for survival of the Lapp (Sami) people is a precarious one that North American native peoples did not face to nearly such a daunting degree. The Scandanavian film's setting, not surprisingly, is far more austere, and less lushly colourful, than that of the North American film. However, that only adds to the 1987 movie's stark appeal.

The cast consists mostly of Sami actors, who have a visual edge in such ethnic consistency, which helps appreciably to make all of them convincing in their roles. In the case of Mikkel Gaup, who at the time of the 1987 motion picture was in his late teens, there was one Sami among them who went on to have a relatively large and successful film career. Mikkel Gaup, at that particular age, was a strikingly handsome lad and his acting, as Aigin, who becomes a "pathfinder" for his people by action's end, is the best of the film's cast and he also generates some real, incipiently romantic warmth. However, to be fair to the others, their acting only may seem a bit stiff due to the English dubbing, the words coming across accurately enough, but a bit woodenly. (There are subtitles, too, helpful, as their presence usually is.)

I like both films rather a lot, although I suspect that it will be the 1987 film, of the two, that I shall view more frequently in the years ahead.
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This story about a Viking child found in a wrecked longship and raised by Indians, somewhere in XI century in what is today Canada, had the potential to be a great film. Sadly, the uber-idiotic scenario destroyed it as completely as a raid of Norsemen against a Skraeling's village.

Life of a strange looking child amongst an Indian tribe was by itself an occasion for some good cinema moments - but we hardly see anything about it. Then the whole idea of a contact between two so completely different cultures (Vikings and Indians) was another occasion - which was also ignored. Vikings are shown as hairy grunting monsters, interested only in killing and torture, as they take no prisoners and there is hardly anything worth plundering in Indian villages (in real history Vikings expeditions from Greenland came to Vinland mostly to look for timber). Indians by contrast are very noble and civilized, but they are also all completely hapless when facing the Norsemen - the only guy able to fight them seems to be Ghost (Karl Urban), the white child who is now an adult man. Also, excepted for Ghost, all Indians are idiots who let themselves lure in the most evident traps...

There is virtually no conversations in this film, just an accumulation of action scenes, which are all the same - a Viking comes swinging and boom, Ghost kills him. Another Viking comes, and boom, Ghost kills him. Then some Indians are butchered by Vikings. Then boom, Ghost kills more Vikings. Etc, etc. There seems to be a love story between Ghost and Starfire, an Indian girl played by Moon Bloodgood (who by the way is half-White, half-Korean), but both actors play it in such a wooden way, that a couple of days after watching this film I already forgot that there even was a love story.

As if all those things were not enough let's just stress here, that in the real history things were the exact opposite of what this film shows - the relentless hostility and agressivity of Skraelings forced Viking settlers (who were very few and who were farmers rather than raiders) to evacuate Vinland after only a brief attempt to settle there around year 1000. Later Greenland Vikings visited Vinland mostly to bring timber and hunt deer for meat and hides, as forests in Greenland were rare and the big game completely absent.

It is amazing how bad is this film especially considering that it is a remake of a very original and much, much better Norwegian "Pathfinder" (a.k.a. "Ofelas"), which very desservedly was nominated for Oscar of best Foreign Language film in 1988.

There are some nice pictures of snowy mountains and this is the only good moment in this awful, horribly bad film which bored me almost to death. Avoid it at all costs and watch the original 1987 Norwegian "Pathfinder" instead.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A brief history lesson -- the Vikings were the first Europeans to land in the Americas, almost five hundred years before Columbus. They even settled down to live there for awhile, though it didn't last.

There's a brilliant movie somewhere in that story -- an epic of exploration, discovery and struggle between two very different peoples. Too bad "Pathfinder" isn't that movie, with its mindless action, ridiculous characters, and a pompous stream of wretched dialogue and silly direction. It's a disaster, pure and simple.

An American Indian woman found a little boy abandoned in the ruin of a Viking ship, and brought him bck to her people, where he was renamed Ghost and brought up as one of them. But though Ghost (Karl Urban) becomes strong and well-liked, he's still haunted by his Viking past -- until the day he sees dragon boats coming to shore, and his village is brutally slaughtered.

Wounded and left for dead, Ghost is found by a hunting party that includes Starfire (Moon Bloodgood), the token love interest. When the Vikings find him again, he must outwit the small army of Vikings, protect his remaining people from them -- and finally settle his divided feelings about his own identity.

Yeah, it's all a cliche -- outcast hero raised among peaceful people, finds inner peace by kicking savage butts of his birth race. Even in the hands of a good director this would be staggeringly unexiting -- and it isn't in the hands of a good director. It's in Marcus "Texas Chainsaw Massacre Remake" Nispel's hands.

And Nispel has clearly decided that this is his magnum opus: creepy lighting, slow-motion, and pompous dramatic shots like swords being lifted from the snow (signaling that this is a Very Significant Moment). But there's nothing that even a good action movie should have -- there is no logic, cohesion, plot or good dialogue ("The prophecy... is coming to fulfilment!").

Instead, Nispel packs it with gore, swords and torture, to demonstrate that all the Vikings are PURE EVIL, lest you waste any sympathy on them. But his action scenes are more likely to inspire laughter than horror or cheap thrills, especially when Ghost starts fighting the Vikings... in a SLED CHASE. Really. It only gets campier and sillier as time goes on, until Ghost defeats the bad guys by triggering an avalanche... by yelling.

Karl Urban is a deeply talented actor with immense presence... and an unfortunate tendency to pick some really awful action movies. He does the best that anyone could do with such a flimsy character (come on, who really thinks Ghost would join the Vikings?), which isn't that much. Bloodgood is basically a token love interest, and not a very realistic one either.

As for the supporting characters, they might as well be played by paper dolls. The Indians are stereotypically peaceful, spiritual and very boring, with names like Starfire and Wind in Tree. And the Vikings are grunting, thick-skulled behemoths in bloodstained horned skull helmets, with no sign of higher brain function. These aren't Vikings, these are orcs.

A promising idea gets buried under a steaming, putrescent heap of mindless action, logic-free scripting, and characters so thin you could wrap Christmas presents in them. Stunningly wretched.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2008
It's Pathfinder! It's got Karl Urban in a loin cloth! It's full of scary massive Vikings! It's... kinda okay.

There's some great action and fighting complete with lovely graphic CGI blood splatters and the panoramic scenery of the New World is beautifully shot. BUT the movie itself is just lacking something to me. Personally, I think its pace is too fast and bar a cheesy destiny and a hasty intro to Karl's romantic interest VS tiresome rival, it doesn't really deliver much in terms of story or character development that we haven't already seen before. Sometimes you can get away with that in action movies, but this world offered interesting insights to both cultures and didn't ruddy do anything with them. Which is a pity. So the Dragon Men remained monstrous and snarly and the People of the Dawn just kinda got barbecued and ran away a lot. Karl of course gets upset that his adopted family is minced by his nasty horny beardy skull wearing finger collecting kinsmen and pulls a Die Hard on them.

A below average movie with above average effects. Nothing all that special really but worth a gander if you fancy a cliche ridden action flick...and Karl Urban in a loin cloth.
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