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Movie Review

Pathfinder

MPAA Rating: R for strong brutal violence throughout

Reviewed by: Maggie Hays
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Fantasy, War, Action, Adventure, Drama
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2007
USA Release:
April 13, 2007 (wide—1,700 theaters)
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

How does viewing violence in movies affect the family? Answer

Featuring: Ken Watanabe, Karl Urban, Moon Bloodgood, Russell Means, Clancy Brown
Director: Marcus Nispel
Producer: Rick Alvarez, John Jacobsen, Lee Nelson
Distributor: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

“An Untold Legend. Two Worlds, One War. The Ultimate Battle Begins.”

Oh my… what a movie! Here we have “Lord of the Rings” own Karl Urban fighting against his relatives—the “dragon people” in order to save his adopted people—Native Americans called People of the Dawn. 600 years before Columbus sailed to America, the Vikings landed on some unfortunate northeastern American shore and declared war on the Natives. They wanted to cleanse the land of these gentle Indians before settling it.

One of the Vikings was a little boy, who was adopted by the Indians and raised as one of them. The little boy—“Ghost”—has no real love for his ruthless Viking background or heritage. There is a pretty Indian maiden—Starfire—who he has had eyes for. He loves his family. He is happy with these quiet contented people.

However, one day the Vikings land again on the shores of this village, and the slaughter is exhibited for us in living color on the big screen. No details are hidden from movie goers. Heads are lopped off, blood spurts in red volcanic eruptions—if you like to view this sort of carnage, you will probably like “Pathfinder.” If you do not like grisly violence, you should steer clear of this film.

How violent is it? This film was made by Marcus Nispel of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” fame. That should sum it up for you. Not only do we get to watch a Viking’s eye sliced out with a sword, we also get to see it plop to the ground and roll a bit, then afterward we are treated to seeing his eye socket being stitched closed, and—as he completes the stitching himself, he walks around with the thread dangling from the now empty socket. Have you guessed that this is not a movie for the squeamish or for children?

If you are still unconvinced of the graphic nature of this film, there’s also a scene where the kindly Indian Pathfinder gets pulled apart by horses, and a young brave is dangled upside down with his head in the fire. I’m not trying to “spoil” the movie for you, just showing you how graphic it really is. In between the frequent bursts of cruelty and killing and dismemberment, the story bogs down and becomes downright boring.

The best things about the film are the scenery, which is beautiful and well-filmed and fills this movie, and the soundtrack is exciting and emotional. Other than that, as a Christian Mom, I cannot recommend this movie for family viewing due to the constant and unrelenting graphic violence. “Pathfinder” is bloody murder and mayhem from start to finish. Be warned.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Wow, did you buy a ticket for “Firehouse Dog” and walk in on the wrong movie? The film is rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, and you write a review almost entirely of complaining about violence. That’d be like me going to a Pavarotti concert and then complaining about obese celebrities. It is a story of historical FICTION. It’s based on a graphic novel. But it does contain a good story if you’re able to do more than nitpick over what you should have been fulling expecting. While not containing a revolutionary story, it does tell a timeless tale of struggling to overcome what is expected. It shows how prejudices cannot be held as fact. It shows that a person’s fate is their own choice, despite bloodline or heritage. This story promotes strength, individuality, and faith in its own way. There’s much more to this story…
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3½
—Alan Clifton, age 18
Neutral
Neutral—The review is right on the money. Yes, there is breathtaking scenery in a very striking palate. However, the movie is plenty gory and depicts repeated acts of near-sadistic violence and cruelty. Which doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy it in and of itself, however, in this case, it is undercut by there being almost no script and little engagement with the actors as characters. While it was a pleasant change to see Native Americans protrayed as the good guys, and Clancy Brown is always great in these scary roles, at the end of the day the film is too much gore and not enough heart. Thankfully, we are spared a lot of paganist idealism, as the film maker’s focus is all on the action. One personal note: Since I live in the area the Vikings arrived, it was hard for me to get past the fact that this film was clearly shot in the Rockies. This might not bother others. Not a film for Christians, and, sadly, not really a film for non-Christians either.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Charles, age 42
Comments from young people
Positive—This movie is EXCELLENT, you MUST expect this movie to contain a certain amount of violence, are we not told these things in the books? What I mean is, If someone made a movie of the Story of Jehu (2 Kings chapter 9), you expect to see Jehu eliminating Jezebel and the other guys, like in this movie, you are expected to see the bloody lives of Vikings, and not to be rude, but I agree with the other person, I think you took the ticket to the wrong movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Marco Antonio, age 14
Comments from non-viewers
As a pastor, I recommend that the Christian consumer seriously consider passing this one by. But not for the reasons one may think. I have not viewed this movie… nor do I plan to. Having read the plot summary on ChristianAnswers.Net, I simply cannot allow myself or my money to support the film. Though the violence is certainly a disturbing issue in contemporary filmmaking, it is not the graphic violence in the film which keeps me away. The issue which concerns me is the production’s blantant racism.

If the film’s plot review is in any way accurate, it strikes me that this is yet another addition to the already vast array of anti-white, anti-European material with which American minds are constantly barraged. The contextual picture is a standard one: white man bad… red man (or any other kind of non-white man) good. In “Pathfinder,” white man can only be “good” if he rejects himself and “becomes” the red man (again, a standard contemporary pattern). Psychologically, the viewer is forced to agree with Ghost’s rejection of his heritage by being confronted with the worst possible example of Anglo-European history on the one hand, and a radically idealized, romantic view of the Native American on the other. Such an approach smacks more of propaganda than innocent entertainment.

Scripturally speaking, white Christians must reject this present attitude of “racial self-hatred” which is so much a hallmark of Anglo-postmodern thinking. Likewise, believers who are of other races must just as vehemently discard as absurd the anti-white stereotypes so prevelent in contemporary media and entertainment.

Truthfully, such an imbalanced interpretation of both European and native American identity and culture isn’t healthy for believers to embrace. On the one hand, it encourages an all-too-prevalent self-hatred in the white viewer’s mind. On the other hand, it could well promote a blindly idealistic self-understanding in the thinking of native Americans, who are, individually and as a culture, just as poisoned by sin’s power and perverting influences as any soul of northen European descent. This is a sobering theological reality that the prejudiced leanings of Pathfinder simply do not communicate.

Beyond “Pathfinder,” Christians must become aware of the prevelence of such patterns in contemporary entertainment, and consciously reject them as both historically skewed and biblically inappropriate.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Edward Ludt, age 35
Negative—My comments are in response to Pastor Edward Ludt’s quote above: Pastor, you view this film as “anti-white” and “anti-European,” and I say it’s just the opposite. Time and time again other cultures are barraged by Hollywood films where the GREAT WHITE SAVIOR is given to them by some kind of “luck” or “fortune,” learns the way of the tribe, and by the films end becomes more “Indian” or “African” or “Japanese” or whatever then the natives themselves. The “tribe” itself never has enough smarts, bravery, or whatever to fight off the opposing European invaders. It’s only through the ingenuity, prowess and the “antastic adaptive powers” of the GREAT WHITE SAVIOR that the tribe continues. You are correct that the film is ultimate propaganda. It’s the kind that will keep white European butts in movie theater seats forever.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2½
—Elliot Dash, age 41 (non-Christian)