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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Pathfinder’ still searching for a path to the plot

    5/10

    Weren’t the Vikings from somewhere in Scandinavia? Not in the new movie, “Pathfinder.” These Vikings, who arrive on the American shores around 900 A.D., are ironclad trolls from the depths of Mordor. These titans, with the power and growls of tigers and shielded by impenetrable armor, loom over the Native Americans like they are hobbits.

    “Pathfinder” follows a young Viking boy who was abandoned during a failed Viking attack on the American Indians. This boy, named Ghost by his adoptive parents, grows to be a warrior by the time the Vikings return for a second attack. With his memory of Viking tactics, and as the only member of his community able to wield a sword, Ghost (played by Keith Urban) leads the counterattack.

    What follows is a mesh of battle and gore. Ghost takes on the entire Viking army with the help of a stubborn American Indian and his loyal, but clichǸd romantic interest (played by Moon Bloodgood). These three set traps for the Viking hoard, which become more and more complex, ultimately involve capture and faking submission to the Viking requests.

    Ghost, though admittedly a character from legend, fights against odds so enormous that he might as well have gone on to single-handedly conquer the entire world. His cunning appears to have the strength of a hundred horned and spiked war machines. Perhaps he had a rabbit’s foot tucked inside his loincloth.

    Though the storyline and plausibility of “Pathfinder” leaves much to be desired, the camerawork and scenery is beautiful. Many rolling shots either looking up at snow-covered mountains, or shots taken from the mountains over the forest and out to the sea make a pleasing backdrop that helps keep the audience following the journey. What is most lacking from “Pathfinder” is any depth to the Viking culture. These Vikings are not even portrayed as human, much less as men away from their families, having just survived a lengthy sea-crossing. These Vikings have no loved ones. They have no tradition. They don’t even have any faces beneath their black helmets.

    As such, “Pathfinder” becomes the simplest tale of good and evil. The bad guys have no redeeming qualities to interest an audience, and the American Indian good guys are shown so weak and defenseless that they draw little support. Ghost, a mixture of the two, whose heart “two wolves fight: one is love, one is hate,” is the only character with any pull, and he is so exaggerated that he becomes impossible to empathize with. This movie provides five seconds of delight for lovers of funny names when Moon Bloodgood appears on the credits. Some may say her name fits the movie well, and while much of the action takes places by the light of the moon and blood spurts from every scene, this movie lacks the character development and depth of plot necessary to be deemed good.

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