Pathfinder (2007)

I bet Brion James would’ve played that viking if he was still alive.

PATHFINDER is the remake of that little Norwegian movie I just reviewed. The remake is directed by Marcus Nispel, the director of the remake of TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and the remake of FRIDAY THE 13TH and a TV remake of FRANKENSTEIN and the remake of CONAN THE BARBARIAN coming out tomorrow. As is his tradition he is not very familiar with the movie he’s remaking, so on the commentary track he calls it “a short film from Scandinavia or, from… the ’80s, I think.”

But this one’s not about the Sami people of Finnmark being invaded by the Tchudes, it’s about Native Americans being invaded by vikings. The idea is that vikings could’ve set up shop here centuries before Columbus, and this is the legend of why they didn’t.

mp_pathfinder07It’s so different from the original movie that at first I questioned whether it was even actually a remake. But there’s definitely enough there that it’s gotta be: both open with text about this being a legend, then a prophecy about seeing a white animal (reindeer in old one, horse in new one). Both are about a guy who was away from his village when everybody got slaughtered by invaders. In both he goes to a nearby village and the invaders follow him there (although in the new one the villagers find him and he tries to warn them away, so he’s not to blame for leading the enemy there). In the old one he criticizes the villagers for fleeing, in the new one he warns them that they better because their wooden spears and stone arrows don’t have a chance against the viking swords and armor. In both there’s a girl from the other village who he has his eye on (in this one he’s older and she’s played by Moon Bloodgood, so he fucks her) and somebody who questions his decision to stay and fight because it’s about vengeance for what happened to his village. In both he tricks some of the invaders into falling off a cliff. Most importantly both have a “pathfinder” who appears to him almost like a ghost to share wisdom with him.

One of the biggest changes is that the protagonist (Karl Urban, the guy from everything) has a whole backstory. When he was a kid he was left behind by a viking ship, so he was raised by Native Americans who named him “Ghost” (the term “cracker” hadn’t been invented yet) and thought he would grow up to be a monster like the “Dragon Men” he was abandoned by. Now he’s trained in the Native hunting and fighting methods but also remembers viking shit from when he was a kid and practices with the sword they found him with. So he’s like one of the original mixed martial artists. Or the Daywalker of Native American viking slayers.

Seriously man, Karl Urban is in alot of movies. He’s in some LORDS OF THE RINGSes, one of the BOURNEs, that movie DOOM, that movie RED. I just saw PRIEST, he was in that. He was in CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK. It wasn’t until STAR TREK that I started remembering what he looked like. Here I think he has more charisma than in some of those and he’s pretty tough looking in a very physical and under-dressed role. But he’s not all the way there to great screen presence. He’s still working on that. So he’s somewhere in between the typical fantasy hero weenie and the good ones like Conan. Probly closer to the good ones. Probly higher up than a Kevin Sorbo level.

The leader of the vikings is played by the great Clancy Brown of HIGHLANDER fame, but you wouldn’t know it because his face is almost entirely hidden under helmet, shadow and beard, and he doesn’t speak English, only subtitled vikingese. The vikings are by far the most ridiculous elaboration on the original tale, and the one that takes the most advantage of Nispel’s particular tastes and talents. These aren’t just dudes in furs and horned helmets, these are fucking monsters. They’re huge and they’re covered in 250 pounds of complicated shit, their helmets look like they’re from outer space and some of them even have electronically lowered voices like Freddy Krueger in part 1. I’m pretty sure they’re all lifted from paintings by that guy that did the cartoon FIRE AND ICE. I mean, look at these fuckin guys:


I gotta respect the exaggeration and detail on those beasts. And you can see why the Natives think they’re dragon men (if you can believe they know what a dragon is). It’s kind of like you’re seeing them through their eyes. These roided out viking assholes storm in and start chopping and bashing everybody in sight, they look like they just escaped from the Gwar dimension and, as a nice, sweet, irony-flavored dipping sauce, they consider the peaceful Natives to be “savages.”

I love that touch, but I don’t spot much more thoughtfulness if it’s going on anywhere in here. I don’t think they’re trying to say anything. These type of stories can be read alot of contradictory ways. On one hand you gotta kinda resent that it’s always a white guy as the hero. We can’t just have a Native American character as the hero who stops the invasion, it’s gotta be the one white guy who lives there. And oh, boo hoo, poor white man having such a hard time being a minority, they don’t understand him, what a terrible tragedy. On the other hand, it’s a story about people of different races getting along and learning from each other (and stopping the assholes who don’t want to do that). Also there’s one big change from the ending of the original that acknowledges the contribution of the woman. So that’s good.

Ghost puts up a much more involved fight than Aigin did in the original. He sets an ambush with a bunch of clever and brutal traps. There are plenty of cool action beats, and it’s not too visually confusing for me. But Nispel is not that good of a director so the action scenes have no build to them, they just feel like a montage of the different tricks he played throughout a more sustained battle. It’s like: Ghost jumps out and stabs a guy. Ghost is in a tree and swings down. Ghost is hidden in mud and comes out. Ghost sets off a trap that shoots a bunch of spikes at a guy. Just him doing everything in a row until after a while the script calls for the tide to turn so then the vikings get to do something right. It’s all the story elements just laid out in list form instead of told to you as a story. Which, to be fair, is better than most action scenes these days.

Nispel also seems to have a problem with digital color correction abuse. I’ve been noticing this in a bunch of movies lately – why do they think it’s a good idea to suck most of the colors out so that it almost looks black and white, but not as good as it would look if it was shot in black and white? Alot of this movie is just dreary gray. It seems like it would look so much better if they put some color in the sky or something. But when there is color it’s a really beautiful looking movie. The cinematographer is Daniel Pearl, same guy that did THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, both the original masterpiece and crappy remake. It would be cool if he did the original version of this too, but I guess that would be asking too much for him to travel back in time and get work in Norway. He was busy that year doing ISLAND OF THE ALIVE, A RETURN TO SALEM’S LOT and AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON.

Anyway, Nispel’s directorial weaknesses keep this from being very memorable, but I do think it’s a pretty good mythic warrior type of story in a totally different way than the original. It’s kind of hilarious that they turned that particular movie into this one, but I also don’t really find it offensive in the same way I find some of his other remakes. Obviously that’s mostly because I don’t have the same attachment to the original, but I also think what he’s trying to do is so different from the original that it feels like a separate movie. With TEXAS CHAIN SAW he’s still making a horror movie, but just doing it in a way stupider and more obvious way than the original, in a way that suggests that he doesn’t have any clue what was great in the old movie and doesn’t know he’s doing a shitty job. With this one he obviously wanted to make a big pulpy viking movie and the producers happened to have this other movie he’d never heard of to use as the basic story skeleton. So it helped him more than anything, giving his movie a better structure than it probly would’ve had.

There’s a reason why I watched this movie now. Nispel has that CONAN THE BARBARIAN movie coming out tomorrow. I’ve been seeing ads for it and thinking yeah, it’s not gonna be good like the John Milius one, but it looks like the kind of thing I might enjoy. Except I hate that fuckin director, I hate all his movies that I’ve seen, so I know I’m gonna hate this. I decided I would watch PATHFINDER and then if it was as terrible as everybody said then I would be cured of my desire to go see his CONAN.

Trouble is PATHFINDER wasn’t terrible. It was okay. I sort of enjoyed it. Maybe if the script is any good he might do okay with CONAN? Okay, so it’s, I’ll give CONAN a shot theatrically. That means I gotta decide how many Ds to see it in. I looked it up on IMDb, looks like it was not shot with 3D cameras, it was fake 3D-ified after the fact, a process I’ve sworn off after its mixed success in PIRANHA 3D, its unimpressive use in GREEN HORNET and its downright shitty obstruction of HARRY POTTER.

So regular-D it is. Tomorrow before work I’ll just go and–

Ah, shit. They only have it in 3D downtown. Geez, Hollywood. Do you see how much effort I’m going through just to want to see your movies? You really make a principled moviegoer jump through alot of hoops.

to be continued?

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 18th, 2011 at 1:01 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

83 Responses to “Pathfinder (2007)”

  1. I agree it wasn’t as bad as it could. I grow up with the original Pathfinder, and I always found it kinda dull action wise, and I guess Marcus Nispel also thought so, but I bad he never saw it. Nothing really terrible about it, but there isn’t anything good about it either. With watching all the PG-13 action film, it was good to watch some blood and gore. Too bad it was mostly CGI, but Nispel original tried to get a PG-13, but it was too brutal to get it, so Nispel added a lot of CGI blood.

    At least Nispel makes R rated films, so at least we got some blood and gore, and sometimes some nudity.

  2. I didn’t hate this one while watching it but I don’t remember a fucking thing about it. It’s a just a gray blur. Then Nispel went and butchered F13 like a nubile camp counselor and I cut him off. I just wish he’d stop making movies that I would normally be interested in seeing if anyone else had made them.

  3. “so he fucks her”

    maybe I’m wrong Vern, but I thought you don’t normally use quite that salty language, time to put a quarter in the swear jar

    anyway I’m debating whether to see Conan tomorrow like everyone else, I really wish it wasn’t in 3D, I’ve grown to really hate this 3D trend because it creates a catch 22 because it means the 2D version might play in a crappy small theater, but the 3D version is going to be dark and hard to see

    so if it WASN’T in 3D then I would definitely check it out, but I’m probably just gonna wait for blu ray, but if I do see it it’ll be the 2D version

  4. Shit, Vern, now you got me thinking. I used to love going to the movies. Favorite thing in the world. If I even KIND of wanted to see something, I just went ahead and saw it. Why not? Going to the movies is fun. Who cares if the movie is any good?

    Now, though, there are all these obstacles preventing me from feeling like seeing 95% of movies, which usually display at least half of the following characteristics:

    -directed by some asshole
    -a bastardization of a better movie
    -crappy 3D
    -PG-13 bullshit
    -CGI overkill
    -incomprehensible cinematography and editing
    -written by a warehouse full of monkeys
    -starring some prettyboy
    -a franchise installment instead of a proper story
    -extortionate ticket price
    -theater full of douchebags
    -even when it’s 2D they leave the 3D lens on the projector so it looks like shit anyway

    It’s like most movies have six strikes against them before I even see them. Goddammit, Hollywood. I fucking LOVE movies. I like movies more than anyone I know (both in the sense that I like movies more than anyone I know likes movies and that I like movies more than I like anyone I know) and even I don’t want to deal with your shit anymore.

  5. I gotta side with Mr. M here. Caught this on HBO one afternoon and,other than the pretty badass Viking design, I don’t remember anything about this movie. Even reading your plot synopsis didn’t ring any bells.

    As for Conan, the red band trailer definitely piqued my interest but I’ll wait and read some reviews before throwing down any more of my hard earned cash this summer for a shitty theater going experience.

    If you decide not to waste your time maybe catch a Rise of the Planet of the Apes matinee. That movie just slightly nudges out X-Men First Class as my most enjoyable summer blockbuster this year.

  6. I wish filmmakers would stop taking the phrase “dark and gritty” so literally- I could barely make out what was happening in this film.

  7. GRIFF:

    Have you not seen the header on this websight?

  8. Yeah, but that’s the figurative, PG-13 “I emphatically disapprove of that!” kind of fuck, not the literal, R-rated “I put my wiener in there!” kind of fuck.

  9. I don’t think embargo as lifted for Conan yet…but I can say that it was NOT shot in 3D but it looked pretty okay as far as post-conversions go. Nothing to write home about, however. I don’t remember a single impressive 3D shot.

  10. Oddly, of the two cinemas that are available to me to go see CONAN, the one that is closest to me and I can therefore walk to, saving bus/train fare is only showing the 3D. The one that requires a commute is showing it in 2D, but get this, the 3D only ticket is CHEAPER than the 2D ticket. Especially with online booking. So…kind of a weird no brainer, considering it’s 2 branches of the same cinema chain. The farther one is downtown and the tallest cinema in the world, so I guess that’s why there’s a price hike, for some reason…
    Anyway, I’ve always liked Karl Urban and think he could make a decent Judge Dredd, depending on other factors outside of his control.

  11. one guy from andromeda

    August 18th, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    i think the love making “fuck” should be the less offensive one than the you suck, asshole “fuck”, but whatever. i will not spend money to see any of nispel’s movies.

  12. Tawdry – I was just kidding, I know Vern is not afraid to drop an F-bomb, who the fuck on the internet isn’t?

    and Mr. Majestyk – welcome to modern Hollywood, it blows doesn’t it? the irony of this 3D fad is that Hollywood pushes it in hopes that it will save theaters, but it may in fact be what finally kills theaters for good, if you get better picture quality on your tv, what’s the point in going to the theater?

    the situation at my local theater is such, there’s two main theaters which are pretty big, then there was a smaller theater which was also pretty big, the rest vary from small to janitor’s closets and the screens in the small theaters are dirty and the projection quality is usually shit, so you want to avoid those

    but the second smallest theater is now the 3D theater, so now there’s a highly increased chance you’ll be seeing a new release movie in a theater not meant for new releases

    so it’s almost always a gamble, ESPECIALLY if you see a comedy or something like that, I always have to ask myself if I think a movie will be in a good theater or not and that usually is what makes my final decision to see a movie in theaters or wait for blu ray

  13. the worst thing about 3D is that they always manufacture a shot to have a character point his sword directly at the camera, to try to show off how cool the 3D is. i saw that Pirates movie in 3D and, sure enough, they stuck that stupid shot in there. how many times is conan gonna threaten the viewer with that little maneuver?

    i like when there are birds and shit in the peripheral in 3D – that’s way more effective at putting you in the time and place than suddenly, out of nowhere, becoming the sniveling fuckwit that’s having a sword pointed at you. the whole move i’m along for the ride, now you’re gonna threaten ME? you’re gonna stab ME?! i didn’t sign up for that.

  14. See, I did sign up for that. If you’re not shoving shit in my face, then what is the point of 3D? So the foreground can look like its painted on a pane of glass that’s placed a few feet in front of the pane of glass the background is painted on? 3D should call attention to itself or there’s no reason to charge me extra for it. If I barely notice it, why am I wearing these stupid plastic glasses? Fuck that. I want yo-yos, TV antennas, shark’s teeth, all that shit, coming right for me.

  15. the best use of 3D is for putting boobs in your face

  16. “Karl Urban, the guy from everything”

    Funniest shit I read all day.

  17. Vern, since when do you acknowledge the existence of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake? I thought we all agreed it didn’t exist, because if it existed it would be the worst idea and dumbest piece of shit movie ever created?

    I think Karl Urban is great. He elevates everything he’s given to do, though he often does that job in thankless crap like Pathfinder, Priest and characters I don’t remember in Bourne, Riddick and LOTR. His Bones was awesome and it’s good that we don’t recognize him in everything. Even Red he elevated beyond the “guy looking for the main guys” role, which is all it was.

    Here’s hoping his star is on the rise enough to get good parts. Maybe Judge Dredd will be good and maybe he’ll be the next Nicolas Cage!

  18. Not to take anything away from you, Vern, but your review of Pathfinder was better than the actual movie.

    I do dig the Viking designs. I should, since they were basically Warriors of Chaos:

    But, yeah, other than that I can’t remember anything from the movie.

    As a fan of the REH Conan stories and the Milius movie I have no interest in seeing the new version. I like the character and like the world but even if it was a good movie I don’t think it being Conan would motivate me anymore to get out to see it.

  19. I wanna see Khal Drogo IS Conan, but i’ll prob stay home and read my Busiek/Nord Conan comics instead.

  20. Man, I hated that movie. And I really mean “hate”. I also got no idea how Vern can think that the action is NOT confusing. I remember at one point there was a fight scene that not just had a new edit every 0,5 seconds, but the camera was also constantly zooming, twitching and even DEFORMING!
    It was also funny that the German TV spots showed lots of blood splashes and the narrator kept highlighting that this movie was rated 18!

  21. Good to know I’m not the only one who purposely goes to see the 2D instead of the 3D release.

  22. “And I really mean “hate”. I also got no idea how Vern can think that the action is NOT confusing.”

    CJ Holden – You want my pet theory? You remember Vern in his THE ROCK review saying that the last 15 years of action movies have made him retroactively change his opinion on that one. (or translation: He finally broke after that lengthy painful interogation.. Nobody can outlast such torture.) I wonder if advancing years is making him kinder?

    So wait for 2026 when TRANSFORMERS gets the Vern seal of approval.

    (Nah just fuckings with ya Vern. Maybe Vern had a good day and was just generous? I saw PATHFINDER at the time on video, and only thing I remember about it was for such a movie with a simple but awesome gimmick as fucking Vikings and Indians, that was a pretty lame floater. I bet Vern will like COWBOYS & ALIENS too. What? I thought it was OK. Forgettable, but OK.)

    And yeah, the new CONAN looks like shit. The original one was pretty slickly produced, sophisticated actually despite having a reputation by most dweebs as being a mindless fantasy swordplay muscleporn. If anything, from the ads I’ve seen, the new CONAN almost looks like the sort of movie people perceive the original to be. And that irony if it pans out would be fucking hilarious.

  23. Actually TRANSFORMERS was back in ’07, so it would be ’22 if we’re going by the 15 year window. Apologies for my blooper.

    Also if anyone has ESPN, I hate those fuckers shoehorning that movie into their programs. I don’t mean ads or shilling it with the other commercials on-air, but I mean incorporating segments and discussion fucking points on sports headlines/topics. Just the other day, it was like “Before he goes to battle, Conan has a strategy. What strategy will the Jets have for this pre-season?”

    Who doesn’t hate that nonsense?

  24. Yeah, I think Vern slowly gets used to post-action (although he definitely will never start to like that style), but come on, PATHFINDER was the worst offender in this category that I have ever seen! The scene I described in my previous post looked like a bunch of still photos, that were constantly re-sized and moved around by a kid, who tries to learn how to use After Effects!

  25. I`m getting so fed up with all those remakes and reboots, and now they (stopid hollywood) are getting their dirty hands on poor innocent classics like Alien, The Wild Bunch and Blade Runner. They even remade Straw Dogs, even if they could have adapted the also good, but very different novel (the Siege of Trec-cough-cough-something Farm). I´m not even sure if the output from Hollywood actually IS dominated by re- and pre-movies or they just get all the attention instead of films based on original concepts and I`m not gonna find out for the next few weeks, because I finally discovered the briliant Buffy – The Vampire Slayer tv-show and it`s highly addictively and also brilliant. With pretty good action too. Thank god they`re not planning to remake the movie without Joss Whedon and Sara Michelle Gellar…

    Fun Facts: Buffy is indirectly responsible for the vampire craze, the superhero-fad, the fantasy-revival and the reboot-trend. I know it`s hard to believe that George Lucas is not behind it all, but:
    1) Buffy and Angel is the template for the girl and the vampire-guy romance in Twillight. (young girl meets old vampire in highschool, they can`t have sex, they whine a lot, but in a unfunny way, etc)
    2) Buffy clearly inspired Blade (vampires vs martial art), who paved the way for X-men.
    3) Buffy is the chosen one and best friends with a whiny boy and a brilliant nerd, goes to school and has to deal with all sorts of magic, like that Potter-fella.
    4) Buffy was a succesfull reboot of a terrible movie. Maybe even the first reboot ever?

    In conclusion: this is all way ot, but I can`t really understand why anybody wants to see a movie by a terrible director just because it`s based on another great movie. Haven`t we learned anything from Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc? And why haven`t we?

  26. Pretty sure the Blade comics were around looooong before Buffy, even the Kristy Swanson version. And the tone in Blade is way more brutal than anything Buffy had to offer.

  27. Also Rutger Hauer is great in the Buffy movie. But he is Rutger Hauer, so that was a given.

  28. This movie is a visual mess.

  29. I´ve seen Nispel´s Conan. Horrible movie if you like good cinema. A blasphemy if you are a Robert E. Howard fan.

  30. dieselboy

    I know, I used to read the Dracula comics as a kid, but if I remember correctly, the original Blade character wasn`t into martial arts. Also, he had an afro. But I`m sure that somebody watched the Buffy series (or read that it was a massive hit in some magazine) and thought that Blade would be a safe investment for an actionmovie. I can`t think of a movie or television show before Buffy who did the whole kick-punch-stab vampires and they turn into cgi-dust. And Buffy, while being for teens, is pretty brutal with decapitations, gore, intestines, murdered children, torture etc. I`m not saying that Blade is a rip-off, it`s one of my favorite action-movies, but it wouldn`t have been made if Buffy hadn`t been a succes. And without Blade, here wouldn`t have been X-men and the trillion superhero-movies that followed. And funny enough, they are all leading up to The Avengers, who are being made by…(dramatic pause).. Joss Whedon! Wow, heavy shit! Somebody should look into this!

  31. “they look like they just escaped from the Gwar dimension”

    I swear, one out of every 3 Vern reviews I laugh out loud.

    “I bet Brion James would’ve played that viking if he was still alive.”

    yes, he is missed, especially with news of the new “Blade Runner” movie Ridley Scott just signed onto that every movie geek or just plain geek is wetting their pants about this morning. For good reason!

    “there’s nothing worse than having an itch you can’t scratch”

    (that’s what Brion James said, not Vern)

  32. I love Blade Runner, but I really don`t wanna see a prequel/sequel. And it doesn`t mean shit to me that Ridley Scott is on board. He hasn`t made a good movie in over a decade (AND ruined Alien with his horrible directors cut). It`s just another case of finding something people love and squeeze every penny they can out of it.

  33. dna:

    Maybe they can script Jar-Jar Binks into a Blade Runner prequel? That might change your mind.

  34. Br baraka

    Nope. Sorry, I think that Jar-Jar Binks is overrated. Different strokes for different folks, right?

  35. dna: sorry, lame attempt at a joke. the response i was trying to invoke for you was to scream and rip your hair out at the horror of the idea ;-)

  36. Br baraka

    No problem, I`m more horrified by the idea that one of my former heroes are pissing on what is left of his legacy. I like Thelma and Louise, Black Rain, Black Hawk Down etc, but Ridley Scott has only made 2 true masterpieces and he`s about to lessen their impact. Okay, he might suprise me and deliver 2 awesome sci-fi`s, but I doubt it. He is the guy, after all, who cut down Alien because he thought it was too slow (and that did make me scream, rip my hair and throw stuff at the television).

    (On a side note, now I know that you`re not accusing me of being a starwars-apologist; Yes, I do think that Jar-Jar Binks was pretty funny in Clone Wars: Bombad Jedi. Please don`t tell anybody)

  37. As a Star Wars Fanbase Fundamentalist, I am appalled at your easy going attitude and willingness to entertain the notion that Jar-Jar Binks is acceptable in any capacity.

    Apostate! Heretic! You will burn!

  38. Hey, no Jar Jar Binks means no supreme power to cansellor Palpatine and therefore no clone wars, (and Clone Wars is a really good televisionshow, like Buffy, so give the guy a break. He was a nessecary evil.)

  39. I liked Pathfinder. You are right about it being very dreary though. Apparently Disney sucked up all the color for Pocahontas and didn’t give any back.

    Urban is hot lately. I didn’t like him in Priest though. He had this weird Clint Eastwood/ Jericho Cross thing going and it looked bad.

    Clancy Brown has presence. You may not be able to see much of him, but it’s like “Hey! That’s fucking Clancy Brown’s voice!” Or Mr. Crabs from Spongebob. Whatever. Clancy is good at what he does.

    I’m going to go back and watch this one.

  40. Karl Urban deserves better roles. For my money, he was the best thing about that Star Trek prequelboot. He might very well have been the last actor I would have chosen for Bones, but he ended up being the best. Get this man some more great roles, stat.

  41. Woah. How the hell did I never realize that Clancy Brown was Mr. Krabs? That just blew my mind.

  42. a spongebob + highlander mash up would work. and not just because of the casting overlap. more of a simpsons thing though



  43. dieselboy-“And the tone in Blade is way more brutal than anything Buffy had to offer.”
    Since you said “tone” and not “level of graphic violence”, I disagree. Buffy could be really harrowing and cruel at times, especially in the penultimate season. What with all the drug addiction metaphors, relationships self destructing or ending tragically and deaths of innocent characters, including Buffy’s mother at one point out of the blue due to an aneurysm, and Buffy’s best friend’s lover by random gunshot that only wounded Buffy, prompting said best friend to turn from gentle nerd to angry black magic wielder flaying the killer alive. Blade’s angst about being part vampire is nothing compared to Angel’s angst about being the most infamous, brutal and sadistic vampire in history before getting his soul back and being burdened by the guilt.

  44. I’m sorry Vern, but this is not a remake of Ofelas. This is a remake of Charles B. Pierce’s The Norseman (1978), with Lee Majors as a viking warrior (curiously dressed as a roman centurion) going up against an indian tribe who has capptured his father. It’s probably the worst movie ever made, but at the same time so unintentionally funny you’ll laugh until a little pee comes out.

  45. Please don`t spoil Buffy, I`ve only watched series 2-4. I think it`s quite graphic in places, but a lot of the violence is implied. But yes, it is emotionally brutal, characters you have invested a lot in get killed or turn into killers when you least expect it. Now I`m actually looking forvard to The Avengers. Joss Whedon is proberbly gonna kill off Iron Man, turn Hulk into some sadistic monster and make Thor homosexual. The man is a genius!

  46. Jareth Cutestory

    August 19th, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Majestyk: Apparently Tony Scott wants to remake THE WILD BUNCH. Either Hollywood is deaf to your outrage, or they’re trying real hard to fuck with you.

    That’s why I live in repertory theaters.

  47. Jareth Cutestory

    August 19th, 2011 at 9:35 am

    dna: Maybe Whedon will go the DOLLHOUSE route with AVENGERS: brainwashed superheroes that can be rented out for weddings and bar mitzvahs.

  48. BUFFY is probably my favorite TV show of all time, and I can see how it was a major inspiration for the geek-friendly media that followed.

    Please don’t hold that against it. It’s a great show and I can’t wait for Whedon’s AVENGERS.

  49. I always figured that BUFFY was less like THE X-FILES and more like that Jim Carrey vampire movie where he played his leg like a guitar. This opinion is based on absolutely nothing but the word “Buffy.” Maybe one day I’ll actually watch the show and make the necessary adjustments.

  50. My intellectual assessment of this movie is as follows:

    I fooking hated every single second of it.

    Thank you.

  51. Well, I just saw CONAN, and I thought it was better than PATHFINDER (which I hated). Not a good movie at all, but not as bad as I thought it would be. “story elements just laid out in list form instead of told to you as a story” describes it really well too. But that Momoa dude is likable enough as Conan, it has some beautiful Frazetta-y scenery. And some blood and boobies. Terrible action scenes though. Well I mean maybe they were good, but I couldn’t really tell, the camera was shaking like 3 inches away from the action and only showed 0.5 second shots of clashing swords, spiky shoulder pads and unrecognizable blurry stuff.

  52. My advice? If you can’t watch Conan in regular old 2D, then just go and watch Rise of the Planet of the Apes instead. It’s really fucking good.

    I mean, it’s an actual movie, with a story and characters you care about and good performances and a sense of direction and drive and anticipation and suspense and everything. I was truly surprised.

  53. Ya, Rise of the Apes fucking rules, favorite movie of the summer for me aside from Fast Five. I love that the apes are all distinct characters and they all get their own awesome action moment. Its like The Great Escape or Magnificent Seven but with monkeys.

  54. There was all that in the APES movie? I guess I missed it. I mean I was glad that the monkey from those SPACE CHIMPS cartoons got more work, but other than that…

  55. how good were the boobies and how many?

  56. Decent. Quite a lot of them and then halfway through the movie they disappear, sadly. Then a glimpse of Rachel Nichols’ body double’s. Then that’s it, but still, not too shabby.

  57. dna – My faith was considerably shaken in Ridley Scott after ROBIN HOOD. Yes Ridley, improve an awesome-sounding new spin on a legend by basically rehashing the same fucking shit again.

  58. Robin Hood started life as a spec script called “Nottingham”. It was about the Sheriff of Nottingham hunting down a villainous Robin Hood using 17th Century forensics tools. The script was the subject of a major bidding war and sold for 2.5 million dollars.

    With such a high profile script sale, the studio needed to get a heavyweight A-list actor in the lead. They sent it out and Russel Crowe signed up. Crowe is a big enough actor that he gets to approve a director. He gave a shortlist of filmmakers with whom he was willing to work. RIdley Scott was on that list and eventually, he signed on too.

    Dream come true, right? You have the biggest script in YEARS matched with one of the highest grossing and most well respected directors of all time at the helm with a serious leading man in front of the camera.

    Except, not.

    See, Scott is an Auteur. His films are about HIS vision. So, either out of ego or because it is part of his ‘method’, Scott had the script rewritten. First to have The Sheriff hunting Robin Hood in a different way. Then the sheriff BECAME Robin Hood by night, ala The Departed. Eventually, the script entirely morphed into basically Gladiator with a bow and arrow before changing into Robin Hood Begins.

    In all, the studio spent 10.5 million dollars ‘developing’ this script. (the film cost 250 million dollars and usually an A-list screenwriter will get 2.5-5% of the budget, so technically this was cheap). The original writers who sold it for 2.5 against 3.5 million…they got a ‘story by credit.’ No screenplay credit.

    So, all of that played into why Robin Hood underwhelmed.

  59. Wasn’t also at one point Crowe supposed to play Robin AND the Sherrif?

  60. Yes. Maybe I wasn’t clear. That was the version that sounded “Departed-y” to me. Crowe is the Sheriff, hunting Robin Hood…whom he is.

  61. Tawdry Hepburn – I got an off topic question for you

    would it be inaccurate to say you work in Hollywood?

    well is there any truth to all the conspiracy theories about Hollywood? like the Illuminati controls them or shit like that? or is it bullshit spewed by people that know nothing of how the industry actually works?

  62. All I remember about this film is that they had Karl Urban in eyeliner and a hooded top, and the Vikings actually called him “crying boy” at one point; until I saw Raging Phoenix I thought that this was what an emo action movie was. Urban may be one of my favourite actors who has never headlined a good movie.

    I second all the Apes love here, it’s like a real movie made by intelligent people who actually care about the work they are doing, or something (although not enough to hire a dialogue coach for Draco Malfoy, sadly). Worst contender for everything-is-in-the-trailer I’ve seen in a while though.

  63. Hm, should clarify: Urban is one of my favourite action leads who has never headlined a good movie. I appreciate not every actor has to be an above-the-title badass.

  64. Karl Urban did come a long way. Of all actors from XENA, he is the one with most successful movie career.

  65. Griff:

    It would be somewhat inaccurate. I’ve had meetings, optioned one thing, but I’ve got a shitty day job (that I’m thankful to have) totally unrelated to Hollywood.

    I may or may not know some of the parties involved in some of the more detailed stories I tell, but I am careful to only discuss matters that are on the public record. So really, what I’m telling you is hardly ‘insider’ if you read enough.

    But I do some film journalism…does that count? Because I don’t count that as Journalism OR Hollywood. Talk to Fred. He’s far more established than am I.

    And no, the Illuminati does not control Hollywood. It’s Unicorns who control Hollywood. And cocaine. Lots and lots of cocaine.

  66. I really, really don’t understand what was so great about that new PLANET OF THE APES. Sorry if I sound like a bit of an asshole here…

    I mean, sure, the CGI apes are sort of impressive. But they belong in BEOWULF or THE POLAR EXPRESS. There, in the middle of a live action film, they just don’t look right, they look like cartoon characters.

    This would be bad enough if it was the only problem of the movie, since they’re the main characters, but it’s just the main problem in a long list of things that don’t quite work…

    Nothing happens for most of the movie, all the best scenes were in the trailer and they’re not all that great to begin with… The movie sure takes its sweet time to get to the action scenes, which could be ok if they used that time for some actual character development or something, but they don’t.

    The female character seems to have been shoehorned in at the last minute. “Hey, our movie has no girl at all and it’s too late
    to rewrite the whole script!” “It’s ok, we’ll just shot the script we have, then digitally insert images of Freida Pinto looking
    pretty into some of James Franco’s scenes”. I mean, it’s not that every action movie needs a strong female lead who looks good AND kicks ass, but here it’s just so obvious that they didn’t have anything for her to do…

    And I know it’s just supposed to be entertainment and escapism and stuff, but couldn’t they have made just a little bit of an
    effort to make it look more like “old school sci-fi that has something to say about our world” and less “Here’s what Weta
    can do now, in case you’re interested in hiring them for your next monster/talking animal movie. Also, we’d really like to sell
    you another APE movie every other summer for the next 10 years or so, because we ran out of HARRY POTTERs and we’re too lazy to come up with new ideas. So let’s get it over with APE MOVIE: EPISODE I, and then you’ll see, the sequels are gonna be really awesome”?

    Why are we supposed to care about any of the stuff that’s on the screen? “See, the apes are the good guys here, because
    there’s this one dude at the animal shelter who’s really mean to them. Isn’t it sadly ironic how humans can often be so inhumane? I mean, that dude is evil, isn’t he? Doesn’t it show quite obviously that mankind is evil? Also, the dangers of science! Because you know, the good guy invented that cure for Alzheimer, and it turned out to be an evil cure, because it made the apes smart, which is bad. Well, sure it allowed them to become the good guys, and to be free from evil humans. But still, er, evil greedy corporations or something! Don’t you guys hate them? Because they made the apes smart? The apes we want you to see as the real good guys of the movie? Yeah, confusing, right? Anyway, that evil corporation sure got its comeuppance for cancelling James Franco’s experiments that created that evil cure. Next APE movie in 2 years. Pre-order the DVD now.”

    And the dialogue! “We invented a cure for Alzheimer that we called… THE CURE FOR ALZHEIMER”. Wow.

  67. I’m glad I’m not alone in my disdain for the new Robin Hood. It has a lot of good elements and actors I really like. It even has that big goofy dude from Smoking Aces / Lost that is on the same level as Clancy Brown for me in that I’ll go out of my way to see them.

    It’s a real shame it’s a bad movie. I also thought the movie perverted the point of Robin Hood and it became a libertarian fairytale instead of a story about the expropriators being expropriated. It’s one thing to be a bad movie but to totally not understand the source material in such a fundamental way just baffles me.

  68. Toxic-I can see what you’re saying with some of your critiques, especially about Frieda Pinto being squandered and really not having much to do in the film. That being said she was kind of the catalyst for the beginning of the fractured relationship with Franco I’ll even add to the list that the Draco Malfoy kid and asshole neighbor weren’t very well fleshed out antagonists and were one dimensional as could be.

    At the end of the day though, this is Caesars movie and that’s what I was hoping for. All the stuff with Franco and young Caesar is really just showing us how the drug came into existence. The movie was extremely entertaining for me the enitire runtime but I would say it really starts when Caesar becomes the focus in the animal rehab center.

    As for some of your other thoughts, specifically about the apes looking cartoony or like something out of Polar Express I gotta call bullshit and say your just trying to go against the grain. Maybe baby Caesar could have used a little more work but you can see where they spend there CGI money and time later in the film.Andy Serkis really crushed the role and this is maybe the first example in a movie with a CGI character that I didn’t get the “dead eyes” feel that plagues all the Zemeikis films of late. Were you just in a shitty mood when you saw this thing because it really seems like you hated every aspect and scene from your review and I find that hard to believe, I really do. Specifically, the action set pieces were fucking fantastic. You really didn’t like the Golden Gate bridge showdown?

    I would have been happier with a hard R version with monkeys ripping off hands and faces and beating people to death with their own limbs and shit though.

  69. Just saw Conan, it’s a huge piece of shit, don’t bother with it Vern, especially in 3d.
    It kills me that you can have an expensive-ass R rated movie like this and not have a SINGLE interesting sword-fight or action sequence.
    I’m officially done with this director, he manages to make a movie with action scenes every 5 minutes completely and totally boring.

    Also the score is AWFUL. This Tyler Bates guy is one of the worst most boring composers I’ve ever heard.

  70. Sorry, Toxic. To me your comments on Rise of the Planet of the Apes sounds more like the pessimist’s approach than legitimate criticism. I get the impression that watching that film didn’t switch on your suspension-of-disbelief and because of that you couldn’t immerse yourself in the story and enjoy it as the great piece of escapism that myself and many others see it as.

    That’s okay. It happens. Of course, sometimes it’s the movie’s fault. And other times it’s the viewer that just can’t seem to connect with the material or the filmmaking. I couldn’t connect with Scott Pilgrim vs The World. I liked it. Just couldn’t immerse myself in it. Don’t know why, really. Thought it would be right up my alley, but I ended up enjoying Sucker Punch way more. Now, I could try to look at Scott Pilgrim “objectively” and find that a more academic approach will show Scott Pilgrim to have more value than Sucker Punch, but that still doesn’t mean I enjoy watching it more.

    Maybe Apes just isn’t your cup of tea. I really don’t think it’s a dumb movie, though.

    “We invented a cure for Alzheimer that we called… THE CURE FOR ALZHEIMER”. Was that line in the film? I don’t remember it at all. Ba-dum-dum.

  71. The “cure for Alzheimer” line is definitely in the movie, at the beginning, when Franco is talking to the suits about his invention. What’s weird is that in the original trailer, the line was different. Then in the newest trailer they re-dubbed it. And then they kept the stupid re-dubbed version in the movie.

    As for the suspension of disbelief… I don’t have a problem with the drug/gas/virus that makes the apes smart, for example. It’s a sci fi movie, we don’t need it to be 100% scientifically acurate, so I can suspend my disbelief for stuff like that, no problem. But I do have a problem with the lazy writing. All the stuff that they use to allow the plot to move forward but makes no sense.

    Like, say, the ape at the beginning being able to crash the meeting and cause the cancellation of the program (because we all know that ONE apparent failure is all it takes for a company to cancel some experiments, right) just because apparently, that facility that works with apes has no anti-ape security to prevent angry apes to go from the labs to the offices. Since the ape is super smart, couldn’t they have made an effort to show that she outsmarted a bunch of guards and cleverly snuck past a bunch of security devices instead of just knocking down the one guy in the building who has a cattle prod and running like crazy?

    Or the cops charging the apes with sticks on horseback, just so that the apes can actually win the fight and escape… There’s a SWAT team there, why don’t they just use tear gas, grenades and assault rifles?

    dieselboy- I said that I couldn’t see what people found so great about the movie, I never said that I thought people who enjoyed it were lying, so the “I call bullshit, you’re just trying to go against the grain” comment is a bit uncalled for.

    I thought Caesar looked like a great CGI character, but to me he just didn’t look like a real ape at all. In an entirely CGI movie like BEOWULF, I would have been impressed, but there I couldn’t see anything but a really impressive cartoon ape inserted in a live action movie. I’ll admit I have the same problem with most CGI characters in live action movies anyway. Maybe they’re the best that technology can offer, but to me they always make the movie look like a modern ROGER RABBIT. It works better when it’s an imaginary creature like the aliens in DISTRICT 9 or some monsters in the LORD OF THE RINGS. When it’s something that can actually be compared to a real one, like a chimp, it doesn’t quite work.

  72. I’m not gonna argue with you about the look of the CGI characters. I’m a sceptic when it comes to CGI in general, and I don’t think any computer generated creation will ever be able to completely convince me. I’m still the number one disciple of the David Lean school of filmmaking (The story requires that we blow up a bridge? Cool, let’s build a real bridge and blow it the fuck up, then). But even I have to admit that certain films can’t be made without CGI, so I try to just make peace with it. I thought most of the CG apes looked fine, better than any I’ve seen in the past. And Andy Serkis did a hell of a good job. I agree with you about the Roger Rabbit thing, though.

    The cops with sticks on horseback were there purely as fan service. It’s an homage to the apes with sticks on horseback in the original Planet of the Apes, I guess. I didn’t mind it at all. Kinda made me go “so that’s where those sneaky apes got that idea from.”

    Some of those tricks they use to keep the story moving forward are just normal old writer’s shortcuts. We’ve been getting more of them than we should over the past couple of years, and that’s mostly because of the ridiculous pace that’s expected of blockbuster movies these days. But I wouldn’t call it lazy writing, just a little forced.

    Nothing wrong with shortcuts in storytelling (if done intelligently and at the correct intervals), by the way. In fact, it’s kind of essential if you want to engage your audience and have them participate in your story by using their imaginations and coming to their own conclusions. A few years ago I heard this one guy complain about what he thought was a “plot hole” in The Dark Knight. He was referring to the scene where the Joker crashes the party and Batman ends up jumping out of the building and falls on a car and the scene ends. This guy basically said that it didn’t make any sense that the Joker got away. He says that Batman would have gotten up and caught Joker as he exited the building. And I just thought “Huh? You call that a hole in the plot? That’s just a storytelling shortcut. At that point in the story, we already know the Joker. We know how smart and resourceful he is. The audience is allowed to assume that he had an exit strategy. What the hell?”

    I guess that’s how I feel about Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It has more shortcuts than I’d like and, sure, maybe they could have come up with something smarter. All films have their strengths and their shortcomings. I just think that this film’s strengths outshine the shortcomings by a mile. I love the character progression, I love the sense of brotherhood and camaraderie, I think the relationships in the film are deep and well-developed and somehow meaningful, I love the foreboding nature of story, and I think it has some incredible action set pieces.

  73. Jareth Cutestory

    August 20th, 2011 at 8:00 am

    But can James Franco play the piano anymore?

  74. No, but John Lithgow can, and he couldn’t before!

  75. Toxic-didn’t mean to come off so harsh, should have said “I call bologna” or something. You’re one of my fave posters around here and I think you usually bring way more to the discussions here than myself, but I still don’t see how you can’t appreciate the mo-cap work by Andy Serkis and the amazing job of transferring that stuff onto Caesar by WETA. I mean everyone is entitled to their own opinion or whatever and I can see not liking the film but your post had a tone of you being genuinely insulted or something, and I can’t get that.

    Anyway cowabunga dude.

  76. so it looks like both Conan and Fright Night are flopping http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=3254

    could this be a sign people are finally getting tired remakes?

  77. Nispel is a dolt.
    I have a little insight into the production of Conan, and the right director could have made something decent out of the script they had. Nispel just kept saying he thought Conan was just like Bond.

    Still, it was the most “Hollywood” experience I’ve ever been close to – basically early on the producers were saying all the right things (“We just want to set up the world with the first one, then we’ll start adapting all the stories in the sequels, we want a big Scottish or Irish Rugby-playing looking mother-fucker to play Conan, we’re going after (insert hot-celebrated-young-violent-indie/foreign-flick-director here) to really give it edge…) and then proceeded to betray every single word of it.

    Best place for Conan is premium cable, something akin to that Spartacus show. Get the right actor (ahem).Just do the books. Simple.

  78. Sigh. That sounds about right, Telf. They say all the right things (proving they’re not idiots. They do know, creatively the right choices, otherwise they wouldn’t be in that business.) But then they opt for the fast and cheap alternatives (proving that all they’re talk about nurturing a creative property was all smoke to conceal they’re true interest: Opening Weekend Box office. By the following week they’re precious Conan project will have been forgotten in favor of the next big prize on the horizon. Hollywood has got a cancer in the form of Marketeers.

    Ya know, the Conan as Bond approach kind of makes a shallow sort of sense but only just barely scratches the surface of what Conan is. It’s only a starting point to understanding the character and not the final word. It just goes to show that you are correct – Nispel is a dolt who’s creative thinking gets him only half way to a solution. But in Hollywood half way is usually considered good enough. They bank on the audience not knowing any better. They think we are the dolts.

  79. Griff: I think people are more getting tired of cheap looking movies and vampires. (And maybe Colin Farrell.)

  80. Geez, I really hope they’re not getting tired of Colin Farrell. After Tigerland, Phone Booth, The New World (masterpiece), Miami Vice and In Bruges, I’m an official fan.

  81. Speaking of remakes, even though the thought of a remake of The Wild Bunch make me want to live in a cave for the next four or five years, it does open up for some interesting casting fantasies. I don’t know how old Tony Scott are planning to go, but these guys should definetively be in their mid 50’s and up. We’re talking Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid, Steve Buscemi, Mickey Rourke etc. Robert Duvall has Old Man Sykes written all over him, of course. And who can play general Mapache better than Danny Trejo? Anything else will be bullshit.

  82. I detested this movie. Something that looked like impossible to screw up, a movie about vikings vs indians, was screwed up bythe braintrust called Marcus Niespel. This was the movie that made me despise this hackboy. Niespel is a back of such lowly (lack of9 quality as Michael Bay, John Moore and JJ Abrams. A plague on their houses!

    Fortunatly for me, the bad taste this PATHFINDER crap left on me was cured by the total awesomeness that is the english/danish movie VALHALLA RISING. i love VALHALLA RISING as much as i detest PATHFINDER. And that’s a hell of a lot. Yeah!

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