"Pathfinder: Unrated" DVD Review
July 31, 2007 by Zach Demeter
In a world where graphic novels are being turned into films faster than they can print them, itís not surprising a few low key film adaptations slipped through the cracks. Still, one has to wonder if the lack of advertising that Pathfinder received was not due to the fact the source material was bad, but that the film itself was so mediocre and bland that I can see the marketing people looking around at each other wondering how they were going to pull it off.
The story of Pathfinder is simple in the initial plot string: Vikings come to the east coast of the America's, before Columbus, and something goes wrong during their venture into the continent. All of the Vikings, sans for one young boy, is killed. The boy is adopted into a Native American tribe and grows up shunned from the majority of the training and events that the other boys of the tribe go through. The Vikings eventually return to the continent and this once lost boy becomes the only thing standing between the Vikings and their conquest of the continent.
From where the film goes from there is hard to tell. The boy never received training by the Native Americans so where he learned to fight like he did is questionable. On top of that the Vikings who come the second time do nothing but kill, making their purpose on the island even more confusing. The boy and his companion defend the continent from the Vikings by killing them off, one by one, but ultimately their efforts are hampered by the directing, pacing and just overall story of the film.
In the land of Hollywood, many films are produced that you wonder about later on. Why would someone spend money to finance this film after reading the script? As a comic book it works as a quick read and I quite enjoyed it (perhaps they sent the review copies of this film out wrong as well, because packing it with the original graphic novel it was based on just made the film fall even flatter on its face), but as a film it just is missing too much. I can forgive missing elements in a graphic novel but when films gloss over details about where he got his training and the whole purpose of the story in general, I want a refund. Of course in this case I didnít pay for anything, but a refund of my time wouldíve been adequate enough.
Itís a shame Karl Urban went from his role as Eomer in Lord of the Rings to this. The film is an absolute mess and while it may be atmospheric feeling at times, resembling the visual element of the graphic novel it was based off of, the film is ultimately a waste of time. Thereís nothing youíll find worthwhile and you certainly wonít take anything away from this film. Skip it.
Since my copy of Pathfinder arrived as an absolute screener copy (no packaging), I cannot grade the packaging or the disc art; menus, however, are nice and easy to navigate and unfortunately give off the impression you might actually be settling down to watch a good movie.
Video I cannot grade due to the watermark, but the 5.1 track does a job of immersing the viewer in the forests with plenty of use in the satellites. Itís a shame such a robust and clean 5.1 (as well as the slightly better DTS track) track is wasted on a film as this, but alas, at least your ears will have fun with it, even if your eyes are snoring.
The first thing on this unrated release of Pathfinder is a commentary by Marcus Nispel who wastes no time in engaging the viewer with facts and behind the scenes tidbits about the film. This is the second commentary track this month Iíve listened to that was more entertaining than the film it talked over and while it seems that Nispel really wanted the film to succeed in every way possible, itís evident to anyone who views it that something fell apart in the end as itís not nearly as brilliant as Nispel describes it as being.
There are seven featurettes on the disc and run a little over thirty minutes for all of them. They are your typical DVD featurettes, ranging from how the film was created to the sets and actors that were used. Plenty of cast and crew interviews interspersed in-between the extras. One of the more interesting featurettes is one on Clancy Brown, who plays the head Viking in this film. Itís hard not to be a fan of Brownís work (I know him best as the voice of Lex Luthor in the animated Superman series from the late 90s), even if you donít know who he is. Ranging from Lost to Spongebog Squarepants, Brown has huge list of credits (checking IMDb shows near 150 acting entries), youíve likely heard his voice more times than you can count.
Seven deleted scenes are the last of the special features (a bit of trailers are included as well, per usual) and all are worth skipping. Perhaps I would have enjoyed the film if they left the fart joke (yes there was a fart joke) scene in the film. At least I wouldíve laughed at it intentionally instead of just at it.
Overall, Pathfinder: Unrated doesnít deserve to be watched or rented. Thereís nothing of value here. Just move along and Skip this one.
Pathfinder: Unrated is now available on DVD.