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The New World back to product details

Malick in La La Land
written by chasiubao8 July 17, 2008 - 9:43 AM PDT
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Even stunning cinematography without a good script results in a striking absence of dramatic tension - even a National Geographic documentary has more dramatic structure. Little wonder the actors can't really sink their teeth into it. Rather than disclose truths about the characters, the camerawork is annoyingly voyeuristic and intrusive. It's true, Malick is more interested in inner revelation than dramatic storytelling, relying on the emotive power of the character's inner illumination and when that happens, it's a transcendent moment. Unfortunately, the actors softly mumble badly written monologue like a stupefied Prozac addicts, avoiding emotional highs and lows. What's the point of having a character mutter their disjointed inner musings that reify the scenery at hand? It's this mind numbing redundancy and sheer length of the film that make this film a chore to watch. Each of the main characters is too preoccupied by their own problematic relationship to themselves as they struggle to relate to each other while the world around them is dramatically changing. Its exceedingly difficult to use tragic historical events that set the stage for the eventual decimation of America's indigenous people as the vehicle to explore and re-imagine "new worlds". Malick made a concerted effort to engage Native peoples in making the film in order to remain faithful to the historical period, but ironically, the horror and tragedy that befell the Algonguins is never even dealt with. I concur with one reviewer that the making the film was not only far more interesting, but it paid more homage to the Algonquins than the film itself was able to.

a new cinematic world
written by slowworm August 8, 2007 - 9:40 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
This is one of those rare movies where both the good and the bad reviews can be accurate and useful to read. It doesn't work the way most movies do, but the ads and trailers gave no hint of this, and so viewers expecting conventional action or romance or political/historical content were sorely disappointed. However, those who were able to tune into the movie's immersive, impressionistic approach were rewarded with a masterpiece. I know of no other movie more like a poem -- but not everybody is into poetry.

Very disappointing
written by WZoller July 17, 2006 - 9:44 AM PDT
2 out of 5 members found this review helpful
It's sad when the "Making of" feature is better than the actual film. My wife and I thought that this movie was too slow, poorly edited, too long, and used the wrong music. And Colin Farrell's acting left something to be desired. The photography was its only saving grace.

Less than the sum of its parts
written by qgnb June 30, 2006 - 11:12 AM PDT
5 out of 6 members found this review helpful
"Days of Heaven" stands as the crowning acheivement of American film in the 70's, a period sighted excessively for its influence and accomplishment while over-praising many lesser films. Perhaps "Apocalypse Now" is the runner up.

Mailck's return to filmmaking 25 years later, "The Thin Red Line," was a transformative experience as well - a war epic with the spirit at its core. No one had ever done what Malick had done before - an American especially. He is an entirely unique artist.

But goddammit "The New World" put me to sleep. There was not a doubt in my mind that this would be the finest film of the year. But nonetheless, sometimes an artist is crippled by the very techniques and elements that have made them the artists they are.

This experience was very similar to that of "2046." A movie full of the expected images, feelings, essence of a vital filmmaker, yet only in pockets ... sublime moments surrounded by ... what? Time passes yet there is nothing. And it passes very, very slowly. Scene after scene - in both these films - I found myself baffled by what story or emotion was being communicated. Recycled stories I've seen over and over told in a style that I expected, rather than was surprised by.

I have seen the explorers/ natives conflict too many times. This story is dreadfully boring if that is all there is. It is really a backdrop, a matte painting, and nothing more. It is supposed to be the backdrop to the mythic romance but Colin Farrell is so inept in this role that the narrative sinks. I am really surprised I had not read anything of how badly Farrell tanks in this role. He looks like he is waiting to be told what to do in every scene, completely uncomfortable or about to fall asleep. He's just not the right actor for this kind of film. I actually thought "Alexander" was a pretty good movie and his performance in it, considering what he was given to work with by Stone, rather impressive. "The New World" was obviously a case of landing a big name in order to secure funding. An actor in a Malick film needs to be able to express complex emotions with a minimum of words. There really aren't very many actors who can do this. This was a very unfortunate mistake.

Though the images are striking, there is no deeper connection because of the lack of a strong narrative. I am amazed that the original cut of this was 155 minutes, and that Malick intends to release an even longer version at some point. The only possible way for this movie to work would be at a shorter length ("Days of Heaven" only needed 95 minutes and was all the stronger for it.) I am very, very sad in having to write such a negative review.

Beautiful and bewildering
written by Alicat June 15, 2006 - 8:39 AM PDT
3 out of 7 members found this review helpful
We are all familiar with the story of Captain Smith and Pocahontas - they had a very mad affair, and when her Daddy tried to kill him, she said - Daddy dont you dare. Disney even tried their hand at the story with the pretty Indian girl singing about the colors of the wind. What Mallick does here goes deeper any typical HOLLYWOOD, glossed up historical drama. Quite simply this film is transcendent.
As a viewer, you are put in the position of being a stranger in a strange land. You arrive on the shores of a beautiful, lush land and immediately begin chopping down every tree in sight in order to build a proper society. You as the stranger are oblivious to the beauty the land holds but the camera is not. Malick is a master at speaking in pictures. You understand the wonder and beauty of nature versus the ugliness of mans desire to own everything simply from what the camera sees.
The film has very little dialog which is good since most of the characters dont speak the same language. It was breath taking to watch Pocahontas and Smith communicate and fall in love, and to watch them understand each other with very few words. Again, Malick did an amazing job of communicating what was incommunicable.
As the film shifts to England, we are again a stranger in a strange land, but this time we are seeing the white mans hard world through the eyes of a natural. Malick never points a finger at any group of people, or tries to make them the bad guy. He simply and beautifully tells a story of the passage of time.

failed potential
written by rarcher May 21, 2006 - 7:58 AM PDT
3 out of 5 members found this review helpful
+ of this film: looks absolutely beautiful and they don't bombard you with music nonstop through every frame
- of this film: 1. what's the point of telling historical stories if you plan to rewrite the main points of your story?
2. most of the time when some "important" event happens, they skip right past it and then narrate what happened to you - interesting idea, but makes it difficult to FEEL anything for the people or events

Year's Best? Decade's Best? Why Stop There?
written by talltale May 4, 2006 - 2:59 PM PDT
6 out of 10 members found this review helpful
There were SO many better movies for 2005 (even some of the nominees!), yet "Crash" won. This typically "Academy" bit of nonsense seems even more foolish now that I have seen THE NEW WORLD, which is likely to take its place in the pantheon of movie greats. Writer/director Terrence Malick uses his typical artillery--voiceover narration, thoughts instead of dialog, ravishing photography, an intense love for and understanding of the natural world--but this time his subject is the discovery by Europe of America, and the result is profound.

I know so many of us keep saying this each time Mr. Malick makes a movie (not often, that's for sure), but, yes, this may be his greatest (until the next). Acting, script, editing, cinematography, sets--they're all here--plus a particularly fine first-time performance from Q'Orianka Kilcher in the Pocahontas role. From the first scene, as the British and the "Naturals" confront each other warily, in wonder, the movie grabs you and never lets go. Toward the end the similarity in the scene pacing does begin to drag the film a bit, but at last, content and style meld so beautifully that it doesn't matter much. Don't miss this, and someone--please--start getting that temperature-controlled vault ready so that a pristine print of this classic will remain once we're all long gone.


(Average 6.57)
118 Votes
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