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One spy sails to Terrence Malick's NEW WORLD and wants to stay!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a look at Terrence Malick's John Smith/Pocahontas tale THE NEW WORLD. This one was supposed to come out last month, but I think the studio decided to go for maximum Oscar exposure and release it at the tail end of December, which is understandable. Malick's movies are brilliant, but not really money-makers, so the awards buzz could be just the push it needs. Whether it's a box office smash or flop, I really don't give a shit. I just know I'm dying to see this one. Malick's films are very poetic and no one working today gives us a movie like Malick does. Enjoy the review!

Hey Harry and gang,

First time reviewer, long time reader.

Last night I had the privilege to see Terrence Malick's latest film "The New World". I haven't heard too much surrounding the picture (which doesn't surprise me) so I thought I'd chime in with my two cents.

I am a fan of Malick's other three films: "Badlands, "Days of Heaven" and "The Thin Red Line" so I was really looking forward to this one.

I'll come right out and say it: I LOVED IT. You'll have to wait a moment about why I loved it. I have to give a bit of exposition first.

The film follows Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher) through the time that the Jamestown settlers arrived in Virginia in 1607 to the time she moves to England in 1615 (or there abouts)

It is through voice over that most of the film's dialog is heard. Otherwise it could have almost been a silent film with a music track. Pocahontas, whom is never referred to by that name, narrates most of the time as does Captain John Smith (Colin Farrel) and John Rolfe (Christian Bale) the two other staples of the film.

There isn't much of a story in the sense of traditional Hollywood fare. Yes, events happen, things develop, but it is in the realm of a visual poem. The film moves along well enough, but as are all of Malick's films, it is in a meditative state. Thus some audiences might feel bored.

And before any of you say, this is a boring review, it is quite hard to write about a film that was such a unique experience for me. So I'm going to use the example of "King Kong" to help support my "New World" reasoning...

"King Kong" was pure excitement. It was on the surface. Bubbling over. Things were right there. I was emotionally involved in the film. I almost cried several times...

But "The New World"... well that went a little different. It went deeper, beyond the core of my emotions, into the realm of sub conscious. A place where I experienced almost no thought, no sadness, just pure being. Existing. It was in such a way that it was like floating on water, moving downstream. Letting the current take you.

That is why I loved the film. It was pure cinema, right down to the core, beyond the core. I don't want to sound too cheesy but the film lives inside me. It was so full of life and beauty.

All right, enough sappiness you say. Let's get down to the basics. The acting is good. Q'oriana Kilcher plays Pocahontas and she is lovely. Subtle, natural, honest. Her performance is of course the one that people will call a stand out. Malick seems to have fallen in love with her and he makes the audience fall in love as well.

Mr. Farrell on the other hand does his part. He is a conflicted man. A man that comes to this new world expecting to be executed but gets a second chance. Farrell brings both a love and a skepticism to his John Smith.

And then there's Batman... Bale doesn't appear in the film until rather late and doesn't do much. But his Rolfe is a good man, genuine and peaceful. Which actually surprised me. He is in no way jealous or angry when he finds out about Smith and that Pocahontas, now called Rebecca, is still in love with him.

Christopher Plummer's role seems to have been cut down. The dialog from the trailer about living in peace with these people and not letting America go wrong in it's first hour, is completely gone. In fact speaking of dialog, much of what we hear can be hard to understand because of accents. This however does not detract from the film. Most of the dialog could be considered unimportant anyway. The cinematography was gorgeous. I think I've made that evident so far. The camera captures nature and the natives in such a way, that you are taken there. It is like traveling back in time. This film is probably as close to authentic as films can get.

After the screening I attended there was a Q and A with the costume designer and set dresser and like the LOTR films, you could just feel the love they had for this project. The great bond the crew had. All the natives' costumes were made locally in the Jamestown area with the help of artisans. They shot ten miles away from the actual Jamestown site. They actually built the Jamestown set out of the same materials that the settlers did.

To hear about how Malick works was a treat. He shoots three hundred and sixty degrees, so all sets have to be fully built. And he never cuts until the film rolls out.

"The New World" is so far off the beaten track, I honestly don't know how people will react overall to the film. New Line is marketing it as a historical epic with substantial action.

It is not that film.

All I can hope for is that people will give it a chance and see it.

Well that's about all I can muster for a review.If you use this call me... Son of Indy

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 18, 2005, 9:41 p.m. CST

    Beyond the core

    by Sandinista

    sheesh. But hey, I

  • Dec. 18, 2005, 9:45 p.m. CST

    More on Che

    by Sandinista

    sorry, Im just thrilled someone will finally read my posts. I

  • Dec. 18, 2005, 10:01 p.m. CST

    Sounds interesting

    by Bean_

    I dunno if I buy this 'core' stuff, but I'll go with an open mind.

  • Dec. 18, 2005, 10:06 p.m. CST

    Oh great, more multiple, portentious Malick voiceovers.

    by Osmosis Jones

    I'm sre this film will be pretty to look at, but it sounds every bit as pointless and pretentious and shapeless as The Thin Red Line. At least Disney's version have us a legal, super-hot Pocahontas...

  • Dec. 18, 2005, 10:24 p.m. CST

    I'm game

    by leesheri

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 12:09 a.m. CST

    Son of Indy

    by Magic Muppet

    Is this a subtle hint? ;-)

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 12:12 a.m. CST


    by Magic Muppet

    Forget Matthew Fox as Indy, I'm warming to Josh Holloway donning the fedora ...

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 2:06 a.m. CST

    I read the first paragraph and stopped....PLANT

    by mildewproduction

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 4:09 a.m. CST

    Never said this before, but...

    by Koola_Norway

    ...could this guy be a plant? He's namedropping all these geek-movies, shitting at the studio in the end, all sort of elements that can make him say "No, I'm not a plant, couldn't you see all the geek-movies I namedropped? And I even took a dump on New Line marketing... Geeee....." And this makes him the plant I wouldn't listen to in a review. BUT: I'm reaaaalllly looking forward to this motion picture. Malick is a lock in my eyes. I'll always see it, whatever plants or critics say.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 5:23 a.m. CST

    Talking trees? Pet Raccoons?

    by theBigE

    If the movie doesn't have talking trees or pet raccoons, then it isn't the true story of Pochantas! Stop messing with history!

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 6:12 a.m. CST

    Oh boy.

    by Lezbo Milk

    another Malick film. Now we can look forward to the "uppity" talkbackers telling us how "smart" and "culturally sophisticated" they are, and how the rest of us are "stupid cattle" for not enjoying an obvious work of art. I can't wait.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 6:41 a.m. CST

    Yes, this reeks of green.

    by PoweredUpPacman

    Review says you. Plant says I. With leaves 'n stuff. Anyhoo, can't wait to see them-purdy-pictures-slideshow by malick & Co.. I just hope the narration isn't as sleep-inducing as it was on Thin Red Line. Snore-ville, here we come!

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 7:32 a.m. CST

    Am I the only one who pretty much NEVER wants to see anything el

    by minderbinder

    I'm getting that way with Russell Crowe and Tom Cruise as well. I guess my threshold for poor choices in movies and annoying bullshit has dropped?

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 7:47 a.m. CST

    No, it's not just you.

    by FluffyUnbound

    Although personally I've never been much of a Farrell fan. Whatever talents he possesses don't come across on film, perhaps because his chief talent [fellating men] can only be appreciated in person. I'm not as annoyed with Russell Crowe yet, because Crowe is simply talented, and because I think there are times when hotel desk clerks NEED to get hit in the head with phones.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 8:04 a.m. CST

    Thin Red Line was horrible...

    by BigTuna

    And yes, it did seem horribly pretentious. The book is much, much better. TRL was a meandering mess that tried so hard to be deep it was pathetic. Of course film snobs will eat it up because it was the rebel Malick's first film in 20 years and was a film the general public would hate. It's a freaking snoozefest!

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 8:25 a.m. CST

    Disney's Hot Pocahantas

    by Borgnine JR

    I took my 3 god daughters to see Disney's Pocahantas when it came out in theaters years ago and they were so bored stiff with it that, as the cool godfather, I snuck them out and we snuck into "Bad Boys" instead. We all loved it.I'd like to see Malick remake THAT movie.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Damn, I was hoping this was going to be South America

    by chrth

    Oh well, guess I'll have to wait for Apocalypto.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 8:42 a.m. CST

    Beyond the Core??

    by DannyOcean01

    I would hope so, that film sucked...

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 9:21 a.m. CST

    sounds cool

    by movieman742

    I'm pretty excited to see this film. I've heard that it had little dialog but what Son of Indy suggested is that there is virtually no dialog without the voice over. Should be interesting.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Chris Plummer's part cut down? WTF? That was the only reas

    by Gungan Slayer

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 12:12 p.m. CST

    by oisin5199

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 12:18 p.m. CST

    two words for Colin Farrell haters

    by oisin5199

    Well, two titles anyway. 'Intermission' and 'A Home at the End of the World.' I know Farrell can be a smarmy bastard and seems annoying in most of his flicks (I won't even mention the 'A' word), but these two films were excellent. Intermission was a variation on his badboy character, but in a great little Irish flick with Cillian Murphy, Colm Meaney (who's hilarious) and Kelly Macdonald. And at Home at the End of the World (yeah, the one with the penis scene), I was actually surprised to find out I believed Farrell could play naive and innocent. Another quite good film. And I've always loved the early colonial stories (Roanoke and Jamestown) since I was a kid, so I'm looking forward to this. The trailers look pretty cool.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Thin Red Line was horrible...

    by Doom II

    Yikes! Now I feel like an idiot for loving that film all these years. Shit, I saw it three times in the theater and several more on dvd. PLEASE from now on, let me know which films are horrible, because apparently I am unable to do this on my own. I also loved Badlands (Malick's first film) and thought it was WAY ahead of its time. Was Badlands any good? Save me from further humiliations and tell me what movies I should like. Thanks again!

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 1:08 p.m. CST

    Malick needs to make "Bigfoot on a Plane"

    by Drunken Rage

    Multiple pov/vo not needed. Nor would he need to shoot until the film ran out.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 1:32 p.m. CST

    Hey DoomII you don't have to be such a sarcastic A-Hole

    by BigTuna

    I thought TRL was horrible, that's my opinion. Just like you have yours about it being a great film. As I said, I thought it was trying too hard to be deep that for me, It felt forced. And yes, I have seen Badlands and think that, as well as Days of Heaven are amazing films. Just try to accept not everyone will agree with your views, ok? Since I have seen Malick's other films, and read James Joyce's novel (which, as I said was far superior) I figured i'm qualified to at least comment.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 1:59 p.m. CST

    BigTuna, James Jones wrote "The Thin Red Line" not James Joyce.

    by ExcaliburFfolkes

    Though I would be intrigued to see Malick tackle a film adaptation of either Ulysses" or "Finnegans Wake".

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 2:31 p.m. CST

    I've loved all of his... count 'em "THREE" movies so far

    by alucardvsdracula

    And in my opinion The Thin Red Line is one of THE great war movies, along side The Big Red One, Private Ryan and Where Eagles Dare. Yep, Where "fucking" Eagles Dare, you heard me right boy. Clint Eastwood gunning down hundreds of nazi scum with a stonking fucking erection. Now THAT's a fucking movie.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 3:20 p.m. CST

    I've only been introduced to Terrence Malik films this year

    by AwesomeBillFunk

    I was lucky enough to see Badlands at the Astor and Days of Heaven on dvd, and fuck man.. wow. I now have a serious man crush on Terrence Malik films.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Hey DoomII you don't have to be such a sarcastic A-Hole

    by Doom II

    Then don't tell people that a movie was "....". Say, "I thought it sucked etc". You made a braod statement across the board. The Thin Red Line Was Horrible! No, it wasn't to me. I posted for 3 days ragging when Harry said that The Fog remake was the "Second Worse Film I Have Ever Seen". No it wasn't. He's seen HUNDREDS of films worse than the new Fog. I have and I've seen 1/3 of the films Harry has. Yes, I take things literally because that's how people write on this site.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 3:51 p.m. CST

    A little off topic, but.......

    by Doom II

    I am watching a recently released dvd called Ambush Bay. 1966 flick about Marines invading a Japanese held island. Anyone heard of it? Pretty cool. A good amount of blood also. In fact, I didn't know they had violent war films that far back (lots of blood and bayonette stabbings etc). Gotta love those old WW 2 era camouflage uniforms (GI Joe anyone?).

  • Give me a break dude! Who says that on this board? No one. You're touchy because I knocked a film you liked and you think I don't know what a good film is because of it. If I say "It Was Great"(A broad statement) it would be a non issue.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 4:27 p.m. CST

    "Thus some audiences might feel bored"

    by newc0253

    translation: terence malick has still got his head up his ass.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 5:01 p.m. CST

    Does it have boobies?

    by SG7

    ...that is all.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Colin Farrel...

    by RezE11even

    ...never fails to entertain me. He's got some damn fine talent that shows up in things like Home at the End of the World and Phonebooth, and he is always having fun and making things like American Outlaws and Daredevil watchable. Sure, he might be an asshole in person, but I've never met him so I can't say. And even if he took a shit on my shoe, I'd still dig the hell out of his movies.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 5:28 p.m. CST

    well this makes a change...

    by phortonfour

    Doesn't sound like this has gone for the 'action adventure' approach. But the quesiton is - how will it compare to the Disney cartoon? Just kidding.

  • Dec. 19, 2005, 5:36 p.m. CST

    Sounds like the same vibe as the other 3 Terrence Malick films

    by jrbarker

    I'm looking forward to it.

  • It divides people. I am not offended you didn't like it. It's slow and bizarre. Not your taste, fine. I think it's beautifully shot, acted and the music is A+++ Just the statement you made was a typical AICN slam. No reasoning (at first). Very defensive. Now, Saving Private Ryan I truly DO NOT understand when people hate that movie. As a fan of war films, Ryan is among the top 3 (in my opinion).

  • Dec. 20, 2005, 1 a.m. CST


    by The guy

    This movie sounds like shit. Only critics and film industry people will love it and it will bomb at the boxoffice because regular folks aren't gonna pay their hard earned money to watch a visual poem. Fuck that. I love me some giant ape.

  • Dec. 20, 2005, 8:11 a.m. CST

    If you people seriously think...

    by Mr Bungle

    ....that Colin Farrell (however big an asshole he may be - is that because he gets more women than everyone here commbined?) can't act, then you're bigger idots than I thought you were. The man's talented. Very talented, asshole aside.

  • Dec. 20, 2005, 1:36 p.m. CST

    Who the FUCK has seen Days of Heaven without seeking to?

    by dr_dreadlocks

    Honestly, no casual viewer is just going to catch that on F/X or something. Like, when you're a fan of a filmmaker just state flat out that you "adore" his films. So we can ignore the rest of the review and bitch about the first paragraph a bit easier, so it feels like we're validated. God, if you're going to rave, at least play by PLANT rules and make it easy on us.

  • Dec. 20, 2005, 11:26 p.m. CST

    I think the only reason I'm going to see this is to see the

    by Psalmolive

    No HD video format can compete with the resolution and colour depth of 70mm film. At least not yet.

  • Dec. 21, 2005, 1:30 p.m. CST

    Crazy Colin

    by lordasriel

    Most people agree Alexander was tosh, but i will defend Farrell to the last. Did a fantastic job in my opinion. Phone Booth, Tigerland, Intermission, A Home At The End Of The World, these are the films you should judge him on, not S.W.A.T.. Sure he does Hollywood bullshit sometimes, but which any well respected actor doesnt?. The Brian Cox/Liam Neeson brigade have simply cashed in hammy roles in big blockbusters for a while now. The seem to have forgotten to make the movies that got them recognition in the first place.

  • Dec. 22, 2005, 2:25 p.m. CST


    by PantherMatt

    Doom, the simple fact that BigTuna wrote the post automatically implies that BigTuna is the one who thought Thin Red Line sucked. No one read BigTuna's post and thought "hmmm, Doom II thought Thin Red Line sucked" ok? In other news, "Thin Red Line" was chock full of lousy performances by big name stars who should perform better. Also, there was no depth to mine in that film, which is another reason it sucked: it doesn't take long to get to the bottom of a two feet deep well. Plus, the gauzy, moronic girlfriend flashbacks, and the more-endings-than-Return-Of-The-King thing didn't help either. For all the Malick fans out there (and I know there are many) I hope this film does it for you. But more than that, I hope this film does it for ME, 'cause I'm sure I'll be seeing it...