2007 Preview: Pathfinder

Here's the first in my rapid-fire, pre-Christmas rundown of the movies 2007 has in store: released in the US on January 12th and in the UK on April 27th, Pathfinder is one of those epic, battle-filled movies -- only with Vikings instead of Orcs, Trojans, or whatever the hell else men with swords do battle against nowadays.

Now, as everyone knows, Christopher Columbus didn't actually "discover" America -- those pesky Scandanavians with the pointy hats were there first. Pathfinder sees a group of Vikings getting their invasion on, only to be fought off by a tribe of Native Americans. Carelessly, they accidentally leave one of their number -- a young boy -- behind, and after growing up with the Native Americans, he ends up facing his destiny as an adult when the Vikings return.

The grown-up version of that boy is played by Karl Urban, but he was probably off looking troubled in a corner somewhere, so I had a chat with Canadian actor Nathaniel Arcand instead.

Nathaniel plays a character named Wind in Tree; as he puts it, "my character is one of the few who are the future Pathfinders, and one of the highest ranks in the tribe. The Pathfinder is... well, a Pathfinder. One who knows everything about everything, leads the tribe to safe grounds where the game is plentiful. The Pathfinder even knows a thing or two about life, love, and eternity."

Although Pathfinder is ostensibly a historical movie, early indications aren't good for fans of realism. Like in Zack Snyder's 300, reality is sacrificed in favour of things that look cooler, and various IMDB keyboard jockeys aren't happy about that. Not that Nathaniel's bothered. "It's a fantasy movie," he explains, "but it just happens to be starring natives and Vikings. I'd just let it be that. I think people and critics should just enjoy the show and stop dissecting the bloody thing!" I'll consider myself told, then.

He relents a little bit. "What the cast did, that were native, was made sure that the dances and the way we looked were at least as authentic as possible. Too many movies depict the native man as some screaming warrior bent on being stoic and beating a drum with eagles flying overhead. It's bullshit!" It's obviously something he's thought about in some depth. "Since the first time that the Spanish and English and whoever else came to this land, they took from us whatever they could take, even our language and our ways. Today, the people are trying to find what was taken and restore what was a beautiful culture and nation. If I were the Pathfinder, I would lead the people to peace, love and happiness."

We'll have to wait for a while yet to find out what the Pathfinder actually does lead the people to in the movie. Still -- spiky Viking hats, people! Get excited!

IMDB link

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