Did you know Pocahontas was real? I always thought she was a fictional Disney character from the animated movie, but she is real and this movie focuses on her life, as well as Captain Smith played by Colin Farrell. The director, Terrence Malick had previously worked on the critically acclaimed The Thin Red Line. Seven years later he turned his hand to early American settlement and history with The New World which is now out on Blu-Ray.
The New World is set in the 1600's and depicts the historical battle between the Indians and the English settlers who were led to this new land by adventurer John Smith.
Before this movie hit cinemas I recall seeing some trailers which looked pretty solid, and fairly action packed. Unfortunately this movie is extremely slow, long winded and quite the opposite of what you expect. Even the Blu-Ray cover depicts Colin Farrell battling a native, but this, in reality only occurs for a very limited amount of time in the film, probably only 15 minutes of the entire runtime. Christopher Plummer gets second billing in the movie, but is hardly seen and Christian Bale doesn't even make an appearance until the final act.
So who carries this film? Well it's pretty much a starring vehicle for Colin Farrell and admittedly he does a fairly decent job of carrying the picture while Q'orianka Kilcher is not only quite gorgeous, but actually fills the role of Pocahontas quite admirably. Can I recommend this movie? I would have to say no as it's just too slow. Still, some may enjoy this pacing more then we did.
The New World is presented on Blu-Ray in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and has been encoded using the VC-1 codec. For a movie that runs for just under 3 hours, and with some extras on the disc I was quite impressed with the transfer, in fact some scenes were simply gorgeous. Running at Blu-Ray's typical 1080p resolution we later discovered that some scenes in the film were shot using a 65mm film process which offers some remarkably sharp images. Some of the scenes in this movie wouldn't be out of place in a big budget nature documetary. Spectacular.
Also adding to the impressive look of the film is the fact that only some interior scenes were shot with artificial light. All the outdoor scenes were shot in natural light which adds to the goergeous look of the film.
Making The New World (59:08): Split up into 10 parts this is a lengthy look at the making of The New World. There is plenty of on-set footage and interviews with discussions about Terrence Malick's filming styles, constructions of sets, finding the actors including the 8 months search for their Pocahontas, filming and post production. I actually found this documentary infinately more interesting then the feature film.
Review By: Dave Warner