Captain Smith is spared his mutinous hanging sentence after captain Newport's ship arrives in 1607 to found Jamestown, an English colony in Virginia. The initially friendly natives, who have no personal property concept, turn hostile after a 'theft' is 'punished' violently on the spot. During an armed exploration, Smith is captured, but spared when the chief's favorite daughter Pocahontas pleads for the stranger who soon becomes her lover and learns to love their naive 'savage' way of harmonious life. Ultimately he returns to the grim fort, which would starve hadn't she arranged for Indian generosity. Alas, each side soon brands their own lover a traitor, so she is banished and he flogged as introduction to slavish toiling. Changes turn again, leading Smith to accept a northern-more mission and anglicized Pocahontas, believing him dead, becoming the mother of aristocratic new lover John Rolfe's son. They'll meet again for a finale in England. Written by
Make no mistake about it, this movie is appalling.
Yes, it has some haunting music, some beautiful scenery and one cannot fault the authenticity of recreating the period of history. The problem comes when you start looking around for a dialogue, a story, any excitement or any involvement in the proceedings.
There is an awful lot of people wistfully staring at each other, a lot of trees blowing in the wind, rivers, birds, spiders and, well, wildlife. It seems as if the director is waiting for a story to come to him, and in the mean-time, look at that flock of birds.
Another thing that strikes you, is the lack of a script. I think in the 2 1/2 excruciatingly boring hours of film, there must have been about 100 words said. Ethereal musings like "Who is he?" and "Where did he come from?" and pretensions like "What is life, Mother?" come drifting down from the screen. Meanwhile, from around the theatre I could hear moviegoers asking each other "What the hells going on?", "What are those birds doing?" and "shall we go?".
I am sorry to the other reviewers who have rated this film so highly, as I can see what they are saying to some extent. The problem I have is that to make the points that this film is ramming down our throats - about the destruction of innocence and good-nature vs. evil-"civilisation" - it does not need such a deadly passive storyline to do it.
I cannot help feeling that the director was doing everything he possibly could to stop the film being labelled as an "action" movie. He dampens every potentially good action scene so that it doesn't get too exciting. Even the few battles there are, are short-lived 'hand-bag' affairs where no one seems to get hurt - It's like watching "Pocahontas and the A-Team".
Unfortunately, in striking the balance between poignancy, style and story, he got it completely wrong. Movies like "Last of the Mohicans" have beautiful scenery, a love story, excellent action sequences, script and makes all the points this movie tries to in much less time.
I fell asleep in this movie. Granted I was quite tired, but this movie pushed me over the edge. I fell asleep at the bit where the girl meets King James until she is walking in the garden having been reunited with Cap'n Smith. I cannot imagine anything interesting happened in the time I was out and I am pretty sure I will never find out as I will not be revisiting this disastrously overrated movie.
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