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by Willie Waffle

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The New World

Instead of threatening to sue anyone and everyone distributing his candid sex tape over the internet, Colin Farrell should sue his agent for getting him into this New World mess.

Set in 1607, Farrell stars as Captain John Smith - a British officer sentenced to death once his ship arrives in modern day Virginia. Captain Newport (Christopher Plummer) decides to pardon him and sends the guy on a mission to establish peaceful relations with a tribe of Algonquians led by Powhatan (August Schellenberg). Smith is taken hostage, but he's saved when Powhatan's favorite daughter, Pocahontas (Q'Orianka Kilcher), intervenes and stops the other warriors from killing him (I guess it pays to have smoldering and brooding good looks). The two quickly form a strong bond, and Pocahontas helps the new settlers survive in the unfamiliar land, however, she and Smith are torn apart as relations between the settlers and the Algonquians grow strained.

Will their love overcome all?

Maybe writer/director Terrence Malick should go see Brokeback Mountain to learn how you put together a tortured love story because The New World is an overblown nature film with a flimsy story throw in to attract Colin Farrell to star in it, so someone would buy a ticket to see it. Malick forsakes storytelling, drama and tension to show the pretty trees time and time and time and time again. The movie screams, "look at the pretty tall grass, look at the people frolicking in it, look at the pretty trees." I like trees, too, but I'll go to the park to see them, and you don't have spend $9 to do it.

The dialogue is painfully sparse, and Malick could have cut a great deal of fluff to let the story come through and dominate much more than it does. He gives us shots of what is happening and you can somewhat follow the time line, but much more detail is needed to satisfy the kind of educated audience a movie like this would attract. Often, the movie becomes some sort of French art house flick with whispering narration, differing images spliced together with quick edits to startle us, and our two leads constantly flashing back to recount stolen moments they shared in better times. However, all of this imagery doesn't give the actors much to work with.

Farrell, Kilcher and the other co-stars often have to use their eyes to express what Malick is unwilling to write into the script. It's hard to tell if Farrell and Kilcher have any chemistry because they barely say anything to each other, so we see Kilcher spinning around in the tall grass, while Farrell strokes her hair or other body parts with as much affection as he can muster (kinda like in that other "movie".). Co-star Christian Bale puts in an admirable performance, but The New World has lulled most of the audience to sleep by the time he comes along.

The New World is slow, sparse and sleep inducing.

1 Waffle (Out Of 4)

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