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The encounter of European and Native American cultures during the founding of the Jamestown settlement in 1607. Inspired by the legend of John Smith and Pocahontas, this classic story is a sweeping exploration of love, loss and discovery, both a celebration and an elegy of the America that was…and the America that was yet to come.
Adventure Drama - This is a very slow-moving drama. While there are some scenes of
violent battling, there is little in the way of action. There is
also not very much dialogue. This is a film for art-minded
moviegoers and not mainstream audiences.
The above rating is an average of the critic reviews below.
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Berardinelli, Internet CriticFull Review Good The New World is beautiful and lyrical and, except for the ill-advised voiceovers, a treat for more than one of the senses. And it tells stories about characters in situations worth caring about. It's a worthy effort, and recommended viewing for those who have interest.
Roger EbertFull Review Excellent Pocahontas could have brought them together. In a small way, she did. She was given the gift of sensing the whole picture, and that is what Malick founds his film on, not tawdry stories of love and adventure. He is a visionary, and this story requires one.
USA TodayFull Review Average The ponderous narrative lacks so much focus that it will likely leave most viewers squirming in their seats.
Note: The rating
above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on
their review. We are not affiliated with these critic's in any way.
OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
Based on a theater exit polling of 114 moviegoers: OUCH! These are TERRIBLE OPINIONS! Some of the negative comments were that it was too long, boring, hard to follow, dreary, weird. Critics rated "The New World" very high, for the most part. So, if your taste in movies tends to run close to that of critics than you will likely love this movie. All the rest of us should proceed with caution. I would suggest a matinee or wait for the video.
In the early years of the 17th century, North America is much as it has been for the previous five thousand years—a vast land of seemingly endless primeval wilderness populated by an intricate network of tribal cultures. Although these nations live in graceful harmony with their environment, their relations with each other are a bit more uneasy. All it will take to upset the balance is an intrusion from the outside.
On a spring day in April of 1607, three diminutive ships bearing 103 men sail into this world from their unimaginably distant home, the island kingdom of England, three thousand miles to the east across a vast ocean. On behalf of their sponsor, the royally chartered Virginia Company, they are seeking to establish a cultural, religious, and economic foothold on the coast of what they regard as the New World.
The lead ship of the tiny flotilla is called the Susan Constant. Shackled below decks is a rebellious 27-year-old named John Smith (COLIN FARRELL), sentenced to be hanged for insubordination.
A veteran of countless European wars, Smith is a soldier of fortune…though fortune has often turned its back on him. Still, he is too talented and popular to have his neck stretched by his own people, and so he is freed by Captain Christopher Newport (CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER) soon after the Susan Constant drops anchor. As Captain Newport knows—and the colonists will soon discover—surviving in this unknown wilderness will require the services of every able-bodied man…particularly one of Smith's abilities.
Though they don't realize it at the time, Newport and his band of British settlers have landed in the midst of a sophisticated Native American empire ruled by the powerful chieftain Powhatan (AUGUST SCHELLENBERG). To the colonists, it may be a new world. But to Powhatan and his people, it is an ancient world—and the only one they have ever known.
The English, strangers in a strange land, struggle from the beginning, unable—or, in some cases, stubbornly unwilling—to fend for themselves. Smith, searching for assistance from the local tribesmen, chances upon a young woman who at first seems to be more woodland sprite than human being. A willful and impetuous young woman whose family and friends affectionately call her "Pocahontas”—or "playful one”—she is the favorite of Powhatan's children. Before long a bond develops between Smith and Pocahontas (Q'ORIANKA KILCHER in her feature starring debut), a bond so powerful that it transcends friendship or even romance—and eventually becomes the basis of one of the most enduring American legends of the past 400 years.