A Whole New World

7 Dec

I suppose you know what you’re getting when you go to see a Terrence Malick film: beautiful cinematography, sweeping shots of nature (and lots of them), ethereal narration, major actors who have bit parts or who don’t appear until two-thirds of the way through, and a general sense that you’re watching a Very Important Movie and you should just get comfortable because Malick’s in no rush. All that and more is present in The New World, Malick’s latest film — which probably hits a theater near you on January 13 (if it’s not there on Christmas Day). The New World is Malick’s take on the founding of Jamestown in 1607, but instead of it being a historical document of culture clashes, Malick has made an epic love story. And this is not the Disney Pocahontas movie, that’s for sure.

To be honest, I have a hard time reviewing the movie. It’s not that it’s not good — and with sweeping camerawork, a beautiful score, and fine acting by Colin Farrell, it’s quite impressive. I can appreciate the film for what it is, but I just didn’t enjoy it. I just found it hard to connect with. My eyelids were closing at times, the narration got a bit annoying, and I really thought it was quite long — as opposed to Malick’s last film, The Thin Red Line, which was also long, but which I did enjoy. I’m no professional critic, just a frequent moviegoer (this was my 48th film so far this year), so I guess that entitles me to write about the movies I see however I want to. So, I’m not going to give this one a letter grade, because I don’t see how I could give it a B+ or A-, for example, when B+ is the same grade I gave, say, Wedding Crashers, and that movie is in a whole different league from The New World. So let’s leave it at that: The New World is an impressive, beautiful movie, but it didn’t make a connection with me, and I just didn’t enjoy it.

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