30 Day Geek Out Challenge – Day 10

For the last couple decades, a lot of historical movies have disappointed with bad acting and vapid storytelling. The New World is nothing like those movies.

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Megan over at A Geeky Gal blog created this challenge for fellow geeks to share all about what makes them nerdy. You can see her completed challenge post here.

Favorite movie (or movie series)?

Man, there are just so many movies that I love, I am not sure if I can pick one favorite.

If you’ve read the other posts in the Geek Out Challenge, you already know that I love Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. I could go on and on about those franchises, but let’s mix it up, because my nerdiness is not limited to them.

One of my all time favorite movies is The New World, written and directed by Terrence Malick.

John Smith and Pocahontas embrace

This movie didn’t hit big at the box office, and I rarely hear people talk about it, but something about it just took hold in me.

It was released in 2005 and takes place in 17th century colonial America, when the Jamestown settlement was founded. It centers around John Smith (Colin Farrell), Pocahontas (Q’orianka Kilcher), and John Rolfe (Christian Bale).

Pocohontas is a well-known historical figure, and most people have an idea of her story (both the historical and mythological versions, which are often mixed together).

The New World focuses less on the big picture story that everyone knows and tells an intimate, profound love story about the clashing of two very different worlds. Dialogue is minimal and the tale is instead told through gorgeous, sweeping landscape shots, poetic character narration, and wonderfully acted penetrating moments between characters.

It won awards for its cinematography as well as it’s score, which was composed by James Horner (Titanic, Braveheart). Q’orianka Kilcher delivers a prodigious and transcendent performance, despite being only 14 at the time. Colin Farrell and Christian Bale both have intense, subtle portrayals that differ from their usual roles.

There area couple of things that hooked me about The New World.

There’s the history buff in me that loves a well-done period movie, and The New World delivered. While the love story between Pocahontas and John Smith is likely embellished, the historical accuracy of the setting and costumes was stunning.

I’m also a sucker for a great soundtrack, and James Horner was a genius who will be missed. The movie’s score is otherworldly. Oddly, none of the soundtrack’s pieces actually play during the movie, which is backed instead by popular classical pieces such as Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23. But, to me, the tracks encapsulate the film so well that you cannot have one without the other.

Most importantly, however, I had a deep emotional connection to this film. The depictions of those sweet, quiet moments in a new relationship were so relate-able. There’s also the fact that Kilcher’s portrait of teenage heartbreak was so raw and vulnerable, and I was going through a bit of heartbreak myself when I saw the movie. I still tear up when I watch certain scenes.

Q’orianka Kilcher as Pocohontas

For the last couple decades, a lot of historical movies have disappointed with bad acting and vapid storytelling.

The New World is nothing like those movies.

It’s a movie that is better when you surrender to it, letting it wash over you. I can’t recommend it enough, and it is very special to me. If you want to check it out, the DVD is only $10.99 on Amazon.

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Did you see The New World? What did you think? What is your favorite movie? Comment your answer!

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