This week at the movies brings us three culture clashes: Native Americans and Europeans ("The New World"), the Waodani people of Ecuador and a group of missionaries ("End of the Spear"), and, uh, werewolves and vampires ("Underworld: Evolution"). What will the critics say?
Ever since the huge success of "The Passion of the Christ," Hollywood has been looking for movies for religious folks that will cross over to the non-devout as well. "End of the Spear" tells the tale of an Ecuadorian warrior who, by tribal tradition, adopts the family of a missionary he has killed. While some critics have praised the film’s visuals and redemptive message, others say the message is a little too ham-fisted. It’s currently at 58 percent on the Tomatometer.
Like the return of Halley’s Comet, director Terrence Malick‘s films are so rarely in theaters that it’s cause for celebration when they appear. With a career that began with the brilliant "Badlands," Malick is a master, but a reclusive one. His latest is "The New World," a meditative, evocative take on the Pocahontas/John Smith tale. The critics are pretty divided on this film; for some, it’s lyrical, visionary, and poetic, but for others it’s a slow, pretentious bore. At 58 percent on the Tomatometer, it’s well below Malick’s 79 percent career rating.
One of the main principles of Darwin’s theory is survival of the fittest. It appears the studio didn’t think "Underworld: Evolution" was all that fit, since it wasn’t screened for critics. (Or maybe it wasn’t a work of intelligent design, either. Just covering all the bases.)