The New World Extended Cut Terrence Malick

The New World Extended Cut Terrence Malick
Unless subtitles count as a "special features,” there is no bonus material whatsoever on the new extended cut DVD of Terrence Malick’s The New World. Really though, with a running time of over 170 minutes, this version doesn’t really need extras. The New World, Malick’s retelling of the Pocahontas legend, is an ethereal and slow-but-steady paced retelling of how the young native princess (played by awesome newcomer Q’orinaka Kilcher) falls for Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell). He arrives as a prisoner and she asks for his life to be spared. The connection is made! Pocahontas later meets a wealthy tobacco farmer (Christian Bale, who’s fabulous as usual) who asks for her hand in marriage but of course, the story is about her and Smith, whose love is paralleled via the turbulent but ecstatic birth of a new nation. The tension between expansion and greed on the one hand and the stillness of untouched nature on the other is what makes the film so visually arresting in the first place. The extended cut keeps the story essentially untouched but inserts more of those lyrical, contemplative interludes that make Malick’s films so magical to some and dull to others. I fall into the former category, and in spite of the length thought this longer version made the struggles (of man vs. man and man vs. nature) even more poignant and sharp. One thing’s for sure, the new version looks and sounds absolutely beautiful. Malick elicits great performances but every blade of grass in every marshy field communicates as much as, if not more than, any human on screen. The visual and audio elements of the film are rapturous and meditative. For some, this extended version might verge on the far side of long and boring but really it’s a masterful and poetic contemplation of our past and present. Thumbs up to Malick for not resorting to shallow melodrama, maudlin dialogue or too much "acting” to carry this intense moral tale. (Alliance)