Who's in It:
Colin Farrell, Christian Bale, Christopher Plummer, David Thewlis, Noah Taylor, Q'Orianka Kilcher
The Basics: In 1607, John Smith and a boat full of England's human castoffs arrived on shore at what would become Jamestown, Va. They settled there and encountered Native Americans for the first time. Then, with the exception of Captain Smith and Pocahontas, who pretty much want to take each other's clothes off right away, the fighting begins.
What's the Deal? If you've never seen a Terrence Malick movie, here's what you need to know: He's not like other directors. He tells his stories quietly, without a lot of yapping and hectic stuff. Meaning that there are a whole lot of incredibly pretty shots of nature and a big chunk of time covering a lot of Not Much Plot. If you're looking for a "this happened and then this happened" movie narrative, this will be a two-hours-plus lesson in patience.
Why It's Good: For the reason stated above. The story is about America's first culture war, about the first steps this country took toward paving over everything and drilling for oil in wildlife refuges, about two really hot people from different worlds who find love, about a young woman taken from what was a paradise and dropped into the much less pleasant corset-torture of European society. And it gets told in a way that will put some people to sleep but that will give moody, gorgeous cinematography junkies the fix they crave.
Cute-ifying History: Ever seen portraits of the real John Smith and Pocahontas? Well, they weren't smokin' hot. But would you watch this if it didn't have the slightly unnerving sight of Farrell canoodling with the strikingly beautiful, 15-year-old Kilcher?
Newcomer Alert: Half-Peruvian, half-Swiss Kilcher shares a last name with boring folksinger Jewel for a reason — they're related. Apparently, she sings like her famous relative, too, because she once auditioned on the revamped 1990s version of Star Search. If her career goes anywhere after this, you know Entertainment Tonight will be digging up that tape.
Crucial Differences Between This One and the Animated Musical: No stupid songs about the colors of the wind but sadly, no adorable talking animal pals. You can't have everything.