New Movie Has Some Speaking Out

By: Summer Knowles
By: Summer Knowles

February 2, 2006

A new movie set in the past is claiming to tell the real story of John Smith and Pocahontas.

"Read some history books and find out what really happened because that's a much more compelling and interesting story." said Karenne Wood, a member of the Virginia Council On Indians.

That's the advice Karenne Wood, a member of the Virginia Council On Indians, offers after seeing The New World, starring Colin Farrell.

The movie is based around the legend of John Smith and Pocahontas, but local Native Americans feel the movie's depiction of history is inaccurate.

"The only two native American woman that have shown up in history are Pocahontas and Sacajewea and their both helping the white people. So you don't get any complexity of character or any sense that these people were intelligent and may have had motives of their own," said Wood.

That's why she and others are disappointed with what they're calling a blatant disregard of the facts.

"It's bewildering to me why anyone would spend $30 million to make a movie, $45 million to promote and then blow $75 million total by not doing a shade more research and devotion to the writing of the scripts," said Historical Writer Avery Chenoweth.

Both Wood and Chenoweth believe the nature of Pocahontas and Smith's relationship in the movie is misleading.

"To imagine a father and his daughter is probably more accurate than imagining a young man with a teenage engenue, who just stepped out of a playboy magazine."

But movie watchers say it's not the historical aspect that draws them to the theaters, it's the entertainment.

"When you're watching the movie you don't think of it as you're going to write an essay about it," said Ashleigh Bourne.

"It's just something to keep me occupied," agreed Justin Kuper.

The movie was written and directed by Terrence Malick and was released nationwide in January.

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