Question: What do you expect when you go see a movie about Pocahontas? If you answered cuddly forest creatures in a song and dance musical spectacle, then be prepared to be disappointed by “The New World.” On the other hand, you might just be disappointed altogether if you ever get around to seeing Terrance Malick’s latest film “The New World.” Writer/director Malick fails to furnish his monumental fifth film, over a forty-year career, with any profound value. Try to keep a straight face when you hear this but, Collin Farrell stars as the pioneer John Smith, along with Christian Bale and new comer Q’Orianka Kilcher.

Is mainstream cinema so starved that they need to concoct a love story around a somewhat minor historical figure? Apparently. “The New World” begins with the arrival of the first settlers to the Virginia coast. Immediately they come into contact with some of the native Indians. In order to save his own condemned life, John Smith must take on the hazardous task of sailing up river and bartering with the local chief. After being ambushed and sentenced to death by the misunderstanding natives, young Pocahontas (Kilcher) throws herself over Smith. From there, the love story begins but the pioneer story ends. Smith and Pocahontas spend one too many scenes walking through fields of high grass and playing charades. In one of the films more contrived moments, Pocahontas brings the starving settlers supplies and food in the dead of winter. As all the British pioneers kneel and give thanks to Pocahontas it is not too difficult to see what festive holiday Malick was re-enacting. Malick has a knack for visual beauty. All of his films have long shots of the natural flora and fauna and the beauty of the natural world. Sadly, Malick might employ this a little too much for most viewers. After twenty minutes of scenery, the story of Pocahontas begins and the love story ends. She is exiled from her tribe for falling in love with a white man. Then Smith leaves her and goes back to England to be reassigned. Acclaim should go to Kilcher for doing a surprisingly good job in her first movie, not to mention a movie where she is the lead actress. As the film goes on and she is seduced by John Rolfe (Bale) and stolen back to England, one realizes “The New World” is not about America at all, but about Pocahontas.

The film never settles on a single story line and moves at such a snail’s pace that it’s hard to stay interested. Characters appear on camera but never actually say anything, thanks to voice over delivery of most of the lines. Colin Farrel’s acting ability is limited to one single distraught look, which is constantly found on his face, like when he realized he spilled his Guinness when he stubbed his toe. All character interaction is non-existent and the line from the trailer, “Please do not let America falter in its early hour” is never said actually in the film. I hate when movies do that.

On the small plus side, “The New World” is an extremely beautiful movie. The face paint and costumes of the Indians are astounding and thankfully, the film used real Native Americans in the roles of the Indians. James Horner’s soundtrack is another highlight of the film – his compositions perfectly capture the sound of Reconstruction-era music.

“The New World” is not about America, it’s not the true story of Pocahontas and any historical relevancy is pushed to the wayside for shots of rivers and the sky at magic hour. So what is “The New World”? It’s Terrance Malick’s fifth image masterpiece that will not be recognized for another five to 10 years. All of his movies are considered monumental but for the majority of moviegoers, “The New World” will come and go, and find itself in a warehouse full of other forgotten classics.