Reflecting on Apocalypto

Where do I start?

Last night I saw Apocalypto. I thought it was great. I don't usually go to the movies. Useff convinced me to go; this was his second time seeing it.

As I said, I don't usually go to the movies. The last time I went to the movies was to see The Prestige in October. Before that, it was The Black Dahlia. These days, I don't normally make a decision to go to the movies; I go because my friends ask me to tag along. I should also mention that I'm not the biggest Mel Gibson fan in the world, especially after his drunken stunt earlier this year. I don't think I've ever seen any of his movies. Wait, I saw some of the beginning of Braveheart many years ago.

The movie was really good. I was surprised to learn that there was so much controversy surrounding it! I thought that people were just upset that Mel Gibson was directing another movie after The Passion of the Christ, or they were mad about the anti-semitic comments he made when he got arrested for that DUI. According to Wikipedia (careful, there's a REALLY long and detailed plot summary there), there's a pretty good list of things that people don't like about Apocalypto. These include historical inaccuracies, racism, misrepresentation of Mayan culture, and other bitchy things. For instance, people are upset that there are metal javelin blades displayed in the movie, when such things didn't exist in that civilization back then.

Ladies, gentlemen, this is a movie, designed first and foremost to entertain. It's production is sponsored by a major motion picture studio, not a historical society. Major motion picture studios are in the business of making money, not getting facts straight. They make money by entertaining you and I, and trying to help us justify spending $10 or more at the fucking box office. Why are people mad about this? Furthermore, I'm no historian or anthropologist, but I didn't feel like there was any racism or misrepresentation of the peoples represented in the film. Sure, there was some savagery, but it didn't leave me with the impression that these were a bunch of cavemen killing each other for no reason; I don't want to ruin the film, but believe me, there was clearly a reason behind the violence portrayed in this film. And those sacrifice scenes? What's wrong with that? The Mayans performed sacrifices. Often. I don't see what more people want from this movie.

Did you want a dead-on accurate representation of Mayan culture? Oh, you wanted it in two hours? Sorry, not really feasible. Did anyone complain that Gladiator showed an inaccurate representation of Roman civilization?

I walked away thinking nothing AT ALL negative about Mayan civilization, except that it was a fairly advanced "civilization", and civilizations generally shit on people in one way or another; just look at our system.


Basically what I took away from the movie was just a really intense experience. There was a lot of action, a ton of suspense, and a very vast and amazing looking world was presented in the film. I'd argue that the movie is as visually impressive as Gladiator. Now, I've never seen any of Mel Gibson's other movies, and I am really skeptical about his values after the anti-semitism debacle, but after seeing the movie I feel like he's an extremely talented filmmaker.

If you can tolerate violence, and appreciate a lot of suspense and beautiful environments in your movies, I suggest you check out Apocalypto and don't let the hype phase you too much; form your own opinion.


Anonymous said...

One movie however who is old but still as good is The Thing with John Carpenter.Nice page and have a great day!. :)

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