November 12, 2007


ApocalyptoApocalypto is Mel Gibson's latest film, about a tribe that finds themselves hunted by Mayans. Many are killed. The women are raped. The children are left to die. And the rest are tied up and led to a fate unknown at forced march. The movie then follows the efforts of Jaguar Paw, one of the villagers who was captured, as he witnesses the cruelty and viciousness of his captors on their journey, and then his escape and revenge.

A lot of the movie is cliché or at least predictable: the repetition of a "wise" saying, the replay of some activity or behavior that was seen earlier, or the fulfillment of prophecy told by one who is afflicted. I found myself being disappointed whenever these simple-minded behaviors or plot devices were used because they distracted from the beautiful setting of the film.

The film was shot in lush forests full of life and amazing sounds and sights. The actors were chosen to closely resemble what people of that ethnicity and time probably looked like. And all dialogue is in the native language, which adds to its authenticity and really helps convey the time, the culture, and the people. I think that's probably what I really liked most about the film; it transported me to a place in history.

However, I found the violence in Apocalypto a little harder to stomach. It wasn't that things were particularly cruel, like what I've seen in some other films. It's mostly that instead of people being wounded or dying by a sword through the gut, or an arrow in the back, people died by having parts of their skull scraped off, or being bludgeoned to death, or arrows through the back of their head. There was a lot of it, and it was graphic and blasé at the same time.

It's a little hard to watch a movie like this and forget that it was made by Mel Gibson. Recent events have made it clear what his personal feelings are about certain things, and one can't help but wonder if there are ulterior or subconscious motives at work in the portrayal of the Mayans. Still, this is an exciting action movie, as long as you're not looking for a deep plot.

Posted by josuah at November 12, 2007 5:48 AM UTC+00:00

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