Apocalypto

Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Dinner - Veggie Fajitas
Movie - Apocalypto

Breathtaking. What esle is there to say? Apocalypto has to be, simply put, one of the most amazing films I have ever seen. I was worried that Mel Gibson wouldn't have been able to do it and that had kept me from sitting down and watching this sooner. I'm very sorry I waited.

The story itself is fairly simple (possible spoilers). Quiet remote village is overrun by ruthless warriors looking for captives. The village is completely destroyed and all of the adults are taken prisoner, leaving the children to fend for themselves. One man, determined to make it back and save his family, does everything he can to escape. I won't give away anymore. Except to say, and here's a spoiler so skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to know, that I was disappointed with the ending and the decision to include the arrival of the Spanish. Yes, I know, it was necessary in order to demonstrate the message Gibson was trying to get across: summed up quite well in the opening quote by Durant "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within". Somehow though, it just ruined it for me...

Apocalypto is visually stunning. There is so much to talk about it's difficult to know where to begin. The costumes, the hair, piercings, the makeup - including a plethora of tattoos. I can't comment on the actual historical accuracy of any of it but it certainly seemed to fit from what I vaguely remember studying in university. And then there's the scenery itself.

While other filmmakers may have done things differently, and perhaps better even better, I have to give Kudos to Gibson for choosing to use native Mayan speakers (or have the actors learn their lines in the native Mayan). Again, whether the modern language is the same as the language spoken at the time the film takes place is debatable but it's far better than if he had chosen to have them speak English - an easy way out that many other's would have taken.

It seems to me, and perhaps my memory is failing me, that this didn't so well at the box office, at least in North America. Honestly, I'm not surprised. I just don't think it's the sort of thing middle America (or Canada) would be interested in seeing (or would get necessarily).

Rudy Youngblood is great as the lead, Jaguar Paw and his performance is even more incredible considering that this is only his second film. I was surprised when I took a look at the poster for the film again and realized it wasn't him but rather one of his captors. While the poster/DVD cover is an intriguing picture, I would have chosen something different. Be warned that this is a very violent, very bloody film but not in an overly sensational sense. The violence fits both the story and the history. If there's one movie that you decide to watch this year, I highly recommend that you grab yourself a copy of Apocalypto.

This Captain recommends it so highly, I'm going to get myself a copy to keep.

7 comments:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Wow, that's quite a recommendation! I have heard mixed things about this film but now I want to see it.

Red said...

We watched this a couple of weeks ago. Like you, I had steered clear as long as I could, thinking it would be too bloody and gory for me, and I sat down to watch it half thinking that I would soon lose interest. Well, I was wrong. It was really rather good. Sure, slender on story, but it looked magnificent, and young Rudy was a very appealing lead. Even the kids were lovely (and coming from me, this is high praise indeed!).

For me the only bit that could have done with tightening up was the entrance into the city. Too long and bombastic. Yes, we get the message, it's populated by freaks and nutters, let's move the story along already.

Hehe, I hadn't noticed that the poster guy is the other dude. Well spotted!

Sheamus the... said...

loved the movie...one of my faves.

SME said...

I was awed by the visuals and acting in this, too, but the Spanish thing was just too weird for me. I don't expect crazy-accurate historical details from Hollywood, but c'mon...that's like a 1500-year jump, at least!

Gardenia said...

I too loved this movie - the visuals were gorgeous - I too am going to buy a copy to re-watch in the future, and I don't do that very often!!!!!

You did a much better review than I did and showed some of the beauitufly imagery as well!

* (asterisk) said...

Like Red said. Very good.

Avid Andy said...

brilliant and beautiful. i did notice there weren't any jews in apocalypto...coincidence?

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