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The Seeker 12-19-2006 11:49 AM

Apocalypto
 
So everyones likely heard of Mel Gibson making a public @$$ of himself. Some have gone so far as to boycott his movies because of it. I tell you now, anyone who misses Apocalypto is going to miss something crucial in movie history.

It is above and beyond the absolute best movie I have seen all year if not ever. It's huge, but centered around one man; epic, but grabs you on a personal level. The intensity of it is just so well paced that the +2 hours flies by.

I have heard people talking in disgusted tones saying "It's so gory" and you know what? it is. But like the rest of the movie, it's done so well that it adds to the story rather than detract. It isn't like the violence in Kill Bill or the fights in most modern movies. Sure there are still beating hearts being pulled out of chests, throats being slit, and heads being bashed, but it's all so realistic looking that rather than glorifying violence, it's honoring realism. Sort of like when Saving Private Ryan came out and everyone was in shock at the level of violence "There are entrails on the beach!" but when you watch it, that isn't what you notice. You watch the struggle that the amazingly real characters face.

The major thing I appreciated about this movie is that the main character, Jaguar Paw is nothing special. He isn't the best hunter in his village, or the best fighter who all others bow to. He's just another guy who musters the will to survive and get back to his family. So there are no elaborate kicking or punching or dueling style fight scenes. They are exactly how two brawlers would go about it. They are quick, violent, and center around killing the other guy as fast as possible rather than dancing with him.

Rather the intensity of the movie comes from the fact that once JP escapes his captors, it is an hour long foot chase through the jungle. Vastly outnumbered, running wounded from overwhelmingly relentless pursuit, Jaguar Paw has to avoid Jaguars, snakes, hornets, pitfalls and a thousand other things while trying (sometimes in vain) to outmaneuver his chasers. And as if that wasn't enough, he is racing time and the weather to get back to his pregnant wife and and 4 year old son who he hid in a dry well whilst fighting off his captors originally.

No matter what happens though, what makes this movie so engrossing is that you believe what is going on. There is no suspension of disbelief...you are just there in the jungle with him, like it or not.

The brilliance of Apocalypto comes from it's simplicity. There is no fantastical events or circumstances that make a man find some hidden talent inside to save the world. It's just one man trying desperately to get back to his family.

So, Mel Gibson may be a moron as a person, but d@mn if he doesn't make incredible movies.

See this movie. It's gonna go down in history.

Jeff 12-19-2006 12:14 PM

I kind of doubt I see this, it just looks so weird. I did hear it was a good movie though from one of my friends that saw it, I'm just not really interested in it.

Pho3nix 12-19-2006 01:15 PM

Well, as with most movies I probably won't be going to the cinema to see it :p If 'ya know what I mean. ;)

Still, Apocalypto seems pretty cool (according to the trailer). I don't really care about Mel Gibson's anti-semitic comments and "scandals" surrounding him. It doesn't matter who directed the movie, just as long as the movie is good. I have no personal issues with Mr. Gibson.

MrWally 12-19-2006 05:07 PM

I've been looking forward to this movie since I heard of it's production.

I'm a huge fan of Gibson's movies, and I plan on seeing it as soon as possible, but the only person I know who is also interested is my brother, and he's already seen it.

:(

Mace MacLeod 12-19-2006 05:29 PM

I've actually read some very contradictory reviews of it. Meh. I'll probably wait to rent the dvd.

MrWally 12-19-2006 05:37 PM

My brother said that it's actually not as gory as people play it up to be.

I mean, everyone trying to bash it because of the gore clearly forget movies such as Saw 3 -they're just trying to attack Mel Gibson.

Pho3nix 12-19-2006 07:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MrWally
My brother said that it's actually not as gory as people play it up to be.

I mean, everyone trying to bash it because of the gore clearly forget movies such as Saw 3 -they're just trying to attack Mel Gibson.

Why would people dislike gore? :p I love it. Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan etc. gore is good because It's more realistic that way. I believe the Saw-trilogy gore is just meant to shock people, not depict realism.

RoxStar 12-19-2006 09:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MrWally
My brother said that it's actually not as gory as people play it up to be.

I mean, everyone trying to bash it because of the gore clearly forget movies such as Saw 3 -they're just trying to attack Mel Gibson.

Just because another film released a few months earlier had more gore doesn't mean that they shouldn't criticize the gore level.

It looks like a good movie, I'll see it sometime.

The Seeker 12-20-2006 01:28 AM

Like I said, the gore wasn't a problem for me. It's not disturbing gore like with saw where the point of both the filmmakers and the ficticious villain is to make it as gross as possible for the sake of being gross.

With this one, it's gory, but it's as gory as it would be in real life. Not over the top stuff, just realistic and absolutely believable like the rest of the movie. Like I said originally, it's like Saving Private Ryan. Realistic in every aspect and just plain brilliant.

Commander Obi-Wan 12-20-2006 03:26 PM

I don't know of I'll be seeing this either. Since there are other movies that look more convincing to see, for me at least. Like Blood Diamond or Rocky Balboa.

But, Mel Gibson's movie aren't all the bad in my opinion, but this one seems so strange to some of his other movies. I may just wait to rent it or wait for it to be available at the library.

Mike Windu 12-21-2006 11:47 AM

I want to see this, but there's been no time recently for me to go see it :(

MrWally 12-21-2006 02:12 PM

grrr.... finals getting in the way of my precious recreational time!

Mace MacLeod 10-18-2007 12:22 AM

*sorry about the serious bumpage, and spoiler alert*

Well, took the plunge and rented Apocalypto the other day. Mel Gibson should be directing snuff films. This is not a compliment. To be fair, this movie does have its good points. On one level, the recreation of a Mayan city is an astounding spectacle of filmmaking. On another level, it's a relentlessly cruel, vicious, ugly, reprehensible piece of racist garbage.

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Seeker
You watch the struggle that the amazingly real characters face.

Amazingly real characters? Which ones are those? We are given a brief snapshot of Jaguar Paw's village and family life before it's destroyed by Holcane warriors (I looked it up), and that's the last we get for anything remotely resembling character development. The entire rest of the movie is people we know nothing about doing horrible things to people we know next-to-nothing about, until the obligatory jungle foot-chase where our protagonist suddenly develops the survival skills of Rambo to dispatch the cookie-cutter bad guys.
Quote:

Originally Posted by The Seeker
With this one, it's gory, but it's as gory as it would be in real life. Not over the top stuff, just realistic and absolutely believable like the rest of the movie. Like I said originally, it's like Saving Private Ryan. Realistic in every aspect and just plain brilliant.

It was way over the top. Absurdly over the top. Mel Gibson can't even look down and see the top with a pair of binoculars. With every single death, the camera hangs lovingly on the stabbings, beheadings, impalings, throat-cuttings and other forms of Mayan recreation with every drop of blood and pointy stick breaking flesh captured in almost pornographic detail. Which brings me to the jaguar scene. Realistic? Puh-lease. Maybe I've watched too much Animal Planet, but IIRC jaguars can run quite a bit faster than humans. And when jaguars pounce on their prey, they go for the throat, not the face. And if a bunch of people are stabbing a jaguar with their pointy sticks, it won't just sit there, go back to munching the guy's face and let the people keep on stabbing it. It's like this movie was made by a couple of 16 year-olds trying to out-gross each other.
"So after the part where people have their heads cut off and hearts ripped out to get tossed on the grilling slab, he escapes by stabbing a guy!"
"Oh, hey, and then we'll have the jaguar pounce on the guy chasing him!"
"Yeah! And, like, the jaguar will, like, eat through his face!"
"Oh, yeah yeah! His face! Whoa...!"
"Then we'll show a guy's blood squirting out of an open head wound from two angles!"
"COOL! GROSS!"

Getting back to the realism thing, if you actually know anything about Central and South American native societies before the Spaniards showed up, you see that what Mad Mel depicts is not an accurate snapshot of their lives, but a highly selective collection of only the cruelest and most vicious aspects of Mayan, Aztec and Incan cultures which spread out over hundreds of years and thousands of square miles. The bad guys in Apocalypto are the All-Stars of pre-Columbian atrocity. Mad Mel shows us only the absolute worst parts of the overall cultural arc (slavery, murder, rape, environmental destruction, human sacrifice) so as to fill the audience with sufficient disgust and anger towards the natives that we're happy when the Spanish Galleons hove into view. IMHO, the unstated message Mad Mel pounds home is "Look at these cruel, barbaric, vicious savages and what they go about doing! Isn't it a good thing we good Christians wiped them out?"

Now, I'm not one to decry violence in cinema. My favourite film is A Clockwork Orange. I saw Saving Private Ryan without even blinking during the D-Day invasion scenes. The crucial difference between Apoc and SPR is that the latter has a story and people we're brought to care about, however minimally. SPR shows us war in its horror, but it reminds us that WWII was about something. This was appalling carnage in service of an ultimately noble goal, not appalling carnage in service of a totally futile cause.

In short, if you want to see the most viciously cruel acts of violence happening to people you don't know a thing about and witness the miracle of a water birth (yes, you get to see it) in the same movie, Apocalypto is the film for you.

Rogue15 10-18-2007 12:47 AM

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. go pull another dead one.

Sabretooth 10-18-2007 12:49 AM

I thought it was fairly average. Actually, the poster looked real kickass, but the movie ended up rather disappointing. It was ugly and disgusting in many places and I know that the glorious Mayans weren't a bunch of tribal cannibalish types who thought bathing in **** is a good idea. No, they were civilized, cultured and powerful.

Come to think of it, if you compare it to Pathfinder as a historical gorefest, I'd say Apocalypto is way better. Then again, 300 is the top in the category.

The Seeker 10-18-2007 02:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mace MacLeod
*erm, that whole long post above* /\

Yeah, it's been almost a year since I was enthusiastic enough to debate the finer points of this movie with it's detractors.

Soooo I liked it...sorry you didn't, man.

Nice to see one of my older posts though. Thanks for the bump.

Mace MacLeod 10-18-2007 03:25 AM

*shrug* I saw it when I saw it. Just had to get that out.

Commander Obi-Wan 10-18-2007 04:51 PM

I saw it way back when it was released. So, yeah, I ended up seeing it. I thought I was good. Yeah.


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