Thursday, July 26, 2007


Our resident, Spanish speaking movie critique already reviewed Apocalypto, but I didn't want to revisit such an old thread, so I just make a new post. What made me want to watch this movie, is that fact that Mel "I'm not a racist" Gibson has gotten a lot of pepper for this movie, basically because the movie pictures the Maya Indians in a very racist way. More of that later.

First of all, I do agree with Wilhelm that the costumes (or lack of) are very good. The Indians look like they've lived in the jungle, not like glamour models with heavy makeup and a bikini. They speak something (real or not) which are not English with a heavy accent.

Second, I do consider this an action flick, not a semi-documentary or something. Thus, the rather unrealistic coincidences that the main character sees the first Spanish conquistadores, is saved by a moon eclipse and outruns a jaguar all within a day or two does not bother me that much.

Third, this is a very violent movie. Both graphical and psychological. Is all that blood splattering necessary? I don't think the movie would have gotten that much worse if Mr. Gibson has held back just a little, but I don't think it was too much. I had the stomach for it, and I guess most adults will too. But this is definitely not a children’s movie.

With this in mind, I thought it was good. Maybe not the most original story, but the movie had a good drive all the way trough. Really good characters, nice scenery. I give it thumbs up.

So, back to Mr. Gibson again. Is this movie racist? Well, there are archeological evidences that the Mayas did sacrifice humans, much in the way described in the movie. The blue paint, beheading and rolling down the temple stairs was thing I knew before I saw this movie. But since there are few (none?) written sources about the Mayas, I'm sure the movie makers had to make up a lot of the ritual. Sure, there are much more to say about the Mayas, and much more that are positive. However, this movie is way more historical accurate then the average Hollywood flick. My main beef with the movie is the opening quote "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it is destroyed from within". I really don't see how the movie explains the downfall of the Maya Indians. As said above, I see this as an action flick. With "home alone" chasing at the end, just as Wilhelm said in his review.


Wilhelm said...

That's some monster re-runs you've got goin' on within your post there, bro.

I wasn't aware that Gibson got in trouble with this movie - I certainly didn't think of it as being racist. Like you wrote, the human sacrifice aspect is quite well documented, and it's not like the mayans were the only tribe/race to use that, so I don't get the beef. A lot of the movie also portrays the Mayans as collections of tribes with strong emphasis on family and good intratribe relations, so I was all down with the Mayans when I saw this movie. The other "insinuation" was that the great ziggurates or whatever they're called were built mostly by slaves, but that ain't no shocker either. The pyramids were'nt constructed by the pharaoh and three of his bestest golf buddies either. Ditto the Great Wall Of China or the railroads across the USA - I thought that was common knowledge.

You're right about the movie not explaining the downfall of the Mayans though....

Anders said...

Sorry for the re-runs, corrected it now.
I think we see eye to eye on this one. It's a pretty good flick.

Wilhelm said...

Yeah; we appear to have reached an amicable agreement in the sense that our mutual experience vectors with said production merge.

...pretentious much? Naaahhh..

Pigeon said...

Mel Racist Gibson got his reputation thanks to his previous movie (Passion of the Christ) which was understood by some stupid fundamentalist as anti sionist. Also the fact that he got caught drunk by the police once and started yelling to the policeman saying F.... jew. That doesn't help. I don't think he got any problem with Apocalypto except the fact that it was an economic failure in the States.

Wilhelm said...

I guess it's hard to make a movie like Passion Of The Christ and not run a risk of being labeled as anti-whatever. Lots of possible hornet's nests.

Anders said...

Welcome back, pigeon.
He did get some racist beef for Apocalypto, but not nearly as much as for The Passion Of Christ. I think people was just looking for an excuse to get him after that drunk drive episode.