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.