Monday, September 24, 2018

Apocalypto and it's all on Mel's dime.

by Steven Lane (writer), Simi valley, Ca and Austin, Tx., December 11, 2006


I saw Mel Gibson's new flick, "APOCALYPTO" today. When, I say it is Mel's movie, I meant that in the literal sense. Not only did he write and direct it, the $80 million spent on the film came right out of Mr Gibson's pocket.(L.A. Times) Like him or not, he puts his money where his mouth is.
The film is numero uno over the weekend with a reported take of a little over $14.2 million. Stepped right on some happy feet.
I wanted to see the film for three different reasons. First, I am planning a trip to Xalapa/Veracruz in late January or early February. That area is on my short list of places I might visit for a few years. "APOCALYPTO" was shot in the surrounding area. Next, I love a good action film, and lastly, of course, I wanted to see what Mel's vision was, especially after his recent public antics.
"APOCALYPTO" answered all my questions. This film is a kick ass, action packed, brutally brutal, visceral piece that punches you right in the stomach and doesn't let you up for air. It's 2 hours and 18 minutes of non stop fight and passion. I have been hearing the complaints about the gore all week long. I actually heard a major radio reviewer say, "It's so visually brutal, do you think Mel has lost his mind?"
Hey, it's the story of the beginnings of the fall of the Mayan culture! It's about wars fought village to village with knifes, spears and bows and arrows. Heads are actually rolling right off the screen into your lap. Open heart surgery is performed by the best Mesoamerica had to offer. This film will change your notions of The BLUE MAN GROUP forever! Life for the Mayans in the eight and ninth century was not all enlightenment. These were violent times. This is not a date movie, if you are looking to cuddle, go see "The Holiday"
The entire dialog of the film is spoken in the YUKATEK MAYA language with English subtitles. I have this mental picture of major celebrations being held all though the Yucatan. Can you imagine, for the first time, a major motion picture at your theater in your OWN language. But, Gibson could have done the dialogue in Swahili, the film is so visual that words are almost unnecessary.
In the middle of this carnage, there is some very funny stuff. I am not going to ruin it for anyone, but the "hot balls" sequence had the entire theater laughing aloud.
So, yes, I liked the movie, I liked it a lot. It was not what I expected. It seems that Mel's point was to tell the world, that all civilizations decline and go away. I'm sorry, Mel, I watched "APOCALYPTO", with the same intellectual intensity that I had reserved for films like "The Predator"and "Deliverance".
The script did surprise me at the end though. When the main character is faced with the choice of running to a priest and his cross or returning to the hell he just survived. He choses hell. Humm?

About the Writer

Steven Lane is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on Apocalypto and it's all on Mel's dime.

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By Noa on December 11, 2006 at 10:47 am
Hmm, sounds more interesting than I thought too! Although I don't think I could see it cause I'm squeamish about gore...
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By V on December 13, 2006 at 11:40 pm
I lived in the Yucatan, in a remote, sleepy little fishing village, at the time this movie was being shot. For months it was literally the talk of town and yes, much excitement existed about the fact that this film would be in their own language. This period in Yucatecan history was particularly violent and impassioned times. I would like to see it and hope that it tells the truth. Good review!
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By EasyWriter on December 20, 2006 at 06:35 pm
Apocalypto was doomed by Will Smith's "Pursuit of Happyness" in it's second week at the theaters. "Pursuit of Happyness" took in 27 million dollars in it's first 3 days, the sum total that director, producer and writer Mel Gibson's "end of the Mayan civilization" movie did over two weeks. There is a segment of the American movie audience that enjoys the graphic display of what, to most people are disturbing images. Apocalypto will let future filmmakers accurately gauge the size of this audience and adjust the amount of money they spend on producing movies targeted at this audience. What was the cause of the dissolving of the Mayan empire? Modern day Guatemalan scholars really don't know because the Mayans ancient texts were destroyed by the Spaniards, all that is left is carvings on walls in the former cities that don't show beheadings and human sacrifice.
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