Mel Gibson's Apocalypto (Widescreen Edition)
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Product Description

Set towards the end of the Mayan civilization, a young warrior is captured by a powerful tribe and must find a way to escape or become a human sacrifice.
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Media Type: DVD
Street Release Date: 05/22/2007

Forget any off-screen impressions you may have of Mel Gibson, and experience Apocalypto as the mad, bloody runaway train that it is. The story is set in the pre-Columbian Maya population: one village is brutally overrun, its residents either slaughtered or abducted, by a ruling tribe that needs slaves and human sacrifices. We focus on the capable warrior Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), although Gibson skillfully sketches a whole population of characters--many of whom don't survive the early reels. Most of the film is set in the dense jungle, but the middle section, in a grand Mayan city, is a dazzling triumph of design, costuming, and sheer decadent terror. The movie itself is a triumph of brutality, as Gibson lets loose his well-established fascination with bodily mortification in a litany of assaults including impalement, evisceration, snakebite, and bee stings. It's a dark, disgusted vision, but Gibson doesn't forget to apply some very canny moviemaking instincts to the violence--including the creation of a tremendous pair of villains (strikingly played by Raoul Trujillo and Rodolfo Palacias). The film is in a Maya dialect, subtitled in English, and shot on digital video (which occasionally betrays itself in some blurry quick pans). Amidst all the mayhem, nothing in the film is more devastating than a final wordless exchange of looks between captured villager Blunted (Jonathan Brewer) and his wife's mother (Maria Isabel Diaz), a superb change in tone from their early relationship. Yes, this is an obsessive, crazed movie, but Gibson knows what he's doing. --Robert Horton

Beyond Apocalypto

More films directed by Mel Gibson

Apocalypto soundtrack by James Horner

Stills from Mel Gibson's Apocalypto (click for larger image)

Customer Reviews:

  • Crikey, look of ever there, it's a Mayan. Isn't he beautiful. Let's go round him up.
    Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) and his fellow Mayan hunters are out on the hunt and having a good time in their secluded part of the wet jungle. After making a kill, they spread out some of the body parts, and then laugh at the expense of one of the bigger hunters because of the certain part that was given to him. Just having some good manly fun. Out from the jungle though come some strangers from another tribe. They look scared and beaten. With a warning about how their village was burned and ravaged, they pass by, onto hopefully a new beginning. The next morning, Jaguar's village gets attacked. People are slaughtered and huts are burned down. Jaguar hides his wife and child and then tries to help the rest of his people, only to get captured along with a group of others. They are taken back to the village of the capturers as slaves or quite possibly for a sacrificial ceremony. As the blade is nearing closer, and hope for rain is on the horizon, Jaguar must escape to save his wife and child, who are stuck in a 100-foot pit.

    Apocalypto was definitely a surprise. For one thing, I didn't know much about what I was getting into when first watching this. I thought maybe it was about why the Mayans disappeared actually (Duh...Aliens took them to outer space). But honestly it's just a story based around the Mayan timeframe. Accurate or not, I don't know. But I did like the movie. While some of the beginning is a little slow to some, I found it fun and interesting. It was nice to see them just joking around and having a good time with one another. As my fellow co-worker said, "I wonder if they really talked or had fun like that". For instance, they play a joke on one of their friends who seems to be impotent. They told him to rub some leaves on his `wing-wang', but didn't tell him they were chili leaves (I think they were at least). This had him running around frantically naked and even his wife was burning up to (but in a spot you might not expect). The whole village was in hysterics. The action scenes were done really well also. Some say the violence was to extreme, but I don't think so at all. The sacrificing scenes were a tad rough, and I wouldn't let a child watch, but it wasn't too bad. Even `Temple of Doom' had a crazy sacrificing scene and no one really complains about that beating heart... do they? There was maybe a little to much of Jaguar Paw dodging spears and arrows though like he was Neo though, because they were coming from behind and he would always move his head or dodge something without even seeing it.

    With Jaguar Paws tribe, we also see how peaceful they were, to only have that ripped away from them in total bewilderment by the `evil' tribe. It was sad really and I honestly felt bad for them. Their children being hurt right in front of them, wives being raped or killed, husbands being slaughtered, and then tying up the prisoners to poles and making them trek back to the `evil' guys village. And even after that, I still thought about the bad guys. It had me thinking to myself, "Are they all bad? Do they all agree with what's going on?" Because it sure didn't feel like it sometimes. It had me wondering about the preparations before hand for them. Or maybe some of them think, "Better them than me so I'll just do whatever it takes to survive in this tribe" And when we do see the bad guys place of home, it seems just like any other type of city probably at that time, well... cept for the sacrificing and stuff. But hey, that's what they believed in. Even Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac to his God at one time to appease him. I almost wish we got a little more on the bad guy tribe. Ah well.

    In the end, I would definitely give this a shot. While it is subtitled, it's not that bad at all (it never bothers me anyways) and you honestly forget you are reading within minutes...unless of course you are eating or something. It's got a lot of good action scenes in it, and it has a great story. Jaguar Paw rocks.

    P.S. - The scene with the Jaguar, although cool as it was, looked really bad. It reminded me of Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog from Conan. It really did look like a gigantic sock puppet in a few shots. How Mel Gibson approved that I'll never know. If I was Mel I would have got a real Jaguar and let him go to town on some animal carcass or something. Eh...whatever.
    ...more info
  • Entertainment Now
    Apocalypto is one of those films that deserves thought over it. Oddly enough, it is also one of the few films with depth that can also evoke immediate responses. As testament to that, you can see the many visceral reactions that came out at the time of the films release.
    Oddly enough, as impactful as the film is in terms of the violence and the ferocity of the performance, I can still safely say that many aspects were held back, I would guess for censorship reasons, and probably because Mel Gibson wanted the film to do well at the box office. The Combination of Actors, animals, practical effects, animal puppets, over 400 Visual FX shots, give rise to a near perfect illusion of the frenetic paced action which is this story.
    I can but urge you to see this film. Then listen to the DVD commentary, and see the far too short Features on the one disk.
    THE DVD: Great Visuals, great sound, and another near perfect film done by a Master Craftsman in the world of popular film.

    ENJOY...more info
  • good movie but...
    I could have enjoyed this movie a lot more if the sound effects were shut out. An interesting and original topic which was filmed quite brilliantly but oh the sound track. Why or why if you wanted authenticity Mr Gibson did you not let the sound of the jungle and the village raids, etc. stand on their own? Are we viewers so dumb we need drums and other 'musical' sounds to understand the obvious? Just a point of clarity here - I thought that the sound of flutes were associated with the Incas just a few miles south of the Aztecs! Unfortunately the sound track spoilt what could have been a brilliant film for me. Why don't producers and directors keep these sound effects people in check? OK has some effects now and again but dialogue and good camera work is enough - the overt the top and inappropriate sounds are just not necessary...more info
  • Better once you watch the extra commentary
    Before I start this review I'd like to say that I am not a history major. I am not going to analyze this film for its inaccuracies like many other reviewers. I am just going to review this movie for what it is...a movie.

    Mel Gibson is at it yet again. With the success of the The Passion of the Christ, Mel can pretty much do anything he wants now. This movie takes place in the early 1500s when Mayans were still a dominant force. The Mayans would conquer villages and tear down miles of forestry just in build their cities. They would sacrifice lives just to increase their empire. Speaking of sacrifice, you will see a ton of that in this movie. The Mayans worshipped Gods that were appeased by sacrifice.

    When I first watched through this movie I was a little disappointed. I had heard so many great things about it and felt that the movie was lacking. I was considering giving it three stars. Then I watched it with Alternate Commentary by Mel Gibson and Farhad Safinia as well as the Making of extra. These changed the way I thought about the movie. If anyone feels let down by the movie, these extras will help you much better understand the movie and appreciate it.

    Your main character is Jaguar Paw. He is a part of a small village of hunters. The movie starts of with a very humorous sequence that shows Jaguar and a few others playing a joke on another tribesman. This truly established that these were fun loving, normal people. I'm glad they introduced the film this way. Soon after their village is attacked by the Mayans. Some of them are killed, but most are taken as slaves. Jaguar luckily lowered his pregnant wife and child into a pit to hide before he was captured.

    After that point you will see them walk all the way to the Mayan capital. This is fairly long and has its moments, but I felt it was fairly boring. When they get to the place a sacrifice is where things really start to pick up. Jaguar doesn't get sacrificed, but instead is used as Target Practice by the Mayan soldiers. Suddenly, he escapes, but not with out killing the chief's son first. This sets up a huge chase scene with a ton of great moments. Jaguar must get his wife and child out of the pit before they drown from the rain filling it up. The ending to the movie is a surprise and if you know your history is very interesting.

    My problem with the film is that the gore is not what I expected it to me. Most of it is good, but part where they are tearing organs just looks unrealistic. Mel Gibson tried so hard to make sure that the 800-member cast looked perfect, but added in people ripping out organs that took me out of the film. Also, Jaguar Paw is one of the most uninteresting characters in the movie and he is your main character. He garners no emotion at all.

    Overall I would say that this is a pretty good movie. Some people my find it difficult to read subtitles constantly, due to the movie being in the Mayan language, but it's not that bad. Also, I'm really happy that they gave us subtitles for the alternate commentary. My girlfriend is partially deaf, so it is very helpful for us....more info
  • Excellent acting and action!
    I liked this film. I had waited to watch it, put off a bit by several reviews talking about how gory it was. When I finally did watch it I was surprised that it was less gratuitously violent that I'd imagined. Sure there was blood, fighting, violence, but just as to fit the story line. I actually thought "Braveheart" to be more stomach churning. I'm not going to repeat what's been said in other reviews, but if you are leery of watching it for the blood and violence may I suggest watching it with the audio commentary "on". It takes some sting out of it, as Gibson and Safinia set the stage and talk about the actors and technical details and how much they enjoyed making the film. My favorite comment was from Gibson, talking about the scene where a jaguar is chasing Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) and Gibson points out that it really was a jaguar and he really was chasing Youngblood and there was no danger ... pause ... "well ... unless he tripped". He's was, of course, only kidding....more info
  • Very Authentic Mayan Movie, Great!
    What took so long for a movie about the mayans or other similar culture to be made? I don't know of any others besides this one. Mel Gibson decided to make this movie totally realistic. It's a grimy, dirty, 100% real looking version of Mayan civilization. I was expecting it to be more hollywood, i.e. more beautiful and artistic looking, but it's not like that. It's not like a Cecil B DeMille movie. This movie is not so much like a movie but more like traveling back in time and looking at the real Mayans with your own eyes. But there's also an exciting adventure story in it. And it has the OBLIGATORY love story that every movie must have in order to attract female viewers and make a profit? Fortunately, the love story is a very minor aspect of Apocalypto, unlike other movies such as Titanic. Personally I'm not interested in seeing love stories in Historical movies! The warrior captain looks like he came straight out of a Mad Max movie. In fact the story of this movie is vaguely reminiscent of Mad Max. Apocalypto seems to have a lot of things vaguely in common with many of Mel Gibson's other movies. At the same time I felt kind of like I was watching a historical film on PBS. This movie is more serious-minded than your typical summer action movie. At one point I stopped being horrified at the human sacrifice scene and started to appreciated it on a historical level. By the way, the Mayan culture was very cruel, sadistic, bloody, and demonic. I can see why the missionaries erased that culture. I'm not sure, but maybe they were even right to do so. Their culture was very interesting, but so evil.

    Apocalypto is not enough! I want to see more movies about the Mayans, Aztecs, etc. I would like to see a movie about the Spanish conquest of the mayans and aztecs. That would also be a lot of bloody good fun, if you know what I mean :) I also want to see a LOT more of those ancient temples, pyramids, palaces, etc. I didn't feel like I got to see as much of the buildings as I wanted to in Apocalypto.

    ...more info
  • Review of Apoc by sepptagenerianalypto
    I enjoyed this unuaual movie. Though it was not historically accurate, it still gave me insight into the Mayan period.
    it was well acted and had enough drama to be interesting....more info
  • Great Movie, Great Blu
    This is a fantastic movie and has one of the best pictures that blu-ray has to offer....more info
  • Plagerism: Straight ripoff of 1966 movie "The Naked Pray"
    It's hard not to enjoy this movie and be awed by it's depiction of the Mayan city right down to the blue smeared corpses at the bottom of a sacrificial pyramid. If you particularly enjoyed the jungle chase wherein the villians hunting the hero meet their demise one by one, there's another movie you might like. It's a somewhat racist classic called "The Naked Prey" from 1966 by Cornel Wilde. A huge chunk of Apocalypto is a straight ripoff of this movie right down to the poor chap who is bitten by a snake and left behind by his mates. This is the only thing that disappointed me about this otherwise excellent movie. [...]...more info
  • Just watch
    Mel Gibson chose a bad time to reveal his true racist colors. His anti-Semitic rant destroyed any good press his new movie Apocalypto was about to receive. Not too concerned about that (art can be nobler, grander then the person who made it. That's what makes it art), I was free to judge Apocalypto on its own merits. And it delivered. I watched the DVD on a crappy little player and still felt as if I was in the sweltering jungle. The story is really simple (Jaguar Paw's village is overrun by fanatical neighbors, he must escape back to his wife and kid who are hiding out in a well, etc.), but it just gave me more time to oogle at the cinematography. And, wow. The costumes of the characters alone must have cost a fortune, and they can convey triumph, anger, fear, etc, in a completely undecipherable language. That's skill. While Apocalypto doesn't bill itself as historical (the Mayans left no written records), it provides frightening evidence of what happens when a predatory society, on the verge of extinction, decides to cannibalize itself. Watch. And tremble. ...more info
  • Oscar Sham
    I have been wracking my brains to think about a movie which has made more of an impression on me other then Apocalypto in the last 10 years but I can't think of a worthy candidate (well Minority Report comes a distant 2nd) .

    Apocalypto OWNS on many levels . Action , adventure, suspense , costume design, makeup , story , setting , novelty , depth of acting , screenplay and in many other aspects too long to mention here . So one would think at least a NOMINATION for the any of the Oscars for that year eh ? Nope . Not a mention

    The first thing that strikes you about Apocalypto is the incredible Mayan gear , something I have never seen before in any movie , the fabulous makeup on the thousands of extras , the whole thing seemlessly blending into the Yucatan jungle . Everything effortlessly clicks . One would think then at LEAST an OSCAR NOD for the painstaking work put into the costumes and makeup not to mention the originality of the work ?


    Costume design Oscar winner for that year ? Marie Antoinette .Sheesh.. How hard is it to put together a 17th century Versailles wardrobe again ? Pull out a few rags from the some recent BBC costume drama then score some 80's disco music with that. Oscar guaranteed it seems .

    Makeup Oscar winner for that year ? Pan's Labyrinth. Never heard of it .

    Best Picture for that year ? In fact which movie carried off about the most oscars for that year? "The Departed" . A ridiculous foul mouthed flick I switched off about half an hour before its ending. Not that I'm offended by bad language you understand but this one practically wore out the f* word . That and the fact that the plot was absurd and the acting over the top (especially DiCaprio).

    OTOH half an hour before the ending of Apocalypto I was glued to my seat because I WAS IN APCALYPTO , right there with Jaguar Paw running for dear life , chased through the Jungle by the evil doers thinking about that family deep down in that pit where I left them .

    That's the essence of moviemaking , that's what its all about , the moviegoer transported , overwhelmed and left wondering starry eyed after the credits roll . This kind of work should be rewarded, the moviemakers celebrated and honored by their peers . They were not . They were all snubbed because Hollywood has a beef with Mel Gibson

    This is why I quit paying any attention to the Oscars years ago (well decades to be more exact) , The Oscars are a glitzy corporate circus , politicized and unworthy of their original mission which was to award extraordinary talent in the industry - bestowing credit where credit is due . The ceremonies offer a spectacle but as far as the actual awards go they are relevant only to the insiders just as the Nobel peace prize or the Queens knighthoods .

    Still flipping through the channels these last few days hyped up Oscar "mania" is apparently back , could be that The Wrestler will get some recognition at these ceremonies as it is deserving but you wont catch me staying up at night to find out ...

    Apocalypto ********** +...more info
  • Totally Enjoyed This Film
    This film was excellent. Violence, love, hatred, devotion, helplessness, and every emotion known to man is in this film. If you don't like English sub-titles, you will not like this film. Beautiful scenery.

    The length this man goes to to save his pregnant wife and child is an inspiration to man's capacity to love. Gives hope amongst all the death in this film. Unnecessary death.

    WARNING: Ending revealed below:

    The ending was profound. A man lives because of the interruption of ships landing on a beach and yet his race in history changes negatively forever. ...more info
  • Apocalypto
    Another great foreign film by Mel. Like the Passion, the English subtitles are not that distracting. Rather, I think they add to the authentic feeling of the picture. It's an entertainment picture, not a documentary. So ignore the negative critics commenting about the accuracy of the film....more info
  • Realistic but bloody Mayan Historical fiction
    Wow! This is realistic and historically accurate. If you are squeamish though, it's not for you.

    Great twists, great turns and not bad drama without the plot being over done.

    A few nice extras on the blu-ray.

    Devoid of the usual Hollywood over the top stereotypical race misrepresentations and political correctness, People act as they would have in this period at this place. Most were caught up in the Mayan blood culture but some were practical people making what they could in the environment in which they were born. Clich¨¦ ending though, which is why I subtracted the last star.
    ...more info
  • whoa Melly!
    This film was incredible, and any naysayers should have their heads rolled down a Mayan pyramid (scene in movie) to hopefully have some sense knocked into them. Yes, Mel is controversial, but so is Woody Allen and critics still herald him as a genius. And Yes it is terribly violent and not historically accurate, so what! It's still haunting, exciting, mystical, scary, depressing, fascinating, and beautiful. Stop looking for more reasons to hate Mel Gibson and accept the fact that he's pretty f**ing good at what he does.
    watch it!!...more info
  • Hopefully, we'll get the message
    Most of the reviews I've read on Apocalypto seem to concern themselves with historical accuracy, imperialism, and racism.

    I think Apocalypto is a warning to our culture (to any culture, really) about the ultimate fate of a decadent people. I saw a lot of modern Western culture(the only culture I really know) in Gibson's depiction of the Mayans. Sure, we may not lop people's heads off and make a game out of it, but we do make a sport of violence and sex. We may not perform human sacrifices, but we do build our own prosperity and happiness on the backs of others. And, as usual, the poorest of the poor end up doing the jobs nobody else wants.

    I was also surprised to read that many people interpret the brief appearance of the Spanish as a way of saying, "These people found Jesus and got saved." I got a different impression on my first viewing. I felt that Gibson's Mayans had grown to embody the worst aspects of humanity, rather than the best. They were, in turn, conquered by another society that was just as bad (the conquistadores). If this were to have been a "finding Jesus" movie, the protagonist would have been the one to find the conquistadores; instead, he wisely sneaks away with his family, and we are left with the understanding that one corrupt culture is supplanted by another.

    Apocalypto has a lot of beautiful imagery, even if some of that beauty is sickening. The color, costumes, and makeup of the Mayans are captivating--without words, we are given the sense of many different class levels and religious practices. Against this beauty is set the bloodletting and violence this culture adores. The darker aspects of our nature are very seductive and alluring, and Apocalypto does a good job of making the viewer appreciate just how easy it is for us to love the worst aspects of our nature.

    I started watching this movie with a strong bias against Gibson after sitting through the pornography that was the Passion of the Christ. I was very surprised to see such an insightful commentary in a Gibson movie. I would recommend Apocalypto to a discerning viewer.

    Also, kudos to the one reviewer who caught the strong similarities to Rambo. ...more info
  • A++
    This has to be one of Mel Gibson's finest films (as director). The Mayan characters are well-portrayed (there's a very good balance between good and evil, and that's something that's not regularly seen in other films). The art direction and cinematography are excellent (it's unfortunate that they didn't win during the Oscars). The music is hauntingly beautiful, and the main chase sequence in the second half of the movie revs up the tension oh so high. Blood and violence are excessive, so parents are warned.

    A-...more info
  • Savage Chic
    While it's fascinationg to see the silver screen decorated by almost naked, exotically beautiful people living the simple jungle life when not taking part in over the top ancient's unfortunate the story is as uninterestingly predictable and very tedious as the visual effects are eye catching. Mr. Gibson drags out his favorite bits from Mad Max, The Passion of the Christ and his winner, Braveheart,and dresses his cast this time around, in pretty Tribal-Savage-Chic. He also manages to hunt down the greenest, lushest, most cinematic worthy natural forest for the over simplified drama to drag out in. There's plenty of atmosphere alright: you can hear every bird and insect in that overripe steamy jungle, taste the raw organs greedily devoured after a viciously brutal hunt and are repeatedly jolted by the ceremonial blood-centric violence in service to the Mayan gods. The lead, played by Native American Rudy Youngblood (as the super-humanly invincible warrior Jaguar Paw) is as elegantly movie-star handsome a 'savage' as any casting agent can find and paired with his exotically stunning wife and adorable baby son, makes for a mezmerising family (who are lit and filmed most glamorously even while under attack). Mr. Gibson chose to actually build the ancient Mayan city and temples on location as a nod to old-school Hollywood and also heavily researched the details of the ancient ritual heavy culture to ensure historic accuracy.The labor intensive costumes, oversized sets, hundreds of outrageously costumed extras and ceremonial details are impressive...but the few Disney-esque/cute-sy sequences involving CGI animals contrasts too much with the overall serious mood of Mr. Gibson's high speed and violent jungle action-drama. Unfortunately, the Disney-animated-like "ferocious" chief of the murderous tribal thugs who targets the hero,however,is way too overdone and looks more like an L.A. hairdresser out on the fetish-freak-party circuit than ruthless-evil personified. The subtitles lends an air of a documentary, but the spoken language is very flat & emotionless...and the bloody-screams after a while lose their effect. In the end,the romantic art direction and high speed action sequences wins over the weak story...but could make a cool video game for jaded suburban pre-teens with triple ADD!...more info
  • Apocalypto (blu-ray)
    I also saw this movie on DVD format, but found the blu-ray version much more vivid in color. ...more info
  • Amazing to watch... Brutally brilliant!,
    Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto" is not a normal movie but a big make-up movie...

    From the moment the film starts to the moment it ends you feel you are transported into the ancient Mayan civilization, seeing full body tattoos, body art, multiple piercing and jewelry... It is a very exciting motion picture to look at, so strange to watch... It has the esthetic that began to appeal and it fills you with wonder...

    Our hero Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) is a cunning hunter whose father requests him not to tell of what he saw in forest today... He is warned to strike fear from his heart and not to bring it into the village...His wife, Seven (Dalia Hernandez) is pregnant, and their small son, Turtles Run (Carlos Emilio Baez), live modestly in a village surrounded by a tranquil rain forest...

    After a night of frivolity, the peaceful existence of this small community of hunters collapses when savage outsiders begin torching and burning everything in sight killing most and taking away dozens left...

    Going undetected, Jaguar Paw hides his wife and child in a deep, waterless well promising to return when the attack has passed... However when he is captured by his fearsome aggressors, he is tied to a pole and marched with his friends and fellow villagers to a forsaken land, stone-built, where the earth bleeds...

    A fortuitous switch provides Jaguar Paw with an unexpected opportunity to escape and get back to his family in peril... But for that he has to make his way home through a killing field and a dangerous jungle, racing against sadistic captors hot on his trail...

    "Apocalypto" transports the viewers to a strange and unreachable world, to a civilization in decline, to an infernal vision of a city and its inhabitants, to shocking images of human barbarism which has always existed throughout the ages... ...more info
  • Awesome Movie
    This movie is fantastic - but, I hope you don't mind reading subtitles! However, once the movie gets going, you don't even notice that you are reading anymore. The movie is a bit graphic, so for you viewers that have a sensitive stomach - I wouldn't recommend it! :-)...more info
  • A heck of a yarn with a Marxist/ahistorical approach
    The fact that the Mayan civilization died out well before the Spanish landed on the mainland of the Americas did not hinder the co-writers of this jungle epic. The role given the Mayans in the film is simply the chore of obtaining captives to be supplied the priests for multiple blood sacrifices. This gruesome custom is well documented in the Aztec civilization, which was intact when the Spanish arrived, but the film maintains both that the Mayans participated in similar bloodletting and survived into the modern era. I am uncertain that archeologists studying the Yucatan Mayan remains have concluded that in fact multiple sacrificial bloodletting among Mayans actually occurred, but it is a certainty the Mayans did not live to see Spanish sailing ships.

    The film's perspective is very contemporary, like Marxist historians in today's universities who view history from the standpoint of the oppressed, and ignore the major events and decisionmakers. The heroes in the Gibson film are relatively peaceable jungle denizens whose villages are ruthlessly pillaged by the powerful Mayans. We do not see the fruits of Mayan culture, nor learn of their calendar or other intellectual attainments. It's history shown from the bottom up, and it's very well done in the sense that the action and cast seem terribly authentic. It gets one thinking that the Spanish with their Jesuits can arrive none too soon to put a stop to the grotesque mayhem going on.

    The latter half of the film allows Jaguar Paw, our hero, to escape the Mayan enclave by surviving a gauntlet of bolos, clubs, spears and arrows. He then is pursued by very credible Mayan warriors. The chase, which is a terrific, almost wordless, adventure, goes on literally for days. It ends, implausibly, with the hero finally safe and reunited with his wife, who has given birth to a baby--underwater, no less. In the early part of the film, a diseased girl, treated as an outcast, predicts to the Mayans their end is coming via a jaguar and a dark day. The director makes sure that the audience cannot miss seeing the predictions being fulfilled one by one.

    All in all, an admirable adventure yarn with an ersatz historical overlay and something close to mumbo jumbo as to the explanation offered for the Mayans' demise. ...more info
  • 2.5 stars out of 4
    The Bottom Line:

    At its best Apocalypto is a kinetic chase film, but the first hour drags something awful and the unnecessary and flawed subplot with Jaguar Paw's wife in the giant hole slowed down the action further; Apocalypto is certainly recommended to action fans, but it's not a very accomplished film....more info
  • This movie captures the true essence of a warrior
    This is a story of true Mayan warriors, who battled all odds to protect and save, what was most prescious to them (Family). Two people stood against what seemed like insurmountable odds & won. Jaguar Paw (lead character) was a most dynamic character but it was his wife 9 months pregnant, giving birth under water, which took the cake;this feat was accomplished in a quickly flooding well, while she balanced her 3 year old son on her shoulders. This took place while she was standing on a rock ledge no more than a few inches wide. Prior to this event Jaguar Paw's wife fended off a wild animal, striking it 3 times, before it finally died. There wasn't any of the usual panic you see in other movie depictions of a heroine in distress.

    Apocalypto illustrates the true nature of a warrior opposed to a soldier. This is the true warrior nature in all of humanity. What did Jaguar Paw say at the very end (let's go into the forrest and make a new beginning),deservingly so. Had they gone to greet the interlopers they would have been enslaved once again. Mel Gibson brought a little diversity into mainstream cinema, so I give it a five. It's much better than the passion of Christ. Now we need another based on the 2012 Mayan prediction! ...more info
  • wonderfully alien
    The thing I like best about this movie was its depiction of the Mayan city. Gibson's people made a successful effort at demonstrating a civilization totally alien from our own. I loved the strange women, almost aliens from outer space. I also like the slave raid. For thousands of years inhabitants of the Americas experienced similar raids by war parties from the "civilized" nations on the continent.

    The slaving scene, for those who wish to look "under the covers", is the history of civilization in general. Up until only a couple of centuries ago, slavery was simply a given and was not regarded as wrong. The difference in MesoAmerica was that many of the captives, rather than being used for slave labor, went to fattening pens and to heart sacrifice.

    I liked the relationship between the slave captain and his son when he tells him after the successful slave capture. "Your doing a great job, boy. I'm proud of you." Wonderful, really, and all so very human. The final scene was great. The warring Indians look out to sea and watch strange men with helmets and breastplates rowing into shore. It's the Apocalypse. The world WILL change. Ironically, this film ends up almost exactly where my two novels--"Skull Rack" and "Hummingbird God"--start...the glorious, terrible Conquest of Mexico.

    I thought the chase scene, although exciting, was a little too much "Last of the Mohicans." It was good in "Mohicans" but once is enough.

    Ron Braithwaite, author of novels on the Spanish Conquest of Mexico, "Skull Rack" and "Hummingbird God"...more info