Monday, January 8, 2007

movie review monday: apocalypto


Full Synopsis:
As the foundation of the Mayan civilization begins to crumble, one man's previously idyllic existence is forever changed when he is chosen as a sacrifice needed to appease the gods in director Mel Gibson's mythic, end-times adventure. The Mayan kingdom is at the absolute height of opulence and power, but leaders are convinced that unless more temples are constructed and more human sacrifices made, the crops, and ultimately the people, will suffer. Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) is a peaceful hunter from a remote forest tribe whose life is about to be changed forever. When Jaguar Paw's village is raided and he is prepared as a sacrifice that the Mayan deities have demanded, the brave young hunter is forced to navigate a horrific new world of fear and oppression. Fearlessly determined to escape his captors and save his family from a harrowing demise, Jaguar Paw prepares to risk it all in one final, desperate attempt to preserve his dying way of life. However, few who have seen the sacrificial alter of the Mayans have managed to live to see another day. Now, in order to rescue his pregnant wife and young son, Jaguar Paw will have to elude the most powerful warriors of the Mayan kingdom while using his vast knowledge of the forest to turn the tables on those who would rather see him dead than set free. Inspired by such ancient Mayan texts as the Popul Vuh, Apocalypto marks a comprehensive collaboration between director Gibson, Cambridge-educated screenwriter Farhad Safinia, and world-renowned archeologist and Mayan culture expert Dr. Richard D. Hansen -- whose services as a special consultant on the film lent the production an unprecedented degree of historical accuracy. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

Running Time:
2 hours 17 minutes

Okay, I heard about Mel Gibson making this movie FOREVER ago and completely did not understand the concept at all. I figured he was going a little crazy maybe. Then I saw a long preview in the theater in the spring or maybe early summer and I was intrigued. I thought that Mel Gibson might be going crazy, but he was going to make a little money off of me going to see his film and figure out what the deal was. The release was delayed because of all those crazy rain storms and then when it did finally come out, I didn't rush out and see it for some reason or another.

This weekend, K said he wanted to go to the movies and I was actually kind of surprised when he suggested a few other titles before this one. There are about four we both want to see and we didn't decide until we were almost at the ticket window to just see Apocalypto. I picked it because I figured of the ones we were deciding between, this one was probably the one that would be most enhanced by seeing it on the big screen.

I LOVED this movie. There was action, suspense, love, and some really powerful themes. On top of that though, it was a beautifully made film. The cinematography was incredible and the actors were impressive, especially since several of them (if not all) had never been involved in a movie before. It is not in English, but it only took me a few minutes to get so caught up in what was happening that I forgot I was reading along. It was much bloodier than I had expected, but I don't feel it was gratuitous at all. There are a lot of deaths and difficult scenes to watch, but nothing was over the top or disgusting for disgusting's sake.

There is a lot of evil and anger and vengenace in this movie, but I think the main theme was overcoming fear. I also don't think the point is that man is evil. The story is based on supposed events of the downfall of the Mayan civilization, but I don't think anyone knows for sure what exactly happened. I would characterize the plot as the story of an ordinary man choosing to act heroically in a set of circumstances there would be no shame in succumbing to.

But anyway, go see it. And see it in the theater where the screen draws you in and it's loud and it's an experience. There specific scenes that just won't have the same effect being seen at home.

Rating: five out of five stars. Be ready to be drawn into a world completely different from your own to root for someone you hope you can be like.


mikewurtz said...

I'm pumped that you liked it. I'm doing it on Wednesday's blog. How funny that we picked the same movie. My reviews are so short though, I think I'm gonna review every new movie I see the previous week (whether it be 1 or 5). This week will be Apacalypto, Pirates 2, and My Super Ex-Girlfriend.

m3li558 said...

Yeah, for reals, I think it's the most badass movie I've ever seen. And I saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith three times in the theater.

I'll be looking forward to your reviews!