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December 03, 2006


It's weird to think that the guy who did Braveheart would get *more* bloodthirsty as he started making religious films.

P.S. I crack up every time I see your header with Rowdy Roddy Piper

Gibson's infatuation with gore is strange considering how (relatively) recent it seems to be - before 1995's Braveheart, no one would have thought him obsessed with excessive bloodshed.

Apocalypto, however, seems to cement the idea that he really does ENJOY depicting bloody violence. And to think, this is a guy who's also passionate about the Three Stooges....

(And glad you like the header, Joe. I too enjoy seeing Piper every time I update the site)

Thanks for spoiling the movie for me. Very professional.


You know how to avoid having a movie spoiled for you? Don't read reviews before seeing it. If you wanted to simply know whether I liked it or not - without any specific details - my B- grade should have sufficed.

Of course, regardless of that piece of advice, I included a Spoiler Alert for those who didn't want to read about the film's conclusion. So if you had the ending ruined for you, it's your own fault.

I saw the spoiler alert, and disregarded it knowing well what I was getting into (and really, I've never imaged seeing Apocalypto for the story). Sure, everyone sometimes slips up and includes a spoiler without meaning to, but eesh.

You're right, Rob, that spoilers are sometimes included by accident. But the truth is that any substantial piece of film criticism invariably spoils some element of the film - there's virtually no way to write a long review of a movie without giving away SOME plot point that SOME reader will consider a "spoiler."

The best way to avoid having a movie ruined for you ahead of time is to avoid reading reviews. That's certainly what I do...

I've spent the last two hours reading reviews of this movie. Yours is one of only two that I have so far come across that is not all love or, as is mostly the case, all hate. Refreshing and helpful. Thank you.

ah, I find it quite comical how everyone on here jumps on the "Mel Gibson is bloodthirsty" bandwagon. Grow up, numerous amount of Scorsese, Tarantino, Cronenbergh films are just as graphic, where's the finger pointing there? Mel Gibson is a visionary filmmaker, he doesn't embrace or exploit violence, he shows violence as a part of our history. "Apocalypto" and "The Passion of the Christ" were both extraordinary films of vision and grace.

"he doesn't embrace or exploit violence"

I've only seen The Passion and Braveheart (as Apocalypto seems to take things to new levels), but that statement is where most of us would disagree with you. Gibson certainly is visionary, but he is ten times more a craftsman than an artist.

I've noticed that you reprise the exploitative exoticism factor as a criticism often, and in this review you praise the film for being free of it. Couldn't one argue however that the film is exotically exploitative for taking an exotic culture from the past and melding it to modern action-adventure storytelling/filmmaking tropes while also presenting the culture and its people as being both more primitive and more savage than the evidence suggests, primarily for the purpose of contrasting with the arrival of the (in Mel's head) comparatively civilized Catholic conquistadors?

Here's an interesting parallel with Christianity (SPOILERS): http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2006/12/apocalypto.html


Sorry for not replying sooner - wrote this up days ago, but forgot to actually post it. Nonetheless...

The reason I didn't find Gibson's portrait of the Mayans to be exploitative is that the film never succumbs to using their unique appearances, customs, language, etc. for crass entertainment purposes (such as might have been the case had their nose-bones and strange garb been used solely as a means of spooking white Western viewers). I thing Gibson shows real affection for the Mayans, painting them not just as bloodthirsty monsters, but with a variety of complex (positive and negative) attributes.

The fact that such period detail is lavished on a cliched action film may indicate a lack of imagination on Gibson's part. But because I think Gibson really is interested in his characters and setting, the melding of the two didn't, in and of itself, strike me as offensive. But I know what you're getting at.

Whether said period details are factual isn't really for me to say - though the fiilm seems scrupulously researched, I'll leave such analysis up to Mayan experts.

But I don't think he favorably contrasts the Spanish with the Mayans. On the contrary, the arrival of the Spanish is meant to be a bad thing for the Mayans and, specifically, the heroic Jaguar Claw and his family - both of whom Gibson greatly sympathizes with.

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