Sunday, May 27, 2007


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.

Apocalypto was released on DVD and Blu-Ray high definition discs this past Tuesday. I usually reserve my musings of DVD's to films that have been out for a while and may have been overlooked for sometime and may be enjoyable to those "in the know," however, I felt that it was appropriate to mention this new release since I'm sure many people failed to see it during it's theatrical run.

Normally, when I write about movies that I have enjoyed, I am making an indirect recommendation based on my experience and perspective and go to great lengths to qualify my point that what I'm writing is my opinion only and leave it up to the reader to make the decision of seeing the film. I never go so far as to directly recommend the viewing of a movie, until this one. Regardless of what you think of Mel Gibson and as long as you don't have a problem seeing contextualized violence, watch this movie. I promise you will be hard pressed to find a better action movie with such a concise, but far reaching, plot and will have no trouble dealing with that fact that the dialog is an ancient Mayan dialect - so subtitles are required. This movie is so well filmed that the story and most of what transpires is extremely evident without having to actually read the subtitles.

The characters are believable, the settings are spectacular and the cinematography is amazing. This is a two hour movie that feels like ninety minutes or less. The only thing that I ask is to remember that it's only a movie - not a historical documentary or a commentary on Mayan culture.

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