March 28, 2008
Rated: R Runtime: 138 min Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Mel Gibson’s APOCALYPO came out in 2006, but after seeing the 2008 movie 10,000 B.C. it’s impossible not to compare the two.
Both involve members of a primitive tribe being kidnapped and enslaved by a more advanced, pyramid-building culture, escapes, long pursuits across savage landscapes.
But APOCALYPTO is the real deal.
Set in the 16th century but before Europeans arrived, it’s an odyssey across the Mayan civilization.
Jaguar Paw lives with his tribe in the remote jungle. He has a wife and child. He and other members of his tribe are kidnapped by one of the Mayan pyramid-building cities, destined to be sacrificed, to have his heart cut out atop a pyramid while he’s still alive.
But he gets a lucky break, and then he’d Better Run Through The Jungle, pursued by his captors.
This movie makes some overtures to our society; the pyramid-builders are destroying their environment, they’re controlled by a religious fanaticism that their cynical leaders don’t really believe in, and their society is very definitely divided into rich, middle class, and poor. Guess who gets sacrificed?
I think there’s also a subversive element here; Mel Gibson probably saw one too many DANCES WITH WOLVES-type movies that postulate a Garden of Eden in the New World before it was ruined by the White Man. And he said Give Me A Break, somebody’s always pounding on somebody else, long before Europeans got here.
This is a a fascinating, brutal society built around human sacrifice.
But people are people, and the family dynamic, and the humor and camaraderie of the tribe are also depicted.
This is an epic unlike anything you’ve seen, huge city-sets constructed, hundreds of extras (looking like thousands of extras), like a Cecil B. DeMille Bible epic (maybe not surprising since Gibson’s previous movie was THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, and like that, the movie is in original dialect with subtitles).
But it’s also just a good action flick, and the final half of this movie is one amazing foot chase through dangerous territory.
DVD Extras: A commentary with Mel Gibson and writer-producer Farhad Safina, deleted scenes, and a Making Of featurette.
Popularity: 30% [?]
Seen it? How many stars do you give it?