For Jaguar Paw (Youngblood) and
the people of his village the forest provided everything they needed but as
the crops of the Mayan cities are failing and the gods need to be appeased.
When warriors enter their village, killing and taking the men and women, Jaguar
Paw manages to hide his wife and son but he is taken to the city to be a sacrifice
to the gods. As the warriors take him to the city, Jaguar Paw has to escape
to return his family before it is too late.
Mel Gibson loves to
tell a story a man's struggle but can a tale set in ancient Mayan times ignite
interest in an audience?
and the phenomenally successful 'Passion of the Christ', Mel Gibson tells
another story of a man who changed a people forever. While dramatising the
lives of William Wallace and Jesus Christ may have been based on factual people,
'Apocalypto' is a fictional story based around a real event, the extinction
of the Mayan civilisation. Co-written by Farhad Safinia and Mel Gibson himself,
the film is a mixture of historical drama and an action movie, all spoken
in the ancient Mayan dialect Yucatec.
The first half of
the movie is almost like a Discovery Channel or National Geographic insight
into ancient Mayan culture mixed with a sitcom. We taken into Jaguar Paw's
village and introduced to his family and friends, revealing how they lived
and interacted with each other. These moments are very tender and in parts
very funny, as we follow our hero on a hunt and see how his village lived.
The second half moves the film into the realms of tragedy, fear and survival,
as the warriors take Jaguar Paw to the Mayan city and his escape. For all
its grandeur and spectacle as Gibson tries to create an authentic vision of
the ancient Mayan civilisation, the actual story is still a rather simplistic
action movie plot.
Despite the introduction
to the culture, the fact that all the dialogue is in ancient Yucatec and the
authentic recreation of the Mayan civilisation, the final act of the film
is essentially an action movie. Here we see Jaguar Paw running for his life
and back to his village to save his wife and son, chased by the warriors he
escaped from. This isn't a bad thing however, as the action is exhilarating.
Seeing our hero run through the jungle and facing not just the what the warriors
throw at them but the perils of the forest draws you into the action, keeping
you on the edge of your seat throughout.
The recreation of
the Mayan civilisation is exceptionally realistic. From the costumes, jewellery,
headdresses and set designs, everything is recreated with the utmost authenticity,
drawing you into the Mayan world and Jaguar Paw's adventure. The Mayan city
is also brilliantly recreated, with all the bloody realism of the era. Here
we see graphical recreations of human sacrifice, gory human blood sports and
the hunt. There are no holds barred in how they are represented, which might
be too much for some but it is what happened during that time.
again that Mel Gibson is an extremely talented filmmaker. While his off screen
antics may have created far too negative publicity for the man himself, this
shouldn't take anything away from what is an exceptional piece of filmmaking.
Presented in Anamorphic
Widescreen 2.35:1 with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the movie is presented
Making Apocalypto (24.08 mins)
Writer/director Mel Gibson, writer/co-producer Farhad Safinia, unit production
manager Anna Roth, consultant Dr. Richard Hansen, costume designer Mayes Rubeo,
makeup designer Vittorio Sodano, hair and makeup designer Aldo Signoretti,
weapons master Simon Atherton and star Raoul Trugillo take you behind the
scenes of the making of 'Apocalypto'. From the Mexican location, through the
makeup and costumes and onto the huge Mayan city set, the featurette gives
a fascinating insight into the making of the groundbreaking Mayan action movie.
With optional commentary by writer/producer/director Mel Gibson and writer/co-producer
Farhad Safinia, watch a scene that was removed from the final cut from the
Writer/producer/director Mel Gibson and writer/co-producer Farhad Safinia
provide a chatty and fun commentary for 'Apocalypto'. The pair talks about
difficulties in bringing the film to the silver screen and the problems that
the production had, filming in the jungle and making the film as authentically
as possible. They also talk in detail about the look of the film and the recreation
of the villages and Mayan city. This is a good commentary that Mel Gibson
and his fellow writer clearly has fun recording.
Previews of 'Seraphim Falls', 'Alpha Dog' and 'Black Sheep'
The DVD treatment
for 'Apocalypto' is good. With an excellent commentary and a decent featurette,
the bonus features cover most aspects of the film production. The addition
of a featurette about Mayan history would have being an added bonus but fans
will still be pleased with this release.
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