January 26, 2008

Apocalypto - $8

My experience of a movie is always affected by what my expectations were going in. I'm aware that this does not lend credibility to a person trying to be objective but I can't help it. If I expect greatness from a movie, and it's only good or average, I'm more critical than I should be. In the case of Apocalypto the opposite is true, I didn't expect much and I was blown away.

Apocalypto was written and directed by Mel Gibson and is a story set in the last days of the Mayan empire. The Mayans have become a wealthy kingdom obsessed with showing their grandeur and this wealth is beginning to intersect with the more remote members of the Mayan culture. The story follows Jaguar Paw, a young hunter living in one of the remote villages of the Mayan kingdom. His village is attacked and many are taken prisoner and brought to the Mayan capital to be sold as slaves or sacrificed to please their god. Jaguar Paw escapes to get back to where he has hidden his wife and child and is pursued all the way back to his village by his captors.

I'm not kidding when I tell you that I was blown away by this movie. Their was little or no CGI used and the authenticity of the settings and costumes is truly amazing. There is an astounding scope to the imagery in Apocalypto and it's captivating story hits the audience with many moods, everything from scenes that are quite funny and lighthearted to moments of brutality and cruelty that will make you cringe. This is a truly incredible movie.

The latter half of Apocalypto follows Jaguar Paw running through the jungle, injured and desperate to get back to his family. All the while he is pursued by men intent on killing him. This chase scene is long and all on foot but may be the most intense, creative, and thrilling chase scene I've ever seen.

Apocalypto is not without it's flaws. There is some characteristic Mel Gibson gore that seemed a little unnecessary and some of the acting during the scenes of sacrifice was over the top and distracting.

This is a movie I will watch again though. I put Apocalypto on my 'Watch It' list and give it a value of $8.


nathan davies said...

i have only one question for you -
why in the hell would you watch 'shall we dance'?

Tony Tanti said...

Nathan, New Years Eve, London, England. Staying in a cheap hotel waiting for our flight out the next morning. I had a stomach virus and it was the only thing on tv.

Valid question though.

jon said...

apocalypto got bad press. maybe it was just because of mel gibson.

i'm half intriqued to give it a shot myself, now. thanks for the review!

you should post a review of shall we dance, and instead of saying antying about it or giving it a dollar mark you should just post that description above. that would be perfect, and hilarious.

Sheamus the... said...

one of my favorite movies...Apocalypto, not Shall we Dance.

Anonymous said...

isn't apocalytico also the name of that terrible band that plays metallica songs on cellos


luke said...

Apocalypto is a sad case where a nuanced and beautiful film got eclipsed (pun intended--sorry) by the scary, drunken rant of its director. How Mel Gibson can be blackballed for saying something stupid while drunk (something none of us have never done, I'm sure), but Roman Polanski can be completely forgiven for child molestation (aside from the being-stuck-in-France thing), I'll never know.

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