Mel GIbson's Apocalypto

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Mel GIbson's Apocalypto

Post by Johnny Neat » Tue Jul 18, 2006 8:10 am

After crazy Gibson's last two directorial films, Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ, I'm so down for whatever he has to say... but Mel can we have just one last Mad Max film?

http://apocalypto.movies.go.com/
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Post by jdalton » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:30 pm

Oooh. If this is any good, I will be very, very, very happy. It's about time someone did something authentic with Mayan culture. There's so much potential story material there! I take back everything I said in that other thread.
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Post by Nofret » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:43 pm

Heehee, if you go frame by frame, Gibson appears in one of the images.
True!!!

Looking forward to this, then again, I always had a weakness for historically based films.

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For you...

Post by Johnny Neat » Wed Jul 19, 2006 6:59 pm

For you Nofret :D CRAZY MEL.

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Post by SonOfaRich » Thu Jul 20, 2006 12:15 pm

That is hilarious!
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LET THE TRAILER SPEAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Post by Johnny Neat » Thu Sep 14, 2006 6:55 am

Despite Mel's apparant momentary lapse of reason, we finally have APOCALYPTO's OFFICIAL TRAILER!
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Post by Josh-Ulrich » Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:08 pm

This looks to be fantastic.

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Post by Coheteboy » Mon Nov 13, 2006 12:31 pm

I am officially intrigued.
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Post by Dresden Codak » Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:22 pm

I wonder how accurate it will be, what with Gibson's extremist Catholic sect and the Church's awful history with these people.
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Post by jdalton » Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:03 pm

Surely even Crazy Mel wouldn't be anti-Mayan, would he? Obliterating nearly every Mayan book ever written and quashing Mayan culture wherever it could be found is obviously one of Christendom's darkest hours (the dresden codex being one of the only four or five books to survive, of course! :wink: ) but wouldn't an anti-Mayanist rather not make a movie about the Mayans and treat the obliteration of Mayan culture as mission accomplished? Or make a movie about the conquistadores "rescuing" the Mayans from themselves?

I dunno. I will be watching this movie closely for accuracy as well. I already have a couple of reservations just from the trailer, but I'm still optimistic!
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Post by SonOfaRich » Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:51 am

Just saw a sneak preview screening of this last night. The story is told very well, but the film is pretty much a straight up action film in a Mayan setting. I expected it to be more 'epic'. All the little elements from beginning to end were a nice touch. I was definitely hoping for a little more.

Not too sure how accurate this was. If it's accurate, then that was a deeply disturbing time.
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Post by jdalton » Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:56 pm

I have a vested interest in any story about the ancient Mayans, since I'm currently writing one. I've written a lengthy review about this movie on my blog. I have a lot of good things to say about it, no really I do, but then some bad things too. Here's an excerpt.
jdalton wrote:As far as I'm concerned the vast majority of modern stories set in Mesoamerica place far too much emphasis on the subject of human sacrifice. In the sense that every single modern story set in Mesoamerica seems to be about nothing but human sacrifice. Yes, the Mayans and Aztecs slaughtered captives on top of pyramids. In the case of the Aztecs, they did it a lot. It would be an odd story that didn't at least mention this practice. But there's so much more to Mesoamericans than cutting people's hearts out! Imagine if every single story set in medieval Europe was primarily about the killing of heathens, witches, jews, and heretics. Imagine if no one told stories about dragons or chivalry or Medieval adventuring or courtly romance or important historical figures like Shakespeare. Yes, Europeans routinely burned supposed non-believers at the stake, excommunicated and ridiculed them, shunned and massacred them, or made war on them en masse. But that wasn't their whole lives! The majority of "heretics" died of smallpox or old age just like everyone else. And the endless supply of them pretty much proves that Europeans were not very efficient at wiping them out if that had been their primary obsession.

Also out of place was the quote at the beginning about great civilizations being destroyed from within, not without. The fact is that although the Mayans had long since passed their Classical prime by the arrival of the Spanish, a stable smaller-scale society had replaced the Classical city states and the Mayans were thriving. They were oh-so-definitely destroyed from without by smallpox and guns.

The scene in the Mayan city bothered me the most. Throughout the movie, the director seems intent on emphasizing the foreignness of the Mayans. He never misses an opportunity to stick them full of piercings, have them walk around half-dressed, or behave in wild and inexplicable ways. His Mayans come off as ignorant primitives. In my story, I've made it my goal to emphasize the similarities between them and us. And there are many...
...and then I start talking about how great I am. :roll: So I'll skip that part. Basically, as far as i can tell there was nothing "wrong" with Mel's portrayal of the Mayans. He has all the details right. I just think he's picked all the wrong details to show us.
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Post by Dresden Codak » Sun Dec 10, 2006 3:09 pm

I'm with you. There's not even a mention of their incredible mathematics or astronomy. To be honest, it seems like Mel Gibson wanted the Mayas to look like Aztecs (the whole "pulling out the heart and decapitating a guy to roll his head down some steps" is taken from European witnesses to Aztec rituals). Overall I think his motivation is more about a political message than anything else. He's quoted as saying
"The precursors to a civilization that’s going under are the same, time and time again... What’s human sacrifice if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?"
Great job, Mel, but don't misalign and stereotype an entire civlization to do it. It's geat to see a film that's exclusively about a Mesoamerican people, but it stinks that it focuses mainly on a cliche of the culture. Also, the anachronistic arrival of Spanish conquistadors is enough to drive me up the wall. If we're to believe that the story takes place during the fall of the Classical Maya (as Mel Mel would have us believe), that means the Spaniards are ariving in Central America around the 10th century at best, about 500 years too early.

That being said, historical issues aside, I think it was a pretty well made movie. Intense stuff.
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Post by Dresden Codak » Sun Dec 10, 2006 3:33 pm

I'd also like to add that although historians are pretty sure the Maya were involved with human sacrifice, far more common in their culture was the ritual of self-sacrifice, specifically the self-inflicted wounding (especially the genitals) of a high official to appease whatever supernatural forces needed appeasing. We see a hint of it in the film where the one fellow cuts his hand with a knife on top of the pyramid, but it seems more like an afterthought, which I would say is historically dishonest on Gibson's part.

No culture but the Maya practiced this, for whatever reason.
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Post by jdalton » Sun Dec 10, 2006 4:24 pm

I guess if we're looking for factual inaccuracies, the pit of headless bodies could count as one. I don't have any statistics handy, but I have serious doubts that the post-Classical Maya would ever have amassed such a multitude of recent corpses. The Aztecs would have, but they had to maintain a constant state of war with their neighbours to bring in that many people to kill.

There were several events in the film that I really wish they would have delved deeper into. Like the girl with smallpox just before they enter the city. That's a whole movie in and of itself! Here was a disease that was completely unlike anything the Mayans had ever seen before, that spread much faster and farther than the Spanish who first introduced it, that had the power to wipe out entire cities, and the movie only gives it a couple of sentences of coverage. Anyone who didn't know about the impact of smallpox ahead of time would probably miss that aspect of the story altogether.

But yeah, I'm glad the movie was made. I want more movies about Mesoamericans, not less! I've been hoping for years that someone would eventually make a movie out of the meeting of Cortez and Moctezuma.
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