Apocalypto (2006)

I've always had a fascination with the great societies of Central America: the Mayans and the Aztecs. These were highly developed civilizations, with great cities. Their knowledge of math, astronomy, calenders, and writing was eons beyond anything the North Americans ever developed, and in some cases ahead of European and Asian civilizations. Also, the Mayan pyramids stand to this day as a testament to the vitality of these large cities.

With that context, I set out to watch Mel Gibson's Apocalypto. This director, on the one hand sets out to take authenticity to the extreme with all the dialogue in Mayan. Seriously, how the heck do you find folks that speak this language, and why? Once again, couldn't they dub in an English soundtrack for those of us that are lazy movie watchers, at least on the DVD?

Unfortunately, it gets worse. Rather than show us the great Mayan civilization, complete with architecture, and a size that would have created wonderment, we instead focus on the violence of the Mayans- for the entirety of the film, to the exclusion of everything else. Yeah, I realize that the Mayans weren't exactly into book clubs or knitting, but the only reason for the film doesn't have to be fighting and bloodshed, and not much else.

Between it all, I couldn't take it, and had to eject the DVD halfway through as there was nothing redeeming here. Even fans of Mayan civilization won't be enthralled with Apocalypto. Once again, I think I simply wanted to see a different film.

Overall Grade: Incomplete (Preliminary Grade: F+)

Reviewed by Jonas

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