A New Beginning

Apocalypto was the craziest movie. I haven’t seen Your movie, but I’m concerned that Passion of the Christ had such an uproar and Apocalypto was so discrete. Of course, it didn’t make near as much gross income. In fact, it barely exceeded its budget.

I guess the first thing to consider in a Mel Gibson movie might be the excessive and creative violence. Remember when he’s disembowelled at the end of Braveheart? I, for one, found that totally gross and pretty much unnecessary. And I’m a girl that loves her movie violence. But when directors go to great lengths to come up with really creative ways of torture that, as far as I can see, are lacking a self-consciousness of the effects of violence, I think it crosses the line into pornography. People can sit through two and a half hours of Apocalypto because hearts are being pulling out of stomachs, throats are being slit in close-up, arrows are going through mouths, etc. etc. etc. There seems to be no comment on how disturbing it is that we find this violence entertaining, and even rejoice at some of the creative demises of the villains.

Here’s a review from an archeologists perspective.

But, there is a message about the violence that comes out very clear: Mayans were mother fuckers.
Mayan in Apocalypto
Everything crazy about any of the pre-columbian cultures is innacurately combined into one culture to show what barbarians they were. There is no mention of any of the scientific advances of these people, and there are no examples of city life revolving around anything but a hunger for blood. (some discrepancies) That’s not to say that the Mayans were angels. There are reports of human sacrifices in the way depicted in the film, but not nearly as much. There seems to be no explanation for why these people have become so blood-thirsty except for images of decadence. None of the political, religious, or psychological reasons are dwelt on. More time is spent on mapping out exactly how someone’s face would look when it is being ripped off by a jaguar.

And even all of this wouldn’t have been so disturbing without the ending. Here is Jaguar Paw, played by this guy named Rudy Youngblood that was really awesome, running away from the city Mayans when they all stumble upon the Spanish Conquistadors, coming to shore in boats marked with crosses. Now, God, I’m not sure what your relationship with Mel is right now, but I’m going to submit that this invasion of Christianity into the Yucatan is not quite the “new beginning” that Mel seems to be proposing. What a crazy ass! The Spaniards distract the Mayans as Youngblood runs away to save his wife and children who go off into the jungle saying that they will start from scratch. A “new beginning.”

Mel Gibson in the Apocalypto trailer

With films like King Kong, and Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest, I don’t think Apocalypto could be considered harmless. This seems to me like a dangerous move to justify forms of colonialism, as long as it is executed by the right kind of people.


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