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'Apocalypto' trade review - (Various)


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  • 'Apocalypto' trade review - (Various)

    New U.S. Release


    A Buena Vista release of a Touchstone Pictures presentation in association with Icon Prods. of an Icon production. Produced by Mel Gibson, Bruce Davey. Executive producers, Ned Dowd, Vicki Christianson. Co-producer, Farhad Safinia. Directed by Mel Gibson. Screenplay, Gibson, Farhad Safinia.

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    By Todd McCarthy
    December 1, 2006

    Mel Gibson is always good for a surprise, and his latest is that "Apocalypto" is a remarkable film. Set in the waning days of the Mayan civilization, the picture provides a trip to a place one's never been before, offering hitherto unseen sights of exceptional vividness and power. In the wake of its director's recent outburst and unwanted publicity, commercial prospects remain anyone's guess, and those looking for a reason not to attend will undoubtedly find one, be it Gibson's tirade, the gore, the subtitles or outre subject matter. But blood-and-guts action audiences should eat this up, Gibson is courting Latinos, eco-political types will like the message and at least part of the massive "The Passion of the Christ" crowd should be curious, so strong biz is possible if these distinct constituencies are roused.

    Despite the subject's inherent spectacle, conflict and societal interest, Central America's pre-Columbian history has scarcely been touched by filmmakers; Hollywood's only venture into the territory was the little-remembered 1963 quasi-epic "Kings of the Sun," with Yul Brynner and George Chakiris.

    Cast largely with indigenous nonpros speaking the prevailing surviving dialect of the Mesoamericans, "Apocalypto" is exotic, wild, ferocious, teeming with startling incident and brutal violence.

    With co-screenwriter Farhad Safinia, Gibson has cooked up a scenario that is fundamentally a survival and chase film, with a final act that trades on the human hunt motif of "The Most Dangerous Game" and Cornel Wilde's "The Naked Prey."

    But both the grand conception of a civilization in decline and the extraordinary detail with which the society is presented make the picture much more than that, to the extent that it startlingly echoes another portent-laden year-end release, Alfonso Cuaron's "Children of Men;" one film is set in the past, the other in the near-future, one was made in Mexico by a Yank-Aussie, the other in Britain by a Mexican, but both are contemporaneously resonant stories of pursuit through poisoned, dangerous lands on the brink.
    full review at
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  • #2
    'Apocalypto' trade review - The Hollywood Reporter 12/1/06


    Bottom Line: Over-the-top violence mars a brilliant ethnographic thriller of ancient times

    Kirk Honeycutt
    The Hollywood Reporter
    Dec 1, 2006

    It really began with his "Braveheart" more than a decade ago, though no one really noticed then because it obeyed all the conventions of a big Hollywood epic, albeit a very violent one. But Mel Gibson's career as a film director is becoming one long essay in human cruelty through the ages. Whatever spiritual messages devout Christians took from 2004's "The Passion of the Christ," its violence was pornographic.

    In "Apocalypto," Gibson and co-writer Farhad Safinia turn to the Mayan civilization that dominated present-day Mexico and Central America from 2400 B.C. to the 15th century A.D. They ignore its advances in urban planning, mathematics, art, astronomy, agriculture and writing systems to dwell on its utter barbarity. Men hunt men, rape women and sacrifice victims by tearing hearts from quivering bodies with joyful ferocity.

    This is no cheesy exploitation movie, though, but a first-rate epic build around one man's will to survive to rescue his family. In other words, in the good Hollywood tradition, it's got a hero, villain, damsel in distress, exotic natives and breathtaking vistas that evoke feelings of awe and dread. The guy knows how to make a heart-pounding movie; he just happens to be a cinematic sadist.
    Gibson's well-publicized personal problems, the film's eye-catching key art and critics calling him a sadist probably add up to money in the bank for the Walt Disney Co. "Apocalypto" might not reach the $600 million worldwide grosses of "Passion," but it will attract a considerable international crowd. To his credit, there is never a dull moment.
    full review at
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006


    • #3
      Re: 'Apocalypto' trade review - (Various)

      The Mayans history involved lots of violence and barbaric atrocities. Why clean up something that was fact and real.

      its like cleaning up the facts that not too long ago blacks were slaves

      and jews were masacred.

      its not a discovery channel movie that needs to show us the construction facts of their elaorate civilizations.


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