Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Gerardo Taracena, Raoul Trujillo, Dalia Hernández, Rudy Youngblood, Jonathan Brewer
Director: Mel Gibson
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
From Mel Gibson, director of The Passion Of The Christ and the Academy Award® winning Braveheart (Best Director, Best Picture, 1995) comes the thrilling historical epic Apocalypto. This intense, nonstop action-adventure t... more »
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Gibson's Journey Into The Mayan Jungles Makes For An Excitin
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 03/06/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Even with all the controversy surrounding Mel Gibson last year (and doesn't it seem as if each new week brings another celebrity meltdown?), I still looked forward to seeing "Apocalypto." Why? If for no other reason--the subject matter, subtitles, and lack of star power made it a bold choice for a major studio release. Films of this nature generally go into limited distribution to develop an audience and critical word of mouth before expanding, if they ever do. But with Gibson at the helm, "Apocalypto" debuted with much fanfare and backing just in time to be considered for 2006's Academy Awards. For some reason, though, I still missed "Apocalypto" at the theaters. I have heard every description imaginable from those that have seen the film--from the "best movie ever" to "excessively violent and disturbing." And while I wouldn't go to either of those extremes, "Apocalypto" is certainly an accomplished adventure picture.
Set in ancient Mayan times, "Apocalypto" is essentially the harrowing journey of one man, a youth named Jaguar Paw (a convincing Rudy Youngblood). Living a simple and isolated existence, his tribe are very at home within the forest. One day, the unthinkable happens. They are attacked by another group with apparent intentions of enslaving whomever they don't kill. Youngblood's wife and son are stranded in an underground well, many others are murdered, and Youngblood is among a dozen or so who are rounded up and marched out in bondage. The subsequent journey leads to a fantastical temple sequence, where it becomes clear that the prisoners are not to become slaves--but sacrifices. The remainder of the film deals with how Youngblood can escape this situation. The temple scenes feature a cast of thousands, ritualistic and brutal slayings, and a mob mania that is terrifying and believable. Racing against the clock to save his wife, Youngblood must escape back through the jungle--where all he has to help him are his cunning and an almost spiritual connection to his surroundings. The action is practically nonstop, it's inventive, and it is beautifully staged. Much of "Apocalypto," therefore, is absolutely riveting and wildly entertaining.
For the purists who will debate the film's historical accuracy, I will neither deny or confirm the legitimacy of the events that transpire within "Apocalypto." While there do seem to be some liberties taken with the historical timeline (as evidenced by a surprise in the ending--which I enjoyed despite its implausibility), I really don't think that this film aspires to be a "historical document." Gibson has made an adventure story using a Mayan backdrop. The feel and look of his picture stay as valid as possible to the timeframe, however, I never interpreted this picture as a "true" story. Guess what? Fictional liberties are taken in every motion picture. Otherwise every motion picture would be a documentary--and even documentaries have an angle or slant which make them less than "true" in many cases. "Apocalypto," at heart, is an effective action picture that makes interesting use of its Mayan setting.
I guess "Apocalypto" is not for the squeamish--however, the violence depicted is by no means unusual by modern film standards. You can see much worse in today's "torture" cinema, those films that pass for horror with current audiences. I suppose what makes "Apocalypto" more vivid is that the violence is in a believable context. There are some beheadings and some hunting scenes, but the brutality is intrinsic to the story "Apocalypto" is telling. I don't believe serious minded filmgoers will be put off by seeing some savagery depicted in a film about ancient Mayan cultures--it's not as if this is a Merchant/Ivory production with tea parties and witty banter.
I do recommend "Apocalypto." Beautifully filmed, the technical merits of the film are beyond reproach. The cinematography, score, and editing all enhance this exciting tale. I imagine these elements really shone bright for those who saw this on the big screen. A great action picture that is for adults--check it out. KGHarris, 03/07.
FINALLY SOMETHING ORIGINAL !
G.V. | Mexico City, Mexico | 02/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A welcome change of pace for us who feel Hollywood keeps making the same picture over and over again. The first part of this film is the most unconventional but also hard to endure as only bad things seem to happen to the characters but once Act II arrives and the chase begins, grab on !. I can't remmember the last time a film had my stomach in knotts like this one.
Some people here in Mexico have complained about the film's historical accuracy since by the time the Spanish arrived in America, the Mayan civilization had already been taken over by other groups. In any case, Hollywood films are not the best way to learn about history.
When Braveheart came out over 10 years ago I remmember a friend telling me: "who would have thought Mel Gibson was a real director", 2 films later he keeps surprising me with his directing skills. It's too bad the public has let themselves be convinced by the media that he's the most evil person to ever come out of Hollywood which is absurd. I guess they feel the more they discredit him the more they discredit "The Passion of the Christ".
Great work Mel !"
A Motion Picture Masterpiece
Scrutinizing Consumer | Los Angeles, CA | 01/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Apocalypto is a story about a Mayan man's, Jaguar Paw, epic journey. His peaceful, content village is attacked by a superior tribe and his people are slaughtered and enslaved. He escapes and has to deal with great obstacles while trying to race back to save his wife and child.
When I first heard what this was about and saw the trailer I feared that Mr. Gibson was losing his touch. The movie looked plain boring.
I can't remember the last time I have been so wrong.
I work for a production company that made a film with Mr. Gibson in the past and decided to write him to share how I felt about his work. Below is a copy of the letter I sent him:
"Dear Mr. Gibson,
I am writing to tell you how beautiful and powerful I think Apocalypto is. I first saw it one month ago and have seen it four more times since. I believe it is one of the best films ever made.
The story was magnificently crafted with characters and emotions I found I could easily relate to. It triggered emotions within me as I watched. I laughed hard with the characters. And I felt their fear, pain, hatred, love and desire. The gaps (between expectation and reality) were opened wider than in any movie I've seen in a very long time. My mind throbbed with contemplation when the old story teller told his people of how man took until the Earth had nothing left to give. I grew uneasy as I realized the similarities between the Mayan narcissism and that of great civilizations since, especially our (America's) own.
The epic chase was powerful and cerebral. Jaguar Paw's exhaustion and need was palpable. It is the greatest chase ever - better than The Fugitive.
The cinematography was bold and vibrant. When combined with the powerful sound and fantastic casting, the story took hold of me from the opening scene right through to the credits.
Mr. Gibson, you have become one of my favorite directors. You now have two films on my short, all-time-favorite-movies list, which includes American Beauty, Braveheart, Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction and RKO 281. Apocalypto not only entertains, it evokes strong emotion and inspires soulful contemplation. Apocalypto is a true masterpiece. You are a master storyteller.
An Apocalyptic Adventure!!
Michael & Angela | Florida | 06/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mel Gibson does it yet again - bigger and better!
Whether you love him or hate him, obviously the vast majority rule that Mel Gibson can not only act, but direct movies with the best of them. The tale of the tail tells all.
Hoo-hum Box Office sales, but the lead in DVD sales. That's with no doubt due to his ranting and subsequent arrest. But overlying all of this is the absolute high quality of storytelling and savage beauty he can lend to a film. This is without a doubt one of the best films ever made.
Filled with such raw beauty and savage violence, Gibson is smart enough to balance it with showing the love and caring his characters evoke. Not just rely on great action seqeunces, or special effects. The downfall of many a director.
This movie shines beautifully on my 65-inch HD T.V. Better than the theater. If you don't own a huge HD TV, then you must purchase one to get the full effect of such awesome filmed movies.
A must have for your library."