Monday, January 22, 2007


There is something really drastically wrong with Mel Gibson movies these days. I'm not quite sure where his movies are heading with the endless blood and gore. Did it start with Braveheart?

I've never seen The Passion of the Christ (and why is it _the_ Christ?). Well, I lie. I've seen the Benny Hill version. That was enough for me. Based on that, it looks like the real thing is all about suffering and blood, and not really about _the_ Christ's Passion that much.

In Apocalypto, it's about rolling heads, ripped out hearts, stabbie stabbie stabbie, blood spray, cruelty to endangered animals. It has it all. Errr, what's the plot again? Oh right, Mayan hunter trying to save his family. *Drone drone* Think of this as the Mayan version of Gladiator. Or the Mayan version of Braveheart. Or the Mayan version of The Last of the Mohicans. Only, it's less entertaining than its predecessors. Hrm, should I even call it Mayan? Normally, I don't really care about Hollywood historical inaccuracies, but something about this movie made me want to look it up. Probably because I thought the movie was done in bad taste, not really entertaining, and didn't understand why it's been getting more good reviews than bad.

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:
“This was not a film about the Mayas,” said Robert Carmack, a retired anthropology professor from SUNY Albany's lauded Mesoamerican program. “It's a big mistake – almost a tragedy – that they present this as a Maya film.”

Take the film's depiction of a major Maya city that serves as the setting for much of the film's third act. Many of the architectural details are correct, but they're cobbled together from different locations (including ancient cities in Guatemala and the Yucatan) and different eras, the experts said.

The sadism that permeates the movie was simply not part of the culture, the experts said. Yes, the Mayas practiced human sacrifice, but in ways that were highly ritualized and usually involved a single victim. Not pretty, to be sure, but a far cry from the slaughterhouse of mass sacrifice depicted in “Apocalypto” – a virtual conga line of the soon-to-be headless, followed by desecration of their bodies.

From the Boston Globe:
"When we tell the story of Alexander the Great, we get at least some of it right, but Mel's version of the Mayan civilization -- one of the world's great civilizations -- is totally wrong." The errors are too numerous to list here, but, as an example, Fash says he flinched while he watched Mel's Mayans run through the jungle. "They're portrayed as hunters and gatherers, and they never were," he says. "They were extremely sophisticated agriculturists." If all this seems like historical nitpicking, it isn't... "It's condescending of Mel to make money at the expense of a living culture," said Fash. "There are six million Mayan speakers out there, and it'd be too bad if Mel insulted an entire civilization and nobody was bothered by it."
(William Fash is the director of Harvard's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology)

Well, how do the Mayan descendants feel about this movie? I did stumble upon this page by the Mexica Movement. Front page, has a mug shot of Mel Gibson on it with a "White Supremist" label. So, I'm guessing at least some of them are pissed off.

Apocalypto - 1/5

Spend your money and time watching The Last King of Scotland instead. Forest Whitaker has my respect as one of the most brilliant actors ever. Nobody else could've made Idi Amin's character as real as he did.

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