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Review Apocalypto (2006): Oh Mel, if only you had paid better attention in school. The Mayans are not the same as the Aztecs.

genre: action, adventure, history (very minimal and highly inaccurate)





Will this film be educational? Does Mel Gibson redeem himself? Was he even sober when producing and directing this film? Or will it further empower the suspicion that he might be a tad racist? 

Braveheart, Mad Max trilogy and the Lethal Weapon series were all Mel Gibson movies I liked. They all had in common that they were unpretentious. Somehow Mel Gibson got very religious and embarked himself upon a crusade. To make movies that contain some kind of message. Passion of Christ is one example of this crusade. After reading several reviews on IMDB, I really had high hopes for Apacalypto. It started out great, but when the aggressors (Mayans) come into the picture it is nothing but torture, blood and be headings. The second hour the movie becomes interesting, because then it shows what this movie is really about. It is all about the action and the adventure. The hunted becomes the hunter. The beautifully filmed action scenes made me forget about the first hour and a half. All what has happened to the main character should be seen as one big prologue to the last half hour. I could talk about the historical inaccuracies, but what is the point. This is not about truth or facts it is about adventure. Although I do need to add that Gibson really got his facts wrong. I think he either got confused or he simply thought it was all the same but at one point he is having The Mayans perform an Aztec ritual. That is just preposterous and basically racist. I read that Mel Gibson said that he had a message concerning to this movie. So what is the message Mel? That Mayan people were cruel and ignorant or that the jungle is a very dangerous place. Or there is no place like home. Come on there is no message. And don't pretend there is. There is nothing to be learned from this movie because it gives a very limited view on cultural and historical aspects. As a whole experience this movie is very disappointing! 

It is a long time ago that I have watched this film and had written the review but I can still remember the anguish I felt after having seen it. It's one that angers you so much because some people will actually believe that all of what occurs is based on true historic stories. Especially since he let his actors speak the Yucatec Maya language. Somehow that makes it all seem authentic. But trust me this is not the case. In the end it does not matter that much since basically this is all just context to provide some thrilling action. In that respect this film won't be a total waste of time. However you won't be able to shake the feeling you have been conned. Watch at your own risk. 




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