Apocalypto
R
Entertainment: +1
Acceptability: -4

Dalia Hernandez. Written by Fared Safinia and Mel Gibson. Directed by Mel Gibson.

FILM SYNOPSIS. Life is about to change drastically for a peaceful Mayan village. Another tribe descends upon them, collecting them for labor and sacrifices. The story revolves around one young warrior as he attempts to escape his brutal fate and rescue his wife and child.

PREVIEW REVIEW: While the body of Mel Gibsons work includes varying degrees of violence, several of these well-reviewed productions include spiritual themes; The Passion of the Christ, Signs, We Were Soldiers, Braveheart. But Apocalypto may be the most overrated film of the year and certainly the most violent production of any year.

Its interesting that between The Pursuit of Happyness and now Apocalypto we have two lead characters going through every mental or physical ordeal you can imagine. While both films have something to say about the human condition, they bombard the viewer with excessive frustration and hard luck, to the point of comedy. In Pursuit of Happyness (thats how they spell it) Id had enough when the Will Smith character, late for work, is running for all hes worth until hit by a cab. The jolt knocks off his shoe. He gets up, limping down the street unable to find his shoe. Perhaps it happened in real life, but by this time in the film, we have suffered about all we can with this guy. The lost shoe was a bit over the top. In Apocalypto, the lead also does a great deal of running. And he also goes through the trials of Job or Rambo. But again, the filmmaker overdoes it a bit when our hero is resting in a tree, attempting to avoid his pursuers, when suddenly he sees a cute little black panther cub. We dont need to hear the roar from off screen to know momma is around. But we hear it anyway. He looks over his shoulder and there the cat is, about four feet away. Next scene, this guys running through the jungle, with the panther in close pursuit. Why she didnt eat him in the tree, how he got away, how it is that he can outrun one of the fastest creatures on earth, well, dont ask, because there is no answer given in the film. My point: it becomes ludicrous.

Christians were able to accept the brutality imaged in The Passion of the Christ because it drove home the physical and mental anguish Jesus endured on behalf of mankind. That film visualizes the physical torment he underwent to be sure, but while showing the physical horrors Christ endured, it becomes clear that its not really about what we did to Him, but about what He did for us. The slightness of Apocalyptos script is unbalanced by the incessant depictions of gore. (Its interesting that many reviewers who criticized Gibsons Passion of the Christ for its violence are now finding profoundness in this film, despite its brutality.)

Mr. Gibson is a filmmaker to be reckoned with, one who usually infuses his action adventures with something nearing profundity. But whatever themes may be found in Apocalypto, (mans encroachment upon nature, or war what is it good for) seem lost amid the extremely violent and oppressive imagery. I expected more from a film entitled Apocalypto. The film suggests a new beginning can only come after destruction, but the scenario plays like a bloodlust version of Tarzan and the Slave Girl.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Buena Vista

Summary
Crude Language: Crude sexual comments toward the beginning of the film.
Obscene Language: Well, it seems we cant escape the f-word even in the Mayan jungles. Its used once here.
Profanity: None
Violence: From beginning to end, the film abounds with violent imagery. First, we see hunters kill a fleeing bore, the animal skewered by several spikes. You can just bet, that same skewering is going to happen to a man later in the film. Attacking natives rape, pillage and enslave another native village. People are beaten, tortured and murdered in the most graphic detail I can remember. It is an incessant, graphic display of mans inhumanity toward his fellow beings. Blood: A great deal of blood. I refuse to go into more detail concerning the excessive bloodlust featured in this film. But it is one of the most barbarous depictions I can remember, other than the recent sick horror movies that bombard moviegoers.
Sexual Intercourse: There is a great deal of sexual discussion, including a man unable to impregnate his wife. As a joke, he is given leaves to rub on his penis in order to make him more potent. That, however, is not the purpose of the leaves and he is made a laughing stock as he runs through the village, his member burning from the pungent leaves.
Nudity: Native nudity throughout.
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Several sexual discussions.
Drug Abuse: None
Other: None
Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Adults

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