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Moriarty Wrassles With APOCALYPTO!

And this is going to be pretty much the exact opposite of my bowl-choking post-Thanksgiving article I just posted, lean and mean and to the point. I’m not going to indulge in the sort of cheap psychoanalysis of Mel Gibson that seems to have replaced film criticism with the release of this title, because I am personally so sick of reading everyone’s opinions of his mental health. I don’t know any other major director working right now who so completely overwhelms their own films with each release, but of course, part of that is his fault. He injects so much of himself into each of his films, and he’s so obviously been working variations on a single theme that it becomes hard not to discuss him while discussing his art. Still, I’m going to give it a try. APOCALYPTO is, at heart, just an action film. That’s not to say that action films are less worthy of discussion. Some of my favorite films are action movies, and I think THE ROAD WARRIOR is damn near perfect cinema precisely because it eschews any larger themes in pursuit of a pure kinetic buzz. APOCALYPTO tells a simple story, and it moves at a manic pace. Gibson takes a few minutes up front to set up the idyllic life of the community where Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) lives, and there’s a broad sense of humor at work through much of it. It’s good that there’s some levity up front, because from the moment the more “civilized” Mayans show up, the film is pretty much a non-stop action ride. It’s also incredibly violent, although you’d think the people kicking up a fuss about it had never seen a movie before. There’s nothing you’ll see here that you haven’t seen in other films before. There’s a lot of it, certainly, but if you’re a gorehound, this is sort of like Heaven considering how little we get from horror films these days. Beheadings, hearts being cut out of chests, spears and arrows through people, and much more are all used to fill out Gibson’s view of a society rotting from within. Basically, though, he’s just setting the stakes for Jaguar Paw, his superhero lead who must avoid capture long enough to find and rescue his family. There’s a great punchline to the film that made me laugh out loud (it’s the scene on the beach), but I wouldn’t say it really means much of anything. The second hour of the film is basically one long chase scene, and it’s well-orchestrated. Dean Semler, whose photography for DANCES WITH WOLVES is one of the main reasons that film did so well, works in HD here for the first time, and it’s pretty successful. I don’t know if the HD cameras are really the best way to shoot running scenes in a jungle, because blur is where you can see the video quality the most, but if you’re interested in seeing what the state of the art in non-film cinematography looks like, this is it. As I was watching APOCALYPTO, I enjoyed myself, and I would encourage action junkies and gore freaks to check it out. If you can’t get past Gibson’s personal life, nothing in this film is going to change your mind, and if you’re looking for some deep meaningful statement on modern civilization, you’ll still be looking when the credits roll. If it seems like I’ve barely said anything in this review, well, then... that makes Gibson and I even. This may be empty calories, but it’s well-made, and it delivers within its own limited ambitions. Drew McWeeny, Los Angeles

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 8, 2006, 3:17 a.m. CST


    by elbmirb

    Shamon!!! damn you michael jackson

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 3:24 a.m. CST

    I've gotta say

    by BannedOnTheRun

    Getting past an actor's or director's "personal life" is a prerequisite to seeing anything made in Hollywood. I'm so thankful they're there and I'm here.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 3:25 a.m. CST


    by binarybender

    i cant wait anyways!

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 4:14 a.m. CST

    Good review. Even handed.

    by Reelheed

    Lame film. Next please.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 4:12 a.m. CST

    No, those aren't gore movies...

    by godoffireinhell

    They are torture porn.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 4:36 a.m. CST

    wrassles? what the fuck is wrassling?

    by newc0253

    is that anything perchance like wrestling?

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 4:42 a.m. CST

    Drew McWeeny, Los Angeles...

    by Seph_J

    ...why do I care where you are?

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 5:08 a.m. CST

    Gibson haters...

    by JackPumpkinhead

    Will go and hang their worthless "selves" now. Well, what the hell are they waiting for?

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 5:23 a.m. CST

    one voice, don't be a tool

    by BendersShinyAss

    HD is fucking awesome. saying you hate it because it strips film of it's magical quality all of a sudden give credence to every piece of shit film ever made. the truth is, as a capture format, HD is phenominal, it's how you framethat image and what you do with that image in post that makes all the difference. Seriosuly dude, HD rocks my balls. but I know what you're saying so all is cool

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 5:41 a.m. CST

    Don't compare yourself to Gibson, dude

    by Lord_Soth

    Show some respect.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 5:50 a.m. CST

    Nothing wrong with HD

    by KnightShift

    Not everyone can afford the exorbitant cost of 35 mm film. Ain't saying that Mel Gibson has that problem but when you lay it all out, the vast majority of filmmakers do. Encouraging the use of digital video is a good thing: it turns loose the creative impulse of the common man, instead of going back time after time to suck dry the same weary tit of stagnant Hollywood. If filmmaking is going to endure as an appreciated and commercially viable artform, control of it *has* to be wrested away from the big budget studios. Why should we moan and complain about the glut of remakes and other uninspired films... when there's no reason why we CAN'T go out and make our own quality movies with what's readily on hand? Guess what I'm trying to say is, it's not money or high-quality materials that make a good movie: it's a great story and personal initiative.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 7:07 a.m. CST

    300 and now this...

    by Freefinger

    Wow, great ends of years we're going to have in movies... Who cares what he said, Christian, Jewish, or whatever else, we all have some little hatred that'll come out in situations that he was in. He was probably lashing out at some schmuck who's a head honcho at some studio who was holding him back or whatever else, who cares get over it. If the cops hadn't revealled this info we would've never even heard of the fu**ing incident, but unfortunatly for him, he's famous, and today trash media is paying the big bucks to get whatever dirt they can on famous people (This now includes ET who have gone down the drain these past few years). This movie looks great, whether Mel is doing it or someone else the work is there and right now, looking at the trailers, it looks awesome. Can't wait to see this one. Now, all we'll need to do is wait for 300 to come out next November, god.. a whole year...

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 7:23 a.m. CST

    300 and now this...

    by CuervoJones

    John Millius must come back to cinema. Crown of Iron, anyone?

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 7:41 a.m. CST

    From your lips to God's ear Cuervo.

    by Blue_Demon

    Alas, "Crown of Iron" will have to be ( if it ever is ) without the beautiful music of Basil Polidoris. Still, can you imagine what it will look like with the great special effects these days? Big-atures? Modern fight choreography? I'm salivatin'!

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 8:03 a.m. CST

    Not enough gore for you these days, heh?

    by JohnGalt06

    Well, I myself do not hate gore if it enhances the film overall. KILL BILL VOL 1 & 2 are two of my favorite movies of all time, although I would argue that the gore in those movies is so wildly over-the-top and unrealistic that it doesn't even count (part of the film's genius). But as far as I'm concerned, there is TOO much gore in so-called "horror" movies these days. The SAW films and all their clones represent a sort of artistic bankruptcy that makes me wonder if the horror genre is completely dead.... But you say there isn't ENOUGH gore in movies, Mori? Well, thank God for Mel then...

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 8:46 a.m. CST

    You guys have no backbone

    by The Funketeer

    Given everyone at AICN's refusal to acknowledge the crimes of Roman Polanski when Oliver Twist came out, it comes as no surprise to me that both reviews of this film feel the need to challenge us to get over his anti-semetic rant as if people are narrow minded and have no taste because they feel the pain of others and demand that we as a society do not tolerate that sort of behavior. That said, I *CAN* move past Gibsons remarks but only because he has publicly and I think sincerely acknowledge not only that he was wrong but that it wasn't JUST drunkeness that fueld them and that he would like to explore where they came from. He certainly seems conflicted between his upbringing and his current faith. I don't demand that everyone forgive him or even get over it and see his movie but I respect those who are hurt in more ways than one by his remarks and choose not to support his work as a result. It would be nice, though, if the people running this site would grow a pair and stand up for something other than good movies for a change. It's hard for me to fathom why someone with a young child such as Mori would promote the works of Polanski or Victor Salva with even a negative review on this site.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 8:54 a.m. CST

    forget apocalypto

    by davidlyons

    have any of you seen LETHAL MESSIAH. surely gibsons finest hour it's on you tube and its funny as fuck.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 8:55 a.m. CST


    by davidlyons

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 9:03 a.m. CST

    Adam Hackbarth, St. Louis

    by stlfilmwire

    We are really proud of where we live. Aren't we?

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Damn, there goes David Lynch on my shit list

    by BannedOnTheRun

    A government conspiracy is "too much for Americans to think about?" That's all the fuck we think about since Watergate. How about this: the plain and simple fact that Islamist radicals want us dead is "too basic a fact for some film directors to acknowledge." No, there must be some nuance in there...

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 9:27 a.m. CST

    The Funketeer

    by Strabo

    Oh yeah, but what about SUGAR TITS!

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 9:29 a.m. CST


    by Strabo

    Good job buying into GOP propaganda. They don't want us dead. They want us to leave them the fuck alone and get the fuck out of their land. In the interim, yeah, they'll settle for dead, but if we weren't there in the first fucking place...

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 9:34 a.m. CST

    Yeah, no thanks

    by ImJustSaying

    I am admittedly a huge Gibson fan (not caring about his personal life, a drunk can be a great artist the same way a bad husband can make good president), but even I am going to skip this one. Just cause I'm not interested. I saw Casino Royale, I've had my holiday action fill.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 9:39 a.m. CST

    Here's the thing though Moriarty

    by lavaboat

    It's funny, I don't have a clue what you really thought of this film. It's a reviewless review. "Empty calories" is an insulting, dismissive summation of the genre that you begin your review admiring. Why are empty calories less valid than something a little more intellectually meaty, like say Inland Empire? Empty calories, when done right, is quite simply a ticket to another world, an EXPERIENCE of total immersion. This is not only a very cool thing, it's elevated. Lavaboat

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 10:02 a.m. CST

    One review I read already ruined the end

    by jimmy_009

    Was it on this site? I can't remember. I saw a clip from the movie last night on Jay Leno. It may have just been a weird effect from the clip they used, but it looked like it was shot on a cheap digital camcorder. I hope it looks more like the trailer and less like this clip I saw.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Mel goes back to a small Colorado town

    by S-Mart shopper

    South Parkalypto:The Return of Gibson...can't wait, hurry up Trey&Stone!

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Thanks Strabo

    by BannedOnTheRun

    So the hijackers (under the direction of the U.S. government) went back in time and blew up the towers in retaliation for the Iraq war, which was started by the U.S. government, to drive us out of their land, which we wanted to invade for the oil. Check. And when they chant "Death to America," that's a mistranslation of "Please leave us the fuck alone." I'll sleep better now.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 11:46 a.m. CST


    by Strabo

    Jesus, when did we get to Oz? There are fucking straw men everywhere!

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 11:54 a.m. CST

    Again with this Toasty Tony!!!

    by Freefinger

    Please soemone ban his ass for posting the most horrible stupid fucking thing ever made by a bunch of dimwads!

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 12:01 p.m. CST


    by Freefinger

    Sugar tits has died, his cousin Sugar Bear was enraged that he had been put aside for so many years and was going to be replaced by Sugar Tits (Since all Companies know that sex sells way more than a bear, they wanted a more edgy name for their mascott, hence Sugar Tits..) RIP Sugar Tits we will miss you. DAMN YOU MICHEAL BAY! DAMN YOU SUGAR BEAR!!!

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 12:05 p.m. CST

    I too am tired of critics playing shrink.

    by Barry Egan

    Scorsese has made very violent films for 4 decades now and critics don't seem to want to analyze him. Instead the critics just line up to kiss Marty's ass.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Et tu, David Lynch?

    by Frijole

    Jesus. All he did was parrot bullshit information from a bullshit documentary. Jesus, even Noam Chomsky admits that the Loose Change guys and their ilk are fucking nut-jobs...

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 1:32 p.m. CST

    Lynch: Too big for people to think about.

    by vivavitalogy

    I felt that way the first time I saw Mullholland Drive. Then I got over it.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 1:35 p.m. CST

    SPOILER: the scene on the beach

    by TheBaxter

    jaguar paw survives and makes it to the beach with his family, where he encounters a hut full of jews who reveal they are responsible for all the wars in the mayan world.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 1:37 p.m. CST

    "In my country there is problem. And the problem is...

    by MC Vamp

    "...transport." What did you think I was going to type? I wonder how Mel enjoyed BORAT. I'll be in line tonight for this. F*** hypocrisy, but we're all prejudiced anyway. Ever go to the Museum of Tolerance and try to go through the door for "Non-Prejudiced People" that won't f***ing open? It's weird that the door's magical properties can detect that kind of thing. I see people trying that door all the time, but nope, it detects their prejudiced asses. I tried opening the door for fifteen minutes once and thought I had it cracked, but nope, nothing. And then I realized I hated Scientologists and was ashamed for belittling such a proud and devoted tribe of Thetan hosts. I have my demons, just like Mel, Kramer, and Ty Cobb before me.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 2:51 p.m. CST

    I CAN'T WAIT...

    by choptop see all the bloody action in Gibson's Judaism movie! Imagine, someone getting their eyes stabbed out with a menorah, maybe a dradle bludgeoning, or a guy getting clubbed to death with a sock full of saved pennies.... cold chills, folks. Cold chills.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Barry Egan

    by choptop

    I don't think it's the violence in Mel's movies that leads to people to analyse him so deeply. Its the fact that he feels the need to justify his ultra violent movies by saying they are great moving historical epics. He needs to suck it up and admit that he makes damn good gore porn, and stop saying that his religious devotion made him do it, or his love for past civilizations made him do it. Of course, these excuses are probably also a large part of how he gets funding.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 3:27 p.m. CST

    This movie rocked HARD

    by CherryValance

    I really think that review doesn't do it justice actually. I don't think it was just an actioner, and that beach scene I thought capped off a pretty perfect movie. I thought it was more of an exclamation point than a punchline. I'm more blown away than I was by The Departed. If I really tried to nitpick it, the only thing that seemed slightly just a little off was this weird little girl who has some info for the bad guys. She was kinda reminiscent of Paul Atreides freaky little sister but not that bad. Otherwise I thought it was flawless.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Beach scene guess: Europeans arrive?

    by Some Dude

    Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 6:07 p.m. CST

    Just saw it...a few spoilers.

    by alienindisguise

    Yeah, overall, not a bad movie but I would have liked to have seen more about the culture and alot of the shots in the trailers weren't in the movie at all. I know this is customary but some of those shots were better than the ones used. Especially the one with the priest atop the temple and the sun is breaking through the clouds...awesome shot but it ain't in the movie. I didn't think the gore was overdone. It happened at the spots I figured it would and I actually thought the sacrifice scenes were gonna be alot more graphic but Gibson pulled a Braveheart with those. In my personal opinion, the most gruesome scene was when one of the pursuing Mayans jumped over a waterfall and cracks his head when he lands in shallow water.BONK!

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 7:23 p.m. CST

    Best film I've seen in years.

    by Shermdawg

    No matter what you think of Gibson, he's still one of the best filmmakers around.<br><br>Mori's right, is a action movie, but he's wrong when he says it's just a action movie.<br><br>Historical films, especially something like this will spark a new found curiosty in those who may not have taken interest in the subject matter beforehand.<br><br>And his statement of "if you’re a gorehound, this is sort of like Heaven" is a bit misleading. I don't consider a few slit throats, arrows/spear inflicted wounds a offscreen and kinda lame ripping of several guys hearts, all that gory. There's a few decapitations, but nothing worse than what we've seen in the Indy flicks. Honestly, from some of the reviews I've read, I was expecting more, much more. And after seeing just how tame it was, I'm wondering if The Passion was not as graphic as people made it out to be.<br><br>Hell, the most disturbing shot of the film is of what looks to be a Mexican clone of Verne Troyer cackling away on someones back.<br><br>This was the best time I've had with a film since Return of the King, although a few scenes stick out like a sore thumb. Scenes like Jaguar Paw from out of nowhere using a beehive to stop his pursuers ("Go, go, Mayan beehive!"), and that bit at the beach that Mori mentioned, which I can accept, but was a bit lame. Other than that, Mel knocked it out of the park.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 7:23 p.m. CST

    Possible goofs...

    by Shermdawg

    When J.P. stops to rest in a tree at night during the big chase scene, theres a shot from the side and you can see the studded piecing he has below his lip, next shot of his face closeup and in the light it's gone, then it cuts back to the sideview and its there again. And after J.P. jumps off the waterfall, his spear inlicted wound on his lower right midsection is gone. Sure, the water would have washed the blood off, but there was no wound left behind!

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 7:28 p.m. CST

    Oh yeah,

    by Shermdawg

    That 300 trailer looks even better on the bigscreen. Although, I do miss the "Then we shall fight in the shade" line.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 7:55 p.m. CST


    by colematthews

    I don't know about "best film I've seen in years", but you made me laugh with "Go, go, Mayan beehive!" You must admit, the bad omen scene, with the disease-ridden little girl, came off as beyond cheesy. Not creepy at all, just laughable.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 7:58 p.m. CST

    re: Mexican Verne Troyer

    by colematthews

    Also? That shot, even though it was creepy, totally took me out of the film. I spent the next five minutes or so wondering if that guy was a) real or cgi (seriously, he was that mutated) b) if he was real, was he a mutant child, or a midget that was just really tiny, and c) what was the thought process behind getting him in the movie? Like, did Mel just have an open call for all the freakiest people possible, and then just wrote them into the movie? That guy and the super old, skinny guy who has "the laughing disease". I mean, they're real people, but they sure looked legitimately fucked up.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 8:31 p.m. CST

    Mexican Vern is the new Satan Baby

    by CherryValance

    remember that freaky baby from The Passion? I immediately thought of that when I saw MexiVern. About the beehive. Last night on Leno Mel said he either stepped on a beehive or something and he was running around trying to swat them off then he thought about it and realized that a beehive would make a great weapon.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 9:06 p.m. CST

    Conspiracy Theorists...

    by SK909

    Did anyone see that documentary on the history channel about the Kennedy assasination where they blew a hole in every single part of the conspiracy theory? From Oswald getting down the stairs and just outside the cafeteria in 90 seconds to the 'Magic Bullet' theory, it was totally insane. I don't know if it's true(i.e. I never inspected the car JFK was riding in), but the doc claims that the man in front of him was actually at a lower level and that the front seat of that car was pushed in a little bit to make it easier to view Kennedy in the back. So the magic bullet wasn't magical at all once you put him at the proper elevation and move the body into the position he was in when the shots were fired. In JFK, they're all standing in a straight line, facing forward. Any moron can see that's not what was happening in the Zapruder film. The doc also says that the notion in JFK that Oswald was not a good shot is a complete fabrication. He was a crack shot, as was evidenced by his actual range scores from the actual booklet filled in by his Marine superiors which they showed on camera. Not only this, but they demonstrated the ability to fire off the three shots in less than the 8 seconds Oswald had. This was demonstrated by a 70 year old man in 7.5 seconds. Lastly, the back and to the left bit is the kind of thing that happens whenever people are shot. The force can cause them to be pushed in any number of directions, not always forward, depending on where the bones are hit and how the bullet exits the body. A rifle that powerful would actually blow a person's head backwards upon exit. Spielberg himself used this reality in Schindler's List when the Jewish girl is shot in the head after arguing with Goeth about the 'subsidance'. Her head flies back and the way her body falls has a truth to it that I've rarely seen in other films. In short, I agree that those who want conspiracies will find them, and I don't even think they're always wrong. But I also think some people want to ignore cold, hard facts in favor of their own fantastic delusions in order to support their own political beliefs.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 10:03 p.m. CST

    Moriarty Gets It & More

    by aknasas

    I saw this film this afternoon & the reviewer above is correct in my opinion. It is, at the core, an action film with tones and themes played up to make it a more unique outing. I love Gibson's action sense & I found alot of comparisons in the hand to hand combat with his other film 'The Patriot'. Either Gibson & Roland Emmerich share action sensibilites or one's taking notes from the other. Nevertheless it is pure ass kickery. The violence is upfront and in your face as if the director is saying "yea, this shit happened back then, deal with it." I'm proud of James Horner delivering a score that didnt sound like any other of his previous works, though I woulda killed for a memorable main theme. The movement & motion & post added slo mo is the HD's weaker elements but 90% of it looks fantastic & fresh.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 11:25 p.m. CST

    Fantastic Film

    by Jared

    One of the most satisfying cinematic experiences I've had in a while.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 12:24 a.m. CST

    At least it's something different

    by Jaka

    That's why I've been interested all along. It's something that a lot of people are going to see and talk about that isn't the same old Hollywoodland regurgitated pabulum. If I had heard that ANYBODY was making this film I would be interested. But I have to admit that I love Braveheart, so I was pretty excited to hear the news that Mel was making this. His personal life doesn't affect my point of view on his directing at all. A lot of directors have done a lot of crazy ass stuff and still had long succesful careers. Maybe if Mel was acting in a film right now it would be different. It might be a little too soon for me to not think about the "incident" while staring at his 20 foot high head.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 12:59 a.m. CST

    Chung Wiseman, Djibouty

    by thebearovingian

    BTW, that review can eat shit. Muchas gracias for the half-assed and piss poor "review". Douche.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 1:37 a.m. CST

    Perfect...Thanks Mori


    Action, guts, some humor, good pacing...sounds like it's worth seven/ten bucks. You just made me want to see it with your cut-to-the-chase-review. Cheers.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Add to Friends

    by 9000rpm

    The Mayan culture declining BEFORE the European arrival is the whole point of Apocolypto.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 12:34 p.m. CST

    MC Vamp: I have my demons...

    by 9000rpm

    Absolutely. The idiots criticizing Gibson, Richards, etc. act is if they are utterly prejudice-free. It's part of all of us, and why Jaguar Paw does what he does on the beach

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 12:39 p.m. CST


    by ccchhhrrriiisssm

    This film was incredible! I read a lot of ho hum reveiws. However, most of the negative reviews came from politically correct journalists that were still upset because of Gibson's drunken rants. I went in to this film with an open mind. The imagery and story are certainly haunting. It was a cross between BRAVEHEART, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, THE NEW WORLD and a little MAD MAX thrown in. It is visually stunning, and thematically disturbing. It is definitely worth the trip to the theater. Sadly, this film will probably only be nominated for awards in superficial categories. But this film is deserving of far more accolades than Hollywood is willing to admit. They are willing to "punish" Mel Gibson by neglecting to award him for his work. This is sad because, in a year of weak motion pictures, this film is one of the best! 'Nuff said!

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Come on, Drew.

    by AnnoyYou

    "I don’t know any other major director working right now who so completely overwhelms their own films with each release, but of course, part of that is his fault." *Part* of that is his own fault? Please. The only person less circumspect about his dubious "beliefs" is Gibson's crazoid dad. No one would be doing any analysis of his mental stability if he himself hadn't given everyone in the world plenty of fodder for such analysis. That said, I'm glad *you* were able to give a fair and balanced critique of his latest film. I know the old adage is "Love the art, not the artist," but in this case the artist is such a distasteful bigot and loony I doubt I'll ever be able to view any of his "art" without associating it with those aforementioned dubious views. It does inform everything, you know -- not for nothing did he choose to depict certain ancient brown people as bloodthirsty savages intent on annihilating everyone in their path. You know how we are, white folks.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 2:50 p.m. CST

    I haven't seen it yet, but I really doubt it's just an

    by superninja

    action film. To me it seems more of the criticism of culture, the sort Gibson has made in the past: abuse of power, destruction of the family, derisive of cultural excesses/decay, etc.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 2:58 p.m. CST

    Annoyyou, the hero is a "brown man" as you put it

    by superninja

    who is depicted as an upright family man willing to do anything to preserve those he loves. The bad guys are also brown, but are the evil city folk who use religion/power to control the masses. The exact same themes as The Passion and Braveheart, for those of you still not getting it. By the way Braveheart bad for its white on white violence, or is that okay?

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 3:16 p.m. CST

    AnnoyYou, one of the idiots I was referring to

    by 9000rpm

    I could care less about Mr. Mel Gibson's views and don't even remotely associate him with anything negative. Regarding his depiction of Mayans as brown, blood-thirsty savages, gee that's about as valid as taking offense to the jaguar being black and hairy.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 3:20 p.m. CST

    It appears that Gibson is making the same movie

    by superninja

    over and over again, set in a different time and place.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 3:51 p.m. CST


    by Jared

    Gibson made up all the stuff about Mayans being violent and sacrificing people. Just like how he made up that the Jews killed Jesus.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 7:13 p.m. CST

    Most Annoying Passive Aggressive Review Ever...

    by HappyHamster

    Get over yourself Mori. Just go ahead and say it - you hate Mel Gibson, but you liked the movie. Your self conflict was splattered all over that thing you called a review. One the one hand you praise it and then you catch yourself, so you have to go back and call it "limited in scope" and "empty calories". LOL! Don't worry - we've already forgiven you for screwing the pooch on the Jesus flick.:) <p> Anyway people, self hating movie reviewers aside, this was a great movie.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 7:16 p.m. CST

    lavaboat: The reason Mori calls it "empty calories"...

    by HappyHamster

    He knows it's a good movie, but he has to hold back from giving it the praise it deserves seeing as the director is...what he is.<p> So when he says a good thing, it must be counterbalanced by something "bad"...even if he has to make up bad things to say.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 7:16 p.m. CST


    by Almost_Human

    Come on man! Cut Dave some slack. Sure 9-11 was Islamic crazy people, but conspiracy can exist. The point is that sure Lynch is off base about 9-11, but you have seen his movies right? They are very entertaining to be sure, but you don't have to be a professional therapist to realize Dave has some issues and his head is probably a pretty noisy place. So he ignores chemistry and physics in looking at the Twin Towers collapse. How does that affect his films? And I thought Apocalyto was very pretty and had a flat story, much like the review. Fun action if you don't mind gore, but it won't be a life changing experience. Eye candy. 4 out of 5. A little less maybe.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 10:12 p.m. CST

    I'm out...

    by justcheckin

    I'm not a big Gibson fan... TMI about his real life ruins the movie magic. He joins Cruise in that category. As far as the movie is concerned, it rates a rental. I in no way want to see it in a theater.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 10:39 p.m. CST

    HD is good...unless

    by Westonian

    you don't know what the fuck you are doing. Theres a difference between filming in hd using a progressive frame capture setting and using an interlaced one. Using an interlaced maimi vice did...and this did makes it look like fucking shit. That is what strips the magic out. I could make it look more magical on my 3000 dollar Panasonic DVX100 than they did with this....AND ITS ALL BECAUSE OF A CAMERA SETTING! I was shocked when I saw this in the looked like a damn fucking history channel re-enactment. I mean are you fucking shitting me? Are you fucking SHITTING ME? WHAT THE FUCK!? This movie has the motion quality of something you can shoot with a 200 dollar camcorder. Sure its sharp ...and the colors are amazing...but the motion makes it look like...something indescribably shitty. What a waste of time and money. You'll notice the most cinematic the mayan temple stuff and most all the slow mo look alright....well thats because those were progressive. You cant do good interlaced they didnt. Its just too bad it had to be this way though. This gives HD cinema a bad name. You people who said HD strips the magic out are least when someone uses HD like this. Luckily theres good stuff on the way...4k digital cinema cameras are next...and those will put the current HD pieces of shit to shame.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 10:53 p.m. CST


    by Westonian

    nevermind...I just read the reason the slo mo looked good (jaguar running) was because they used an Arri film camera.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 11:14 p.m. CST

    Watched it again...

    by ccchhhrrriiisssm

    This time, I brought my girlfriend. She absolutely loved this film. Yes, there are some quite disturbing images. But there is definitely more character development in this film than what is found in 90% of the "Best Pictures" from Hollywood. I literally ached for the protagonist (Jaguar Paw) as he watched his entire life and existence crumble. Sadly, many well-meaning idiots will wait for the DVD, and thus fulfill the whim of Hollywood's scarlett letter cast upon Gibson because of his drunken rants. This film NEEDS to be seen on the big screen! There are scenes that literally JUMP at you. In the theater this evening, people cried, clapped and cheered. I haven't seen this sort of reaction to a film since the fanboys got emotional during Revenge of the Sith. If this film doesn't achieve Oscar nods for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Rudy Youngblood), then I may give up on the Academy altogether. This is the first "MUST SEE" film of the Christmas season. 'Nuff said!

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 11:27 p.m. CST


    by ccchhhrrriiisssm

    The story in this film is completely new. "Apocalypto" is no more "Braveheart" than "Saving Private Ryan" is "Empire of the Sun." It is a different time, different story, different style of direction and a completely different theme. More importantly -- this film is still haunting my thoughts. It has been quite a while since a film did that.

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 12:14 a.m. CST

    This isn't one of the most violent movies ever made so

    by KubrickFan69

    Shut the fuck up with that. I've read it in so many reviews. I went in expecting a fuckin bloodbath from what I'd read... then got a thimble full IMO. It is violent, but c'mon... we've gotte WAY worse.. I thought it was a great picture with great performances from everyone involved, more noteably the mayan warriors who ravaged the village's looking for sacrifices. It's efficiently shot and written and shouldn't be dismissee because of anything that comes out of the mouth of its creator.

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 2:26 a.m. CST

    Quite a damn refreshing movie!

    by Carlitrosrulez

    ... you know, I'm a Mexican, and I have also spent a nice ammount of time studying pre-Hispanic cultures, I LOVE all that stuff, specially because we still don't know a whole lot about it and the whole thing seems so damn alien. As such, I really really dig this movie. Visually it's amazing, and whomever did all the design work did their homework. I felt like the first time I saw Gladiator, and you had those amazing shots of Rome in all of it's glory for the first time. That's how I felt with this movie. I loved how 'raw' it was, and I also really respect Mel Gibson for showing us (and having the balls to do so without making Tom Cruise into a Mayan or some crap like that) for the FIRST time on film how otherwordly this culture was, with all it's great contrasts (great engineers and astonomist on one hand, and crazy heart-pullers on the other) .... I guess what really gets to me is knowing that these great cultures have been reduced mostly to beggers on the streets of Mexico city .... all empires fall right?

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 10:14 a.m. CST

    I just saw Aisha Tyler and Richard Roeper review this.

    by Shermdawg

    And they kept on and on as to how graphic this film is, and how there's things we've never seen before.<br><br>And I still don't get it. It's not that graphic!<br><br>...<br><br>Well, it might be because I'm a product of the videogame generation...

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 11:59 a.m. CST


    by ccchhhrrriiisssm

    The graphic imagery in this film was not "over the top." It was certainly not added for the sake of making the film more violent. Rather, it was simply a means of adding to the story's integrity. It was actually done in "good taste" (if that makes sense). I think that I saw more people "cringe" during BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN physical scenes than APOCALYPTO's most graphically intense scenes. If the violence keeps you away, you will regret your decision.

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 1:22 p.m. CST

    agreed about the violence.

    by Westonian

    I don't think its that violent either. Completely necessary considering the story told. These critics are the ones going nuts. I thought the departed was more violent than this.

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 9:05 p.m. CST

    This movie kicked some major ass

    by zillabeast

    Go see it!! NOW!!!

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 10:08 p.m. CST

    Flip63Hole: RW comments.

    by isildur999

    What's your take on the symbolism behind Humongous? Are there any other themes you didn't mention in your previous post?

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 10:27 p.m. CST

    Westonian: I agree

    by Barry Egan

    Why don't the critics want to analyze Scorsese and his own bloodlust? Have they not seen the opening of Gangs of New York?

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 10:55 p.m. CST

    I saw it too and liked it a lot.

    by Orbots Commander

    Yeah, it was violent but it was an R-rated action movie. I think movies like Hostel and Saw were way more graphically violent that Apocalypto. In addition, it's sort of funny that the year's two best action movies, Apocalypto and Casino Royale, are released around the holidays rather than the more traditional Summer movie season which is known for escapist fare.

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 12:41 a.m. CST


    by superninja

    So you don't think it shares similar themes with his other films? I haven't seen it, I was speculating based on reading reviews.

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 12:44 a.m. CST

    Scorsese's violence.

    by superninja

    Seriously. I thought Casino was quite sickening in parts and also Gangs.

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 5:16 a.m. CST

    ..."cheap psychoanalysis of Mel Gibson"...

    by samsquanch

    ..." that seems to have replaced film criticism...." Totally. Why should we care if the filmaker's foibles (blistering anti-semitism) affects our appreciation that we can sit in a theatre for a couple of hours being entertained? You know, there's a good argument against the idea of assigning the art the blame of the artist that created it. Picasso was a bastard that beat his wives and his mistresses, and he joined the communist party to get girls. Should we consider these things while appreciating the awesomeness of Guernica? Wagner basically wrote the theme song for the Third Reich. Should we feel guilty if his music stirs something in us? No. The artist is separate from his art. And besides, do boycotts work? No. So granted, lets be sensible, educated, privileged Westerners and know that by criticising this film we are not falling into the simpleminded trap of criticising the author- but.... let's also not be apologists for the dominant culture and pretend that this very investigation isn't valid. That's disingenuous and dishonest. Gibson is a raving lunatic with very focused bigotries. Go See the fucking movie, but don't pretend like you don't know that. OK?

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 9:56 a.m. CST

    David Lynch

    by Thunderbolt Ross

    What he said was not such a big deal. He was basically saying, it makes you think, not that he bought the whole story. I don't believe any of that conspiracy shit but there are some odd things, whether or not they constitute some major secret shit or are even worth considering.

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 12:59 p.m. CST

    Superninja ... Part II ...

    by ccchhhrrriiisssm

    No, this film contained a completely different theme than BraveHeart, The Patriot, The Passion, etc... The overall theme of this film is how a society fell apart BEFORE the Europeans landed on the shores of the New World. The real story, however, revolved around a man who cares deeply for his family. His world has been turned upside down in a matter of two days. He desperately wants his family to live, and will do anything to help them. This film can be divided into three acts: 1. Character development of the local Mayan tribal village; 2. Character revelation in the midst of disaster and tragedy and discovery (tribe conquered and taken to "advanced" civilization for sacrifice); and 3. Protaganist desperately attempts to return to his pregnant wife and child while being hunted by "advanced" Mayans. This film is certainly an action film -- but more in the line of the first PREDATOR, GLADIATOR and LAST OF THE MOHICANS than BRAVEHEART. Even more interesting is that the "hero" is not really a "hero." He is simply an ordinary local Mayan who displays courage and faith in the face of personal tragedy. ... This film will undoubtedly be rejected by Hollywood butt-kissers (including well-known reviewers). It deeply deserves consideration for the big Oscar nods (Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, etc...). But alas! The film will be rejected because of the "scarlett letter" imposed by Hollywood big-wigs (due to Gibson's own drunken rantings). The film is not nearly as violent as the reviews speculate. All of the violence is done in good taste (if that makes sense) and helps to visualize the story. The cinematography is spectacularly breathtaking -- and the story is deeply involving. It has been a long time since I have actually emotionally "hurt" for a character on the big screen. However, this film forced me to identify and bond with a simply Mayan tribesman. That fact alone deserves an Oscar. I must express that this film is better than many past films that have earned BEST PICTURE Oscars (like DANCES WITH WOLVES). Regardless, this film certainly cements Mel Gibson's status as an elite director -- at least in the eye of the public. I fear that the Academy will force Gibson to wear his "scarlett letter" for years to come.

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 2:58 p.m. CST

    It is hilarious and dumb colonialist crap

    by watashiwadare

    Blood Diamond has the balls to point out the excessive chopping and sacrificing and orgies of murder were brought in by the european colonialists. whereas mel has them show up at the end to tame the natives with copies of his jebus movie.

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 3:24 p.m. CST


    by ccchhhrrriiisssm

    You are so "classy." You should consider the consequences of making really, um, classy claims. People might actually believe your words. Then they'll get an 'F' on their book reports! Remember, history already shows us that the Mayans (unlike the Aztecs or North American tribes) fell on their own accord. No Europeans were needed to destroy their "kingdom." Rather, they fell from within. Why do you hate Mel Gibson? You don't have to agree with his opinions (no matter how ridiculous) no more than you have to agree with the ideas of other Hollywood "politically correct" wingnut fables. Don't believe ANYTHING you see on the big screen unless you are classy enough to research it or take it at face value. Otherwise, you'll hate seals, killer whales and zoos after watching "Happy Feet" (without developing feelings for the fish so cruelly eaten by the penquins). BTW, watashiwaTruth!

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 4:24 p.m. CST

    Those reviewers who focus on this movie's violence...

    by _Maltheus_

    <p>...are simply too dishonest to admit they hated this movie cause they hated Mel. Whereas I can buy into arguments that The Passion almost qualifies as a snuff film, this movie didn't have nearly the amount of violence as many others. The camera frequently cut away from the more obscene scenes. I think those reviews were just an attempt to steer people away from this excellent flick.</p> <p>In fact, I'd say this is the best movie I've seen in the last year or two. Even if you don't agree, you can't honestly say it's the "worst movie ever" as some loser critic Jurgen Fauth said. That critic should lose his job immediately. Granted, movies have sucked so bad lately that it was bound to make this one look better by comparison, but still.</p> <p>The cinematography was beautiful, the story was good (enough) and the pace was just about perfect (unlike Casino Royale, which could have left an hour on the cutting room floor). I don't think the final scene made much of a statement beyond, "the world will never be the same." Some people seem to think that it had to do with bringing civilization to these wretched people, but that view depends on how you see history and I never felt like a clear statement was being made here. It's just a really well-made film that draws you in. Don't let full-of-shit critics steer you away from it. Judge for yourselves.</p>

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 4:50 p.m. CST


    by 9000rpm

    Word for word: exactly. I honestly believe there's a smear campain going on to punish Mel Gibson, regardless of the merits of Apocalypto. The 'hyper-violent' label is just so wide-spread and at the same time so undeserved that something else is in play.

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 10:23 p.m. CST

    I'm Jewish...and a Christian...

    by ccchhhrrriiisssm

    ...and I do NOT hate Mel Gibson. I don't agree with the "exaggeration" claims. But I also do not agree with forcing him to wear a "scarlett letter" for voicing his free speech. Hollywood is so extremely far to the left -- they could use a little diversity of opinion. Yet they "blacklist" more individuals than did the McCarthy era opinion Nazis! Watch this film for its substance -- not for the director. You'll be surprised that it is a GREAT film!

  • Dec. 12, 2006, 5:51 p.m. CST

    holee shit.

    by samsquanch

    It never ceases to amaze me. I'm from a small(minded) town, I was raised (Irish) catholic, live in a big city now, educated, etc... The hatred and distrust of Jews out there is just baffling to me. I was never raised to hate or distrust Jews. In fact, I was never really taught anything about them one way or another till I was older and actually started meeting some of them. When I come to this site and I see relatively articulate posters like Add to friends and 9000rpm implying what seems to me at best an unfair advantage to an ethnic group (fully assimilated into American culture, and therefore as American as the rest of us,) and at worst a thinly veiled evil Jewish conspiracy, I can't decide whether to laugh or cry. The fact that you have the intellect to string together proper sentences, but not enough to see how immensly wrongheaded that kind of thinking is will forever be a mystery to me. Do you know why there are lots of Jews in Hollywood, you fucking idiots? Because the film industry was though to be a lame duck industry in the early part of the 20th century, so, like other immigrant populations being placed in dusty corners of the economy by a well-meaning (but not TOO well-meaning) government, the new Jewish immigrants flooding into the US were dropped off and forgotten about. No one knew how enormous and significant the entertainment and broadcasting industries would become. Or did they? Maybe it was all part of a larger Jewish plot eh? Like the Holocaust was engineered by the Jews to garner sympathy for their cause? Read a fucking book already, jackasses.