Apocalypto (2006) Full Movie Type(s) : Drama, Action, Cultural Differences, Historical | Apocalypto (2006) Full Movie Synopsis: In Mel Gibson’s much talked about follow up to The Passion of the Christ, we see how the Mayan Empire fell. The film’s plot has Jaguar’s Paw (Rudy Youngblood) being captured along with the rest of his village, to be taken to a Mayan City to be human sacrifices to the Gods to end a strife on the land. Jaguar’s Paw’s real dilemma is how to escape so that he can help his trapped family that he had helped hide away prior to being captured. Even if he escapes, how can he avoid his pursuers before the end comes?
Though advertising suggested that this film is a grand historical epic, it is actually one part historical epic and one part standard (and straight forward) action movie. Collaborating with writer Farhad Safinia, Archaeologist / Mayan culture expert Dr. Richard D. Hansen, and a cast of unknowns, Director Gibson presents us with an interesting approximation of what life was probably like for those in the Mayan Empire and how it came into decline. The opening title card quotes Will Durante, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” He was referring to the Romans in the quote, but here Gibson applies it to the Mayans with equal veracity. As with Gibson’s previous effort, The Passion of the Christ, he utilizes a semi-dead language and relies on the visuals rather than the dialogue to tell the story. He very quickly makes this evident in the opening sequence where we see villagers working together to hunt a boar, showing them as just some guys having fun, and then quickly switch gears to show their fear and horror at hearing of others having their lands ravaged. While there is a lot of dialogue in these scenes, the faces tell more than the words. The subsequent action in the second act has the villager’s captured and we begin to see Youngblood’s perspective as he hides his family. The captives are brought to the ‘city of stone’ and, after being painted (to show their status in that culture), we see that some are to be sold into slavery and others are to be public sacrifices to appease the strife and fulfill the ‘need for blood’. This is where the film becomes a quite standard and bland action film. After a convenient eclipse spares Youngblood and others from being sacrificed, we see him escape to try to save his family, but not before his captor swears revenge for his role in killing the captor’s son in his escape.
The film turns from an interesting examination of a cross-section of history into Running Man in a loincloth. Though the high production values make this film interesting visually and the ‘dead language’ aspect is quaint, the plotting leaves much to be desired. A plus for the film, however, is the music, which is appropriately atmospheric and reminiscent of Ennio Morricone’s score for The Mission. The original release of this film was pushed back six months when Director Gibson caused controversy when he was pulled over for a DUI and used a string of anti-Semitic remarks.
Apocalypto (2006) Full Movie Awards Likely: Oscar Nominations for Art Direction, Makeup, Costume Design (it’s not ALL loincloths), Cinematography. It has received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Film, but is ineligible in the same category for the Oscars.