Friday, December 08, 2006

The coming Apocalypto
Haven't been posting about this much, despite its dealing pretty directly with archaeolgical subject matter. But, you know, it doesn't have anything to do with Brangelina, so it kind of runs under the radar.

At any rate, it seems to be getting some decent reviews, much of it concentrating on the blood and gore. The Seattle PI:
For all its excesses, it's an absorbing, disturbing, savagely beautiful "trip" movie, and an extraordinary -- perhaps even outrageous -- personal vision of the one A-list filmmaker who truly deserves the adjective "maverick."

Set in the dying Mayan culture of 15th-century Mexico, it opens with a series of scenes that depict tribal life in one village and establishes its inhabitants as being people pretty much like ourselves, with basically the same social concerns, family problems and sexual insecurities.

. . .

To say that the movie is over the top is a vast understatement. Gibson creates a world of almost unimaginable cruelty, brutality and inhumanity, and Jaguar Paw's journey is filled with more cliffhanger situations than "The Perils of Pauline."

And also:
What is apparent is that the movie is an all-out attack on tribal culture, which Hollywood has idealized throughout its history and made a fetish in the era of political correctness.

. . .

But his movie definitely is telling us that tribal sensibility, which films like "Dances With Wolves" celebrate so nostalgically, actually is primitive and backward

The issue of sanitization of the past has been blogged about here, mostly in terms of how extensive warfare of whatever sort was in prehistory. Personally, I figure it's fairly difficult to be too over-the-top about what went on in human history (actually, at any point, including now, I'm afraid). Even the film Gladiator was pretty bland in its depiction of the spectacles the Roman Colosseum witnessed. Certainly, no movie has even begun to capture the senseless cruelty inflicted on captives and animals, no matter if the high-profile gladiators themselves were rarely killed. I've read at least once that Caligula is probably the most honest representation of Roman court life though. But I've *ahem* never seen it m'self.

Reader reviews welcomed.

UPDATE: See here and here for previous posts and links.