DVD Reviews | May 30th, 2007
Starring Rudy Youngblood, Dalia Hernndez, Morris Birdyellowhead, Jonathan Brewer, Raoul Trujillo, Gerardo Taracena
Written By: Farhad Safinia, Mel Gibson
Directed By: Mel Gibson
Studio: Touchstone Pictures
Buy on Amazon.com link
I didn’t really want to see Apocalypto in theaters but was still interested in seeing the film at some point. It looked like a brutal film to sit through and that’s pretty much true. Its violent and gory at times but I still think Braveheart is more gory. I think Apocalypto was very underrated this year and all the negative press Mel Gibson brought upon himself wasn’t exactly helpful either. It’s unfortunate because I think this is a strong film. Hopefully it will get the recognition it deserves on DVD.
Apocalypto takes places in ancient Central America and is about a young Mayan warrior called Jaguar Paw and his tribe. The tribe live their lives the way they want to do, go hunting, make babies, make fun of each other. Then one day another tribe storms into their camp and everything changes. Most of the men are kidnapped or killed. A lot of the women are killed or raped. The remaining women are kidnapped as well and sold to men in the Mayan city. The children are spared for the most part and are left behind to fend for themselves. Jaguar Paw’s wife & child are hidden in a deep hole while he goes back to fight. Including Jaguar, the men are taken to the city where they are suppose to be sacrificed. Just as Jaguar Paw is about get his heart taken out and his head chopped off; a solar eclipse happens. His life is spared at the moment and he gets the chance to escape. He manages to do so just from the drive of saving his wife & child. But he has to survive the tribe that kidnapped him in the first place. The rest of the story is about the race against time and seeing who will outlast one another.
I thought Apocalypto is a strong film with a lot of great elements. Even though there is barely any dialogue in the film, the acting was superb. Just the body language alone shows how menacing or how innocent a character can be. The editing is great because it moves the story along in a lot of the non-dialogue scenes. Plus the editing makes a lot of the scenes more exciting and intense. The direction and cinematography are excellent as well. Mel Gibson really loves to show people getting violently murdered doesn’t he? I guess he likes to take things to the extreme when he’s directing a movie. But he does pick movies where the stories call for such violent acts since that’s how it was back then. I certainly like the movies he chooses to direct. They are really interesting, and he’s an excellent director as well. I wish he’d make more movies like this and Braveheart. I still haven’t seen Passion and not sure I really want to. But like with all his movies, they aren’t 100 percent accurate and I really don’t care. As long as the story is engaging enough and there’s somewhat realistic & fact behind it; I’m fine with the stories & events being slightly distorted.
Like with other Gibson DVDs, the extras are very minimal. There’s audio commentary with Mel Gibson and writer & co-producer Farhad Safinia, and a behind the scenes featurette. Also included is a deleted scene with optional commentary but the scene is so pointless I have no idea why they even included it on the DVD. It’s a burnt deer walking away from the city…wow neat-o. The behind the scenes featurette was pretty good. You find out how things were done, and get to hear some tales from the set. The commentary had some insightful things as well. I actually listened to parts of it since I didn’t have to hear the dialogue. But for the most part, the extras weren’t the best.
If you like violent epic movies than you’ll really appreciate Apocalypto. I thought the film had a great story, awesome acting, beautiful landscapes, and it’s just an exciting movie to watch.
Becoming Mayan: Creating Apocalypto
Deleted Scene with Optional Commentary by Writer/Director/Producer Mel Gibson and Writer/Co-Producer Farhad Safinia
Feature Audio Commentary by Writer/Director/Producer Mel Gibson and Writer/Co-Producer Farhad Safinia
MAYAN: Dolby Digital 5.1
MAYAN: DTS 5.1
Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)
English, Spanish, French
Favorite Scenes: I liked the opening sequence when Jaguar Paw is teasing his brother about eating the balls. From the time Jaguar Paw escapes to the end was great.
Running Time: 138 minutes