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2007-04-14 12:09

This action adventure is set 600 years ago, during the fall of the ancient central American kingdom of Maya. Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) is a young hunter who lives in the jungle with his small tribe. They are raided by bounty hunters from the Mayan capital, and taken back to the city to either be sacrificed or sold as slaves. He hides his pregnant wife (Dalia Hernandez) and son in a pit, and eventually escapes from his captors and returns to save them, hunted by the bloodthirsty soldiers.


Given Mel Gibson’s notoriety after his recent drunken anti-Semitic tirade, and his catholic propaganda piece/exercise in sadism, The Passion of the Christ, it was no wonder that the preview screening of Apocalypto was packed. I had not been exposed to much of the hype surrounding the film, so I was neither expecting enlightenment, nor a cinematic work of genius. Just as well, because this film delivers neither, offering up an action packed jungle romp instead.

Apocalypto is beautifully shot, and the jungle locations, and Mayan city are magnificent, as are the costumes and makeup. It is a very immersive film, and it will only be a few minutes before you are on the edge of your seat during one of the many jungle chase scenes. But despite heavy-handed attempts at making the story symbolic and profound, the plot is extremely thin, and the clichés come thick and fast.

This doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of Apocalypto though, as it is well paced and consistently exciting with scene after scene of near-naked men fighting to the death with clubs and knives. A little like Braveheart set in the Mexican jungle, it pits a single man against a (small) army, and does not shy away from blood and gore, with some very bloody scenes of human sacrifice.

All the ingredients for a good time are there, and the film is very easy on the eye, so what’s the problem with Apocalypto? If you want straight-up Friday night entertainment, then absolutely nothing. As clever and topical as it is obviously meant to be, it is really just another action movie with death defying stunts, lots of violence, and the odd bit of cloying sentimentality.

If, however, you are concerned with Mel Gibson’s extreme right wing leanings and his pro-fundamentalist stance, then you have to ask yourself whether you want to endorse something like this, even though superficially it seems pretty harmless.

Gibson apparently took a lot of time choosing the main cast members, so that they closely resembled the archetype their character represented, giving that American audiences may be confused due to the film’s setting, and the language barrier. I have to note then, that the most despicable and sadistic villain looks very Jewish. In any other film this could pass as pure coincidence but, in light of his outburst, and previous films, it is rather sickening.

All in all Apocalypto is not a bad film It’s entertaining with superb scenery, make up, and costumes that all contribute to the atmosphere. The use of Mayan language (yes, this film is subtitled) further helps to transport the viewer inside this ancient and alien world. The question is whether you can stomach Gibson’s politics in return for a fun adventure movie.

- Ivan Sadler
If you're looking for a well made action movie with plenty of gore, then Apocalypto is for you. It's just not the work of cinematic genius so many people expected.


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Elio 2007-01-25 12:26 PM
Ivan Sadler (Apocalypto) Dear Ivan, why don't you leave Gibson alone? Please give us a review or your comment about the movie but do not talk about Gibsons's preferences. I don't like cabbage nor carrot is this discrimination? Please, just review. Keep up with the good work.
leasha 2007-01-25 01:08 PM
lekker its gory and totally cool
Paulo 2007-01-25 01:38 PM
Ivan Sadler Please Ivan do your work and don't use this platform to have go at Mel Gibson. Seems as if you are the one with the hang up if you have to go and find a Jew lookalike(is there such a thing??) in the villian! Do what you are good at and don't assume things!
Jane 2007-01-25 02:06 PM
5 Stars Please keep you stupid comments for yourself. He was the Director, he was not even in it> This is his best work in a very long time. Give him credit where credit is due. I loved the movie.
Flea 2007-01-25 02:17 PM
Jane, you are a moron Ummm...the reviewer never implied that Gibson was IN the movie. I think the KNOWS he is the director. Also, he seems to be able to string a sentence together, which you are clearly unable to do.
cowman 2007-01-25 02:26 PM
Mr Sadler the note on the comments pages states no bad language or hate speech. that (the hate speech) doesn't seem to apply to Mr Sadler.) it would be appreciated if he could keep his comments to the movie and not use it as a spring board to air his views on Mr Gibson and as far as i am aware freedom of religion is allowed in this country. so i would recomend that before making a statement that the passion of the christ is propaganda i would suggest he do some research in the gospels on the last account of christ. It would appear that where Mr Gibson has been accused of being anti semitic (and far right) Mr Sadler appears to lean in completely the opposite direction you could even confuse this "movie review" with a politcal, religious statement.
Sandra 2007-01-25 02:31 PM
Ivan? I don't think Mel G is stupid enough to put a "jew lookalike" (whatever that might be) in the role of his villain. SPecially in the light of his recent problems.I saw the evil dude in Apolcalypto, and he just looks neanderthal & scary. Those you get in all nationalities - even in my office - and I have no clue about their descent.Great movie!
jon 2007-01-25 02:47 PM
Ivan Ivan Ivan tut tut tut Come one man give Gibson a break, we all know that despite his bad press, he's fantastic in acting and directing - had he been of another religious group and bad mouthed a Christian - no one would give a damn! Stick to what youre paid to do and crit the movie and not the individuals - jealousy makes you nasty.
Rogun 2007-01-25 03:03 PM
Know your stuff I haven't seen the movie yet but plan to - but did see the passion of the Christ. As a non catholic - with many reservations about catholicism - I think Ivan is somewhat short sighted and ignorant in calling The Passion Catholic propoganda and is perhaps not too clued up on the story of the Crucification. What Mad Mel Gibson did in that movie was shatter the children's bible image of the crucifixion (both a catholic and a protestant image) and replace it with what would probably be a more realistic account, thus the sadism and cruelty that people impose on other people. I agree with Jon - if the passion had bad mouthed Christianity, would anyone care? Lets also remember the tons of pro-American hollywood propganda we've been fed over the years.
cornelia 2007-01-25 03:29 PM
who's politics Ivan? This review sounded like a personnal attack against Mel G, and more like your political views and prejudices- "looks like a jew" Ivan. I am very disappointed in your review, and would expect you to be more objective for a reviewer. perhaps someone else cando a better job, as who knows what you will have against the next director?
Princess Echoes 2007-01-25 03:44 PM
What does a Jew look like? No, really..What does a jew look like? I watched the movie as well and I can't see the apparent resemblance. Which is dissapointing...maybe I should've been looking out for Bling and Bagels. This review was honest and well-written and would've remained just that - if not for that really childish and unneccessary statement.
mike 2007-01-25 04:20 PM
Is Ivan Jewish Ivan, is that a kosher chip I see on your shoulder? Are you Jewish? Do you look like a bad guy? If you are not Jewish, do you look Jewish? Or are you a bad guy who doesnt even look Jewish? Why do you think Mel is anti-semitic?
Greg 2007-01-25 08:43 PM
wow this reviewer is warped Ivan, you hypocrite, it's not Mel's political views, which you are totally ignorant of by the way, that are the problem, but your own. It seems that it's less that he may be anti semitic and more that you're just anti christian. Catholic propaganda? You dimwit-that story is central to all christian belief, not just catholicism! You are lucky you're not making your cocky, self righteous remarks about something held dear to Islam- you'd be likely to get a lot more than a few peeved letters, which is no less than you deserve. The only saving grace is that most jews don't share your brain dead opinions.
WASP 2007-01-27 12:26 PM
Mel Gibson brilliant; Ivan Sad(ler)ly ignorant I saw the movie last night - brilliant. I am also currently reading "The story of God" by Robert Winston who is a orthodox Jew and a high profile scientist. The human sacrifice scenes portayed by Mel Gibson in the movie represent almost exactly Robert Winston's description of the Aztec city, Teotihuacan, in Mesoamerica (Mexico) and the pyramid Temple of the Sun and the horrifying human sacrifices that were carried out there. Winston writes: "The pyramids were stained deeply with red and brown with the blood of (human) sacrifice. The stench was so bad that the Spanish conquistadors could smell the city weel before they could see it. Mel Gibson has done a brilliant job of accurately showing a particular part of human history held together by a gripping personal drama story. Before long, I did not even notice the sub-titles. Like his "Passion of the Christ" Mel Gibson has again demonstrated a giant talent for telling history 'like it is' without the distortions of myth and relig
Frank the Tank 2007-01-29 12:08 PM
Unnecessary review I would really hope that get better reviewers in the future. I read these reviews to find out about the movie, not about some reviewers biased view and slanderous acusations. This review is nothing more than an attack on Mel Gibson and I find it pathetic. Get off your high horse, take off the white wig and stop judging.
Ivan 2007-02-08 03:37 PM
The mel we all love? To a non christian, The Passion of the Christ was an emotionally manipulative piece of christian propaganda. Fact number 2 - Mel Gibson did in fact claim that jews were responsible for all wars, during a drunken tirade at a traffic officer, when he was pulled over for DWI. You'll notice I gave the film 3 stars, because for what it was, it's not bad, but I felt I had to mention Mel Gibson's politics for all of us non-christian's who find his right wing attitudes sickening, as it may influence the decision of whether to watch it. As for telling history "like it is", this film is historically inaccurate, in both the architecture, and the timing of the arrival of the Spaniards. Depending on your religious viewpoint, The Passion of the Christ could be nothing more than predictable fiction.
Monty 2007-02-11 12:34 PM
What the?! Am I missing something here? All these commenters are laying into the reviewer because he's said something as uncontroversial as 'It's bad to be virulently anti-Semitic, and - surprise! - those views may come out in a person's artistic expression'; in this case a film. How is that anti-Christian? It's horrifying to me that people who call themselves Christians would want to be even vaguely associated with Mel Gibson's bigotry.
Janet 2007-02-19 01:25 AM
Great Movie I watched the movie on Friday, and really enjoyed it. Have read the history, and found the movie to "tell it like it is" including the barbaric scenes, but all in all, great movie, enjoyed the language and it kept me on the edge of my seat till the end. Well done Mel...
Johan 2007-03-14 02:26 AM
Don't blame the observer, blame the maker, if need be! No wonder you attack the reviewer, you are part of the christian community, and do not want any skepticism befalling your belief. Ivan is doing his job. Mel is to blame here, if he could keep his belief to himself, noone would complaint about his work (not about his manipulative means anyway). Christians (I've read many other comments on this film) who describe this film, makes it sound wonderful and splendid. Not even touching the subtext and symbolism at all. Keep in mind that non christians are more objective on this matter, than christians are. It's no science that a religion does anything, to keep itself alive. Even if it takes slander and accusations of a reviewer - posting a sober, objective review. Don't feel attacked, your community won't fall because of Mel..
Rome 2007-03-29 07:45 AM
Catch a wake up Ivam This is a review.I thought the film was typical Mel Gibson-Ivan should keep his attacks to himself or start reviewing cartoons.This was a good movie.

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