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Overall Rating

Awesome: 35.29%
Worth A Look38.24%
Average: 9.56%
Pretty Bad: 11.76%
Total Crap: 5.15%

8 reviews, 88 user ratings

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by brianorndorf

"Baby Jesus can't forgive Mel for this piece of junk"
2 stars

Mel Gibson is given the gift of complete artistic freedom, and the man goes and makes the same exact movie again. “Apocalypto” might as well be called “Passion of the Jungle,” as this is another journey of a holy innocent sent through the spanking machine called life. Drenched in blood, yet lacking the religious seatbelts of “Passion,” “Apocalypto” is nothing but grim, lifeless filmmaking from a man who we all know could do better.

How does one take Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” seriously? The film hides in a tower of self-importance with its subtitles and dissection of the last footsteps in free Mayan culture; truthfully, this is a jungle adventure using the same hoary adventure clichés that were left for dead 50 years ago.

Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) is a diligent hunter in his tribe, coming home to his pregnant wife and toddler son for comfort. When a ruthless clan sweeps through and captures Paw and the rest of the adults of the village, he is left helpless in the knowledge that his family is hiding in a dangerous cave, anxiously awaiting his return. Taken on a trip to hell and back with these butchers, Paw fights to stay alive and plan his escape to save his loved ones.

If anything can be said in favor of Mel Gibson’s direction, it would be that he’s not one to waver from his raw and unyielding vision. The sad truth about “Apocalypto?” This vision is one that audiences have seen before.

This is Gibson’s first film after his booming success with “The Passion of the Christ.” I wasn’t too hot on “Christ,” feeling it was more of a blood-drenched valentine to suffering than any sort of religious blue light special. “Apocalypto” is essentially is same set of circumstances; the picture is constructed as a passionate observation of the twilight of pure Mayan life, realized through rather stunning costume and production design. Basically, the film is another episode of the Mel Gibson Gore Hour, with the director taking the prospect of portraying history to dish up some more close-ups of beheadings and spurting wounds.

The river of blood doesn’t upset me as much as Gibson’s delight in pushing the grisly stuff right into the camera lens, subscribing to the adage that violence is ugly, but not helping his argument by staging the brutality like an Alice Cooper concert. Heads roll, chests burst, testicles are eaten, hearts are ripped out, and just in case someone in the back row isn’t paying attention, Gibson pencils in some time for a Jaguar to rip off a warrior’s face.

“Apocalypto” is wall-to-wall bloodshed; Gibson even steals from himself (“Braveheart”) by using the throat-slitting of an important character to fully open Paw’s eyes to the horror. Much like “Christ,” it becomes gratuitous, as the filmmaker gets far too lost in the next body-impalement gag to fully contemplate the story, or even build the slightest whisper of characters; here the bad guys scowl and menace, and the good guys are completely angelic.

Not helping “Apocalpyto” is Gibson’s choice to shoot a majority of the film, if not all of it, on HD. The smeary, graceless look of the film robs the picture of the ambitious portrait of life and death that Gibson is aching for. At times, it looks like a homemade video some gorehounds made in their Florida backyard, and at 140 minutes, the film could’ve used a more polished touch. Gibson loves the fluidity of HD, but like many filmmakers, fails to grasp its visual limitations.

The second half of the film is almost entirely one long, dialogue-free foot chase, with Jaguar Paw hoping to outwit, outlast, and outplay his pursuers, in a game of “Survivor” that hits every outdoor adventure cliché in the book – yes, even quicksand.

“Apocalypto” is one long Mel Gibson wet dream of cinema, and after “Passion of the Christ,” he’s entitled to it. However, there’s no promise of eternal salvation to protect this film’s nasty aftertaste; no religious tightrope walk to celebrate. This is Gibson’s bloodlust pure and unfiltered, and it’s depressing to sit and watch him make the same film for the third time in a row.

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originally posted: 12/08/06 18:23:38
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Fantastic Fest For more in the 2006 Fantastic Fest series, click here.

User Comments

8/05/14 sara ausome movie 5 stars
10/06/11 TC Lol its not history. there is no historical account of a man named jaguar paw 5 stars
5/16/11 sam bonner apoalypto is an amazing, one of a kind movie and no honest person could deny it 5 stars
8/23/10 Stephen O'Donnell This film is an epic in every respect. The Academy is disgraced!!! 5 stars
8/04/09 Steve Hock Great movie! Great Kukulkan! 5 stars
9/05/08 Bob Uninspiring. The chase scene is well done, however a bit overkill timewise. 3 stars
8/27/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome storyline! 4 stars
6/04/08 ASH I thought this movie was excellent 5 stars
5/13/08 Dion Kay Get educated & lrn d history! This is NOT fiction or Star Wars, this IS HISTORY, u idiots! 5 stars
4/19/08 Karrie Millheim An amazing movie, i liked learning more about the Mayans 5 stars
3/08/08 Pamela White gripping story, filming, location and acting makes you forget subtitles 5 stars
2/12/08 Lorenzo Electrifying. A veritable masterpiece. 5 stars
12/17/07 gibson' alter ego got it too. a nutcase making crap & butchering history for his friend Mr jesus. hallelujah 1 stars
11/29/07 Dee "I got it", if you believe in Christ, (and I do) you are thankful he is your God. 5 stars
10/30/07 Double M I kept wondering what the point is till the 'end'. should've known better(signs). Tyvm, Mel 1 stars
10/16/07 beau a very upbeat movie, well made on a low budget, actors took good direction from mel 4 stars
8/18/07 Jubei A well filmed movie with very little research on Mayan culture.Entertaining. 3 stars
8/13/07 Annonomiss Brutal violence, endless chase. Really tough to watch. 2 stars
8/09/07 EZ $$ Great movie a little strange but still great 4 stars
7/29/07 Charles Tatum Solid, but not nearly the gorefest you are led to believe 4 stars
7/18/07 Indrid Cold Skillfully made, but about as deep as a frisbee. 3 stars
7/11/07 TreeTiger Excellent movie ... Braveheart in the Jungle. 5 stars
7/07/07 adam review the movie, not the director. you seem to have trouble with that (see:transformers) 5 stars
7/05/07 Piz Great Cinematic Adventure, a little gratuity but a great central character to root for 4 stars
6/19/07 sam bonner much better than people were expecting. A violent view of a lost world. 5 stars
6/16/07 mr.mike much better than expected 4 stars
6/06/07 tracey chambers beautiful movie. very violent but still a great movie 5 stars
6/03/07 fools♫gold People who charted the stars had no sanitation? I dunno... 5 stars
6/01/07 the wizz don't eat before watching. quite gory and intense. good movie 4 stars
5/14/07 matt Very enjoyable but not very deep. Hugely violent so basic Gibson fare 4 stars
5/09/07 Cindy awesome 5 stars
3/18/07 Alice Good work mel ! Great actors, visually perfect. 5 stars
2/24/07 Regina George didn't really survive the school bus accident Drags at first, then suspense mushrooms, then overkill at end. 4 stars
2/22/07 Beau extremely compelling, cant stop thinking about it!!! 4 stars
1/31/07 cherrian eecen an empty cinema at 9pm on Tuesday cheap night. A wonderful feeling of disquiet as I left 5 stars
1/25/07 tony L THE BEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME!!!! Action Packed! Symbolic. 5 stars
1/17/07 subba Daring and bold direction from Mel and a worth watch on big screen. 4 stars
1/15/07 Sumixam Fantastic movie - Very enjoyable 5 stars
1/09/07 MP Bartley Bold and vivid, if just more of Gibson's obsession with naked men being tortured. 4 stars
1/09/07 daveyt A touch predictable plot-wise with gratuitous gore decent movie none the less 4 stars
1/04/07 DINA unexpected plot, but worth of seeing... 4 stars
1/01/07 norman grant it's about the humility each civilization should have of itself. 4 stars
12/28/06 Agent Sands Though I don't stand for the animal violence, it's directed with intense realism. 3 stars
12/27/06 Jim Accomplishes the rare trick of making the Spanish conquistadors seem maybe not so bad. 4 stars
12/27/06 Mauro the best! 5 stars
12/27/06 Brian Great Movie, its harsh critics are exposed as narrowed by their bias. 5 stars
12/26/06 Man out 6 bucks Eye candy, pointless story. A Mexican 1st Blood Pt. 1. Jaguar Paw is Mayan illiterate. 3 stars
12/26/06 John M. Best movie I saw so far this year (which is over now). Go see it!! 5 stars
12/22/06 Joe Historically flawed, but a superb action film and bold cinematic experiment. 5 stars
12/19/06 Sam as much as I didn't want to like this movie it won me over 4 stars
12/18/06 Criddic2 Nicely photographed, exciting and entertaining. 4 stars
12/18/06 Barry I gave it a C minus until the Christians came to save the day. Final grade: D+ 1 stars
12/17/06 Dave Good film, great action, good acting. Gibson does it again! 5 stars
12/16/06 Sylvia True story. Loved it! 5 stars
12/16/06 Quigley Not as gory as people say, but still pretty gruesome. Mel's direction is good. Wait for DVD 3 stars
12/16/06 Brian Mckay Last of the Mohicans - without Whitey. Watchable, but not much of a story. 3 stars
12/15/06 Ole Man Bourbon Bad film, ridiculously great movie. Lots to digest from this product of Mad Mel 5 stars
12/15/06 Roger Ebert If you guys keep reading shit like this, you will smell of shit..Mel Gibson sucks 5 stars
12/15/06 shaun lawton Narrowminded, simplistic, thoroughly UNoriginal, give it up Mel 2 stars
12/15/06 christina whatever,he displayed the mayans pretty accurately,and they were violent.still some errors. 5 stars
12/15/06 orpy mixture of Predator & Last of the Mohicans! Laughable! 2 stars
12/14/06 Dave C Good Movie - more gore in the first five min of Private Ryan than in the whole movie. 5 stars
12/14/06 La Mancha Those who don't like it are hystrical wusses. Loved it! 5 stars
12/14/06 Jeremy best movie of 2006 5 stars
12/13/06 excitement lover mel gibsond rules!!!!! apocalypto the way to go!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/13/06 jdean62 Not a Gibson fan !! However I was surprised i loved the movie... 4 stars
12/12/06 Ray Lanthier pathology + lotsamoney + racism+ historical inaccuracies = Apocalypto 1 stars
12/12/06 john D dumb movie but pretty. Would bo ignored if it wasn't for Gibson 1 stars
12/12/06 Tiffany awesome movie!! 5 stars
12/12/06 Timothy Wilken Important Film for all adults. Much to think about. Masterpiece!!! 5 stars
12/11/06 Luisa great movie, great actors...unforgettable 5 stars
12/11/06 margo this movie kicks ass 5 stars
12/11/06 Chuck Banner More like ridiculoso. Another history from Mel based on heresay. 1 stars
12/11/06 John Eaglehawk great film.. Gibson puts it all on the line. tells it like it was.. 5 stars
12/11/06 steph Best movie i seen in jaguarpaw 5 stars
12/11/06 lee Better than most action flicks out today!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/11/06 Nighy Another cinematic masterbation by Mel Gibson- pathetic. 1 stars
12/11/06 Kimberly Lynn Cole FANTASTIC film, visually purely stunning 5 stars
12/11/06 scotty great movie. is not as gory as a lot of reviewers have made it out to be 5 stars
12/11/06 Rob Adcox Outstanding film -and #1 at the box office! 5 stars
12/11/06 ahnold Engaging good vs evil story. Almost 2 much gore/sadism. Worth 1 look. 4 stars
12/10/06 Carl Chappell It's very fast. But I thought they ate the corpses? 4 stars
12/10/06 Craig Best movie of the year. "Anti-immigration" propaganda my ass. 5 stars
12/10/06 scott the best and worst of humanity captured in an amazing film. 5 stars
12/10/06 adam g b kyklux tempus, a hollow experiance! faith , no? 4 stars
12/10/06 ed christensen surprisingly excellent. oscar worthy, but given gibson's recent indiscretion, no chance. 5 stars
12/09/06 action movie fan spectacular, stunning brethtaking the naked prey the fugirive--a modern action film set in 5 stars
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  08-Dec-2006 (R)
  DVD: 22-May-2007



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