Apocalypto by Mel Gibson – Movie Review Example
Apocalypto, set in the time of the Mayan civilization follows the journey of Jaguar Paw back to his home. Beyond treacherous terrains and unruly captors, he endeavors into the voyage back to his beloved pregnant wife and his son whom he had been able to ensure safety by placing them in a hole when Mayan soldiers obliterated their village. All of the surviving were either killed mercilessly or sold off to slavery after the pillage they have brought to the people of Jaguar Paw.
The film, directed by controversial Hollywood star Mel Gibson, takes a shot at a dramatized account of the fall of the Mayan civilization. The juxtaposition of the difference in progress between the small village and the most progressive civilization of its time gives credence to the insurmountable difference between the two groups of people. The slaves that were taken to build the colossal structures for the leaders who were deemed god instills the David and Goliath sort of plot it tackles. With the catchphrase, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within” (Apocalypto), the film takes on a whole different route from chronologically sequencing events to make it a historical account because quite clearly, it is not.
The viewer is taken into engrossing emotional twists and turns as portrayed in the faces of those that compose the small forest village where characters such as Jaguar Paw, Zero Wolf, Seven and Middle Eye inhabit. Here, we are introduced to this characters that are given very personal and emotionally investing side stories. It personifies the empathically familiar dilemmas and stories of brotherhood and camaraderie that they share as we do in real life. Who could forget the practical joke they play on each other by giving a spicy concoction which supposedly cures impotency. The beginning of the film gives an overview of these dynamics which endears the viewer to the characters so that the impact of their devastation is more appalling. More than a historical account, the movie is a dramatic film which encapsulates the human relationship and the importance that we give to them as imperative aspects of life.
The story, much like many others, is one of love. The hardships that Jaguar Paw had to endure was done mainly in the pursuit and primarily for the protection of his family which he cherishes above all else. It is this love, not only for his family but for the heritage of his people which brought him to the realization of the need to go back and to ensure the propagation of his culture. He was among the future pillars of his people and having that snatched away from him and those dear to him is enough motivation to avenge his people and to return to his rightful place. “I am Jaguar Paw, son of Flint Sky. My Father hunted this forest before me. My name is Jaguar Paw. I am a hunter. This is my forest. And my sons will hunt it with their sons after I am gone” (Apocalypto). These words mark the determination that sears a burning desire into his flight.
Apocalypto. Dir. Mel Gibson. Perf. Rudy Youngblood. Icon Productions, 2006.