A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within discuss in respect to ‘Apocalypto’

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Apocalypto is an adventure/action film set in the final days from a great Mayan civilization.

It shows a village in the middle of a tropical jungle so there is a lot of animals and vegetation. A simple life, full of happiness and peace.

All this was interrupted by brutal raiders exterminating all met in their way, the purpose to taking the strongest indigenes to a bigger village so females could be sold as slaves and the men sacrificed for their gods.

A brave villager named Jaguar Paw was saved from being sacrificed because of an unexpected eclipse at the last moment. Therefore the villagers were released to run the length of a playing field (play the ball games) only for the raiders to kill those who didn’t manage to reach the other end. Jaguar Paw saved only by the love for his wife and family. One of raiders was enraged because Jaguar had killed his son so he started to pursued with his fellows. The pursuit leads back to the jungle in which Jaguar’s village was located, with his knowledge of the jungle start killing and safe his own life.

Finally in the last part of the pursuit they encounter on the beach the Spanish conquerors so the raiders amazement at their first sight o seaborne ressels let him flee. He returns to the jungle to looked for his wife and family to start a new beginning.


– It shows dresses and cities (similar to Mayan Tikal) of the classic Mayan period between 400 and 900 But at the end it shows the arrival of the Spanish invaders approximately in 1519.

– The Mayan civilization of Guatemala practically disappeared in 900, six hundred years before the arrival of the conquerors. Only few ones were staying hundreds dispersed in opressed tribes by the bellicose Aztecs that came from the current Mexico. Nevertheless, in spite of the fact that the Maya already had left their great system of agriculture when the Spanish came, still comparatively minor cities existed as Mayap�n, Coba and Chetumal.

– In the zone where the plot develops, the interior of the jungles of the peninsula of Yucatan, in the current Guatemala there were no Mayan but were invaders Aztecs, who were coming from the zone of the current of Mexico city and were speaking another language.

– The language used in the movie is a modern dialect of the Maya yucatex.

– The spoken dialect is bad pronounced, the American actors didn’t know it and they had to learn its lines of memory, with Guatemalan and Mexican trainers.

– The facial features of the actors and principal actresses are not Mayan are more native Americans.

– The Mexican indigenous actors have hard facial features and prominent and bony noses, which make rather like the Aztecs.

– Few actors possess the quiches genotype, that they are one of the Guatemalan indigenous groups that get down directly of the Maya, with more round faces, more adipose fabric, and snub and rounded noses.

– The disease that the girl suffers the one they saw when they go of way to the city well might treat about the smallpox brought from Europe by the invaders.

– One of the prominent figures is called himself Wolf A Zero. But in Central America it hadn’t (is not even) wolves.


The mathematician and logician Charles S. Pierce one day said that ” All I see ,I looked in three parts or three dimensions by the way the world was divided in three”.

In the same manner this will be in three parts: Mel Gibson, Apocalypto and the relation between the movie and the public.

Mel is a good actor but one of the deceptions was to see him in Braveheart (1995) wearing a horrible wig, and hundreds of thousand of soldiers, an unlikely sight in the XIII century. With all these I stop my interesting of him as an actor, producer and director. Another point was that he was 50 and was acting for someone who died at 20 years old. Nothing to be surprised remember that Hamlet with advantage, who difficultly can say: “To be or not to be…. that is the question”, probably he think a lot or realise the reflection was made by de princess Hamlet being really that, a princess and the princess are young (Hamlet, Franco Zeffirelli, 1990).

By the way in the movie What Women Want with Nancy Meyer 2000, we have to recognized that he looks gallant, cheerful in good shape, and with his incredible blue eyes, though not so much like Paul Newman.

Some years later we find out about the religiousness and philanthropy, it was when he made the film named The Passion of Christ in 2004, but as like my professor of Hispanic philology said “it does not prevent in order that it consists”, this way that without having seen all his movies (well I admit to have amused/delayed with The Patriot, Lethal Weapon 1, 2 and some others) , I dare to speak about this movie “Apocalypto”.

I think that the marketing at present can do magic. Already Pierce was aiming at it: Three elements ploughs activate in the world: first, chance; second, law and third, habit-taking. If a name, in this case Mel and a constant path and in ascent they can achieve that the object of analysis turns into a pretext to be interested for our country.

Returning to Apocalypto, or giving beginning to my commentary on the movie, I believe that there are more critiques negative that positive. The film is based on a series of adventures of a good Mayan young man who escapes of the raiders to meet again with her dear one. Nevertheless, I think that Mel might make a readaptation to his apocalyptic Apocalypto and do a movie for children. Yes, exactly it came an idea to my head when I saw the singular Rudy Youngblood (“Jawar Paw”) who on having climbed to a tree to hide from the raiders that they stalk it, finds a baby panther. When this happened, I thought ” the mom panther will be behind ” and in effect!, as it happens in the movies for children, the panther appears, ruge horribly and, well, I would take the ugly scene from the one that eats up the head of one of the raider in the middle of the horror of other raiders; it was like seeing Timon and Pumba singing Hakuna Matata, yes, of the Lion King (1994) or to Mowgly in The Book of the Jungle the one that, certainly, is not original of the studies Disney but of the Hindu poet Rudyard Kipling who was writing it in the winter of 1892 and in which a child was raised by the wolves, like if it was a question of a wolf. Kipling molded the idea and created a gallery of unforgettable prominent figures, was giving form to The book of the jungle that later he would extend with a new and definitive volume. This way it sprouted this wonderful book of the pen of an exceptional writer, of whom said Borges who after Shakespeare, was the only author Englishman who was writing with the whole dictionary.

The panther as such, is agile, light and fast, but ” Jaguar Paw ” it is more, so never manages to reach him. From such scenes, my optics towards Apocalypto was more benevolent and at the time I am necessary deicide to send my suggestion to the gentleman Rockatansky-Gibson to change everything and to begin again. Ah, but that modifies the scene: the black panthers are normally African, in America there are pumas, almost black some but they have spots.

When I listen to those who did the movie and see the scenes of so ambitious movie, I have the idea of that I seal the relation (persons) – object (movie), which product (interpreter) is the final result of such a connection, that is to say, the triad of Pierce, since simply I do not find such a links. It follows that, Farhad Safinia, for example, does the one who is one of the writers of APOCALYPTO speak about the jaguar …? The academician that was in charge as a consultant Dr Richard Hansen, he is a specialist in Mayan archaeology of the zone of Guatemala, which makes me think that this it was the motive for which Tikal’s pyramid used instead of that of Chichen-Itz�.

I have many doubts: there is a moment in which Jaguar Paw is astonished of seeing the Spanish. Had not be eliminated the Mayan empire when the conquerors arrived? Is not the sea of the pyramids very far in this zone? (Especially at Tikal?). Did eclipse surprise the Maya? Were not they astronomers? Were sacrifices done by dozen? Kukulkan was walking thereabouts marauding? Was not he a god as Quetzalc�atl?

In relation with the space and the time of the film, these did not fit to spaces and real times of the action, that is to say, the mistakes are of contained more than of form: the moon fills after the eclipse (the eclipses happen in new moon); the unpredictability of the eclipse: for others yes, but not for the Mayan astronomers; the topic of the distances: coasts – zones Maya; the lack of correspondence of the principal pyramid with supposed of Chichen-Itz�; the arrival of the Spanish after the fall of the Mayan empire. The movie has received severe critiques from the specialists as the historian Roberto Romero, who has questioned ” the river full of dead men’s “, it observes that in the film shows a pit of corpses as if it was a question of Auschwitz, the Nazi style. In the Center of Mayan Studies of the Institute of Philological Investigations of the UNAM they have declared that: ” 3 thousand years of history of this pre-hispanic culture it seems that they were put in a mixer and what we saw on screen it was the result of it, that is to say, an aberrant mixing in time and space “.

In end, I would suggest Mel another investigator for the next one, since Richard Hansen committed big mistakes.


Throwing a glimpse to Mel Gibson’s movies as the director, immediately we realize that his movies are done by the heart, they are very visceral. Departing from minimal arguments, and saving absurd losses of time in some of the issues of the actually cinema, Mel always had been a director who had going to the point, without any type of surrounding, told the history as better knows (�what if he knows!), and to told us of purely basic emotions, not for simple, if not for important, such as the love and the family, two topics very you present in ALL his works as producer. There they is to demonstrated it, following besides a logical evolution as filmmaker capable of coming beyond the images, his beginning ” The Man without a Face “, unnoticed in its moment, and today claimed and reminded especially by it wonderful end. What is it possible to say of ‘Braveheart’ that should not have been said already?, and his masterpiece “The Passion of the Christ”, where it took up to unimaginable extremes the power of the image over word. Now, in an operation similar to it previous film, though less than it looks like, there comes to us Apocalypto, his last great work, where it turns us to demonstrating his genius as narrator, and especially the enormous passion that he feels for the Seventh Art, telling us an exciting history as them of before.

The argument of Apocalypto is so simple but not plain, which can be summarized in scarcely a couple of lines. In the final times of the Mayan kingdom, the peace of a small tribe breaks, when brutally warriors enter to the village devastating it completely and capturing the men’s those that they will be offer as sacrifice to the gods. This it is the point of item that little more is develop, so for good and bad. For good, because like I had said before, Mel spared a heap of things, going directly to the point of what wants to count: an epic statement of adventures in the most traditional sense of the term, without concealing the clearest message on the familiar union. And for bad, because many people will be thinking that they are going to meet a deep reflection on an ancient civilization, with a deep study on all their traditions. This evidently is not the fault of the movie, but of the spectator who thinks that it is going to see another thing. Do not be wrong, the movie neither is a documentary, it does not also have a complexity plot with which the brains to double up. He doesn’t need it. Mel is very clear with his intentions, and from there it offers us an authentic roller coaster, totally frantic and without any respite, that us absorb already from the first minute and don’t let get of until the end.

One more time, Mel is illuminated demonstrating his devilish facility to narrate clearly a statement, filling it with unforgettable moments that they will be remained in our retinas beyond the vision. His fantastic vitality like creator of images it view refreshed by the new technologies, since it seems that the use of the digital cameras has turned into the directors’ a new toy. They always want to risk and go a step farther in the manipulation of the image, something like great Michael Mann. Mel rolls the film practically in its entirety using the mentioned cameras, and for certain the result cannot be more perfect. In one instance he places us squarely in the time and enters in a jungle full of dangers, violence and savagery, where the director not cuts even a hair in showing the hardly consequences of a hunt or of a struggle body to body, being so wild as it was in “The Passion of the Christ”, and simultaneously, coherent what he is telling.

The visual master of Mel detaches an enormous emotion in all the aspects of the film, already be spectaculars or more intimate. With regard to the first ones, I need to mention like a exemplary set piece , the extraordinary pursuit that takes place during a good part of the film, not lowering the pace ever, if not everything the opposite, and where could we see a certain parallelisms by “Predator”. And not, any extraterrestrial being appears, if not it approaches to McTiernan’s regarding the exemplary use of a jungle as place for a history of pure and hard action. Let don’t forget that Mel claims that we pass it big, and he obtains it.

In the most intimate scenes, for this way calling, Mel returns to give in the reveille. Scenes as the separation of the villagers, with different destinies each of them, are full of a dazzling emotively, with which Gibson scratches our deeper feelings with an amazing facility. Everything relating to the couple protagonist and everything what has to happen, it is with much, one of the best reflections never view on the familiar union, framed intelligently in the time that shows the film, without mental straws or absurd courses. Pure emotion, authentic cinema.

Besides it wonderful atmosphere, perfect in all the aspects, it is necessary to add the excellent work of absolutely all his cast, distinguishing specially two of the antagonists, for excellence, of the statement. Rudy Youngblood, enormously expressive and communicator in the protagonist’s role to which always we follow to the endless adventure. And for other one, Raoul Trujillo, actor with an impressive physical aspect, capable to comunicate much more with a look than with words. Words, certainly, spoken in Maya with a fluency from the part of all the actors, amazing, so much that this detail puts us more squarely in the context of the movie. I want here to say that it has seemed to me a good idea that the gentleman Mel has refused in roundly to double the film, such as it did in his previous film, lucky custom that starts spreading, so Clint Eastwood has the same wise decision with his film ” Letters from Iwo Jima”.

As the movie speaks to us about the pure and hard emotions in the good sense of the word, also it throws out our more shameless faults, as the need, absurd and imperious need of destroy us one to others, to conquering , to killing for survive. By the way, to mention only and exclusively the scene previous to the ending of the film, logical way of ending a movie of these characteristics, with a scene that leaves us thinking, pondering. A magisterial way of turning a concrete fact into a universal history.

Definitively, a magnificent film, which is growing in the memory as the days are passing, and that maybe with the time reaches the qualification of a masterpiece, which it is very closely to be. Go to see it without prejudices of any type, and leave you to drag for an endless number of sensations, thanks to the enormous power of Mel as an absolutely creator, that instinctively has realized a wonderful movie.

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