Apocalypto

Sunday, January 21st, 2007
Spoiler Warning - Post may contain spoilers

Just in from seeing Apocalypto which was a lot better than I’d expected. I was afraid it was going to turn out to be a bit of a The Thin Red Line. Sorry if you liked The Thin Red Line for me it was just pretentious and far too pretty. I was really worried Apocalypto would be too pretty too. I was pleasantly surprised that while the cinematography was a strong element it rarely distracted me. Oddly the times it distracted me most was when it seemed to be trying for the modern documentary style of hand held cameras that don’t move smoothly. The story is pretty straight forward. The subtitles didn’t bother me, clearly the dialogue had been recorded in such a way that English subtitles would be easy to read without missing anything. Long sections of the film are dialogue free so that helped.

The rating of 18 (Contains strong bloody violence and gore) is accurate. I’ve seen films that struck me as being gorier and that don’t have as much of a reputation for it. Apocalypto uses a lot of smoke and mirror tricks like Resevoir Dogs to make you think it’s going to show you something far worse than it does. I suspect a fair number of people will have looked away and imagined far worse than what appeared on the screen. That said it does have several moments that affected me through the brutality shown. Not one for children.

Spoiler Alert – The following paragraph contains spoilers. If you read it and it spoils the film for you don’t come crying to me.

One thing did strike me during the third section of the film. All the other characters who we’d been given a chance to build a positive connection to had met their demise or been removed from the story so as to emphasis the nastiness of the Mayan Kingdom and Jaguar Paw is left to fight on alone. He’s taking out the pursuers one by one had the writers watched John Woo’s Jean-Claude Van Damme outing Hard Target? A chase through woodland. A slow-mo poisonous snake bite death. There were other things to. Is Mel Gibson a John Woo fan?

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