Apocalypto review

Last night I finally saw Mel Gibsons Apocalytpo.  I had extremely high expectations for this movie.  I’m a huge Mel Gibson movie fan and am at the same time very fascinated with the downfall of the Mayan and Aztec empires and the Spanish conquest of Mexico (as a quick aside, I HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone).  When you add to it the rave reviews it recieved, I was nearly besides myself with excitement to see the movie.

Overall, it didn’t live up to the hype for me.

Before I get into the specifics of my review, I’ll address the gore-factor.  One of the few criticisms of this movie is that it is supposedly extremely bloody.  I heard comments from reviewers like “Gibson is one sick man.”  I can say with assuredness that it is significanly less bloody than both Passion of the Christ and Braveheart.  The only part that was unusually bloody was the human sacrifice scenes in the middle of the movie.  Yet those seemed to me to be purposesly, at least from the perspective of a Gibson film where he seems to indulge the viewers in visual depictions, toned down.  For very squeemish people, I still wouldn’t recommend this movie but for your average person that doesn’t mind the gore of your average action movie, I don’t think you need to avoid this movie.

Now onto the review…

I think the movie was good, but not up to Gibson standards.  Both Braveheart and Passion had a very hard-hitting message.  I felt like the message here, although it was there, lacked the impact that I expect from his movies.  The critical scene in the middle of the movie lacked the cinematic impact that both Braveheart and Passion crucial scenes had.  Apocalytpo’s critical scene felt disjointed and confused.

Additionally, the message of the movie was not central to the plot of the movie.  The two were running in parallel.  Additionally, the plot was very simple and lacked significant suspense.  You knew going in exactly what was going to happen and that’s just what happened.

So overall, the message didn’t hit home, the plot was simple and predictable and the key scene of the movie lacked impact.  Sounds pretty bad, eh?  Well, not quite.  Gibson is still a master of movie-making and he did an incredible job with most of the visual images.  The soundtrack was good as well.  Additionally, Gibson yet again found no-name actors who did a remarkably good job.  There are a ton of scenes with great dramatic impact and overall was a lot better than most movies.

In the end this movie suffered, for me at least, from overly high expectations but was overall a good movie worth seeing.

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