"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
March 28, 2007

Apocalypto

2006 was a magnificent year for film. There were so many great and interesting films that will generate much conversation and comment: films that demand careful reflection and repeat viewing. But 2007 is not shaping up so well. 300 gave us juvenility, gore-porn, homoeroticism and an almost complete absence of plot or meaning. Then comes […]

2006 was a magnificent year for film. There were so many great and interesting films that will generate much conversation and comment: films that demand careful reflection and repeat viewing.

But 2007 is not shaping up so well. 300 gave us juvenility, gore-porn, homoeroticism and an almost complete absence of plot or meaning. Then comes Apocalypto, which is longer, less visually interesting, more gratuitously violent and even duller.

This film is Rambo in the jungles of Latin America, but with less character-development and plot-depth!

By half-way through I didn’t care and by three-quarters of the way through I was laughing out loud. It really is that bad. Some of the special-effects are visually rewarding, but the music is so bad, so obvious, so unimaginative that is breathtaking. It’s a film that is best described as maniacal.

The one concession I will make is that, maybe unintentionally, the film presents an interesting apologetic. Mel Gibson is following on here from the overtly Catholic “The Passion,” with a story that blows open one of the most common arguments against religion.

You know the line – how many people have died as a result of Christianity; how many wars have been started, Christianity preaches peace but leads to bloodshed – that sort of thing. Well here we have a vision of “pre-Christianity” that is nothing short of an orgy of blood, revenge and violence. Cultic murder is inseparable from revenge murder, self-defence murder or murder for sport. Hardly idlyic or peaceful.

It quite rightly suggests that violence, terror and blood-lust speak to aspects of the human pysche more cloely linked to fear, cruelty, pleasure and the struggle to survive, aspects more universal than some critiques of Christianity would allow. The apologetic does not exhonerate institutional Christianity, far from it, but it does put its failures into a broader framework of sin and alienation. For that, if nothing else, the film is almost worth the price of admission.

[tags] Apocalypto [/tags]

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Responses
Luke 16 years ago

Apocalypto is a 2006 film. Indeed, it was nominated for some 2006 oscars. But maybe it wasn’t released where you live until 2007, I guess?

And also, don’t worry about 2007 – all years begin with terrible films. All the good films come out at the end of the year so they are still relevant when the Academy is considering which films to reward with oscars. And, most of the best foreign films that play the festival circuit throughout the year are also released (on few screens, though) in the U.S. near the end of the year so they can try to capture the best foreign film oscars.

However, if the situation is very different where you live (Hong Kong?), I’d be interested to read your take on the film industry there.

My favorite source for keeping track of actually GOOD movies released around the world is Piero Scaruffi, who combines the ratings of his favorite critics with his own to rating to produce some very solid results. Anything he rates over 7.0 (8.0 is basically the highest score a film can receive) is definitely worth seeing. For an example, see his 2006 page: https://www.scaruffi.com/cinema/best06.html

But, there are already several excellent films that have been released this year: https://www.scaruffi.com/cinema/best07.html

Toni 16 years ago

Thanks for the warning – I will now carefully avoid!

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Toni – i wouldn’t say avoid at all costs, but I did walk out wishing I’d seen another movie.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Luke – it was released this week here.

Thanks for the correction though – I did get it wrong on the dates. Release timings outside the US vary widely, sometimes because of distribution, sometimes related to marketing. Occassionally we get films released here in HK before the UK, or the US, other times we get them months after everyone else has forgetten them. Mind you, it was worse for the years I lived in Delhi, especially with regard to non-blockbusters.

Thanks also for the Scaruffi site – I’ve bookmarked it.

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