Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Apocalypto - High Replay Value

First a warning, this review has a bunch of spoilers. On the other hand, like 'Passion' you can enjoy it even if you know how it ends.

I really enjoyed this movie, but not for the reasons that got me to the theater. I rarely make it to the theater, and when I do I like a good visual experience. That is what got me into Apocalypto. And while the visuals were good they weren't captivating.

Everything I thought I liked about it was confirmed when I saw the European ships from the beach. Sometimes it seems like an artist is broadcasting a message, but it is in code for a certain few to break. When I saw the ships it felt like I had broken the code.

This movie has a few levels to it. As Gibson said, "It is the story of one man's stuggle for his family," but there is more. There seemed to me to be a theme of one-up-manship. First the tribe over the boar. And the Mayans over the tribes, which then got me wondering about the Europeans.

I also liked how the chase ended. That was something else that made me feel like I was 'on code'. It was the leader of the hunters that was our hero's real antagonist. Once he was killed that hunt seemed, for the most part, to be over. There were two hunters left so it went on nominally, but they would no longer be willing to sacrifice themselves to the hunt. Then on seeing the ships, they did, in fact, let our hero go on his merry way.

Now don't think me uncritical. I know you don't sprint in an endurance contest. And if you are going to run you have to eat, and if you take the time to eat you might as well wash off some of the blue paint. It might help you blend in with the local flora. Or perhaps they were just tactical errors made by our hero to balance out so many of the things he did right.

Either way it seems like the production team got a lot of things right too. Now that I know we are on the same page I look forward to watching it again. I'm sure I will see many things I didn't the first time. Perhaps I might even take away a few morals.

This might even end up being one of those movies I watch again and again until I can see through the narrative and the story of production starts to reveal itself.

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