Thats his name isn't it? In a scene that seems like a sequence shaven out of Tintin's "Prisoners of The Sun" (This movie is so similar to that Tintin episode) we see what this movie is all about. Its like a 3 minute sequence when JaguarPaw lies on the execution stone waiting for his head to be chopped off. This 3 minutes, and this 3 minutes alone, tells us the theme, the setting and the context of the whole story. We see a priest and a king, conniving to cheat an entire civilization. This is the only part, the 3 minutes, where the whole spiel about the decline of Mayan civilization etc comes into play. This movie is not about the decline of any civilization nor does it say something profound about any philosophy at all. It does not even matter if its Mayan or Payan actually. Thats just a cosmetic aspect of this movie. Its an out-and-out chase movie. An action movie thats all about revenge, hunt, violence and thrill. It could be set in 2032 and 3 droids could be hunting down a human who has escaped, it wont make a difference. This movie happens to be set 600 years ago and none of the dialogs are in English. But its awesome nonetheless.
Mel Gibson has a standard formula in every movie of his. Especially in Braveheart, The Patriot and this movie. Its a powerful formula and works very well in that it stirs up our emotions effectively. There is always this closely knit family with a loving wife, husband and children. The first few minutes focuses on the warmth of their relationship. Then the central character's near and dear ones are cruelly raped and plundered in front of his eyes and then there is a big chase-revenge-chase sequence that ensues. All this is gorily done, the barbaric psyche of human beings is brought to the fore and we are made to believe that "if it happened really this is how it would actually happen". We are shocked, enthralled and totally gratified. In this world our credit card bills, loans, and worldly problems appear insignificant and silly. This is a world where death happens so casually and life is cheap. Its entertaining to watch people with bigger problems to worry about than ours. Gibson spends a good 30 minutes focusing on the happy times in all 3 movies, so that you feel jolted and shattered when they are raped and killed cruelly. He does this very well in this movie too. You are drawn into this movie right from the first chase sequence and then at every point you are involved in this movie and can never take your eyes of the screen. You feel for all the characters and are horrified at their fates.
A classic chase-action movie in an environment and context you have never seen before. This is what impressed me a lot. It is way back in time and set in a context of barbarians and savages. Nevertheless, there is a charm to it. Ofcourse there are some scenes which can only be described as fantastic and only slightly believable. If you overlook those, this is a high speed entertainer by a master craftsman. You gotta give credit for Gibson. Not just for the setting and the locales but for choosing an ancient Mayan civilization as the backdrop and allowing the characters to speak in a different language. The characters looked alive and real because they were allowed to speak in their own language. The subtitles didn't bother me at all. Although sometimes, the way the words were translated, made me believe that we were watching a suburban American family with corny dialogs instead of a barbaric boar-testicle eating Mayan family. Technically, this is an awesome movie. The Jaguars, the waterfalls rise up your BP levels and the thrill/roller coaster ride never stops until the last scene. I love intense movies and this is as intense as it gets. I thought the game the hunters played to dispose off the remaining tribals was worth the price of admission.
Gibson is an excellent movie maker and a much better entertainer. He proves it again with Apocalypto.