Peace through victory - the American way.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Apocalypto's Naked Prey.

The structure of Mel Gibson's new movie, Apocalypto, bears a striking resemblance to Cornel Wilde's worthy old classic, The Naked Prey. (Here.) The plots of the two movies follow the same path: a small group of innocents in the jungle are captured by violent savages and taken to the enemy's home where they endure torture. One survivor escapes and leads his captors on a chase through the jungle.

Despite the similarity in action, the two movies have differences. Where Wilde's movie takes place in colonial Africa, Gibson's is set in pre-Columbian Central America. Where The Naked Prey never rises above the level of an action movie, Apocalypto uses the action genre to tell a story weighted with a powerful theme of damnation and salvation.

Some have criticized Apocalypto for historical inaccuracy. The Mayan Civilization died out in 900, you see, so Gibson must have made a mistake when he included a brief glimpse of Spaniards in his movie. Tell that to Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba, the leader of the first successful Spanish landing on Yucatan in 1517. He was killed by Mayans, who were still around 600 years after the end of the so-called Classical period of their civilization. (Here and here.) Others have criticized the movie for more pedantic flaws: getting Mayan buildings wrong, showing Mayans afraid of an eclipse, and exaggerating the practice of human sacrifice.

These criticisms miss the point. Apocalypto is not a cultural or historical documentary. It is not even a work of historical fiction fleshing out a story ripped from yesterday's headlines, a la Elizabeth or Braveheart. Instead Apocalypto is a work of imagination that uses an historical setting to create an alien world and portray fictitious events in order to make a point about the human tendency towards sin.

Gibson's Christian faith clearly plays a part in his development of this theme. However, the movie is no Christian propaganda movie. That is made clear by the choice the main character makes at the very end of the film.

Apocalpyto is worth a trip to the theater. Gibson's direction and photography, and the film's total immersion into an alien culture, work very well on the big screen with surround sound. And as you're watching the action unfold on the screen, with all the running and jumping and fighting, you suddenly realize that the movie is also making you think.

-tdr

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are some updates on the text above.
The Maya didn't die out, they were wiped out. The christian pioneers, as it were.
To enlighten, or refreshing you memory - Christianity has a marcabre past. It's no secret that the word of "god", was spread through insane actions, as murder and torture. A religion based on mass murder, who preeches about turning the other cheek.. You get my point.
And a religion made for the men, by men, not man.

It's hard to determine Gibson's intentions with this movie, but he
certainly uses what he has, to make the christian community feel "better", about the extinction of another civilazation.

"Instead Apocalypto is a work of imagination that uses an historical setting to create an alien world and portray fictitious events in order to make a point about the human tendency towards sin." By misteramericano.

No wonder you defend Gibson, you are a christian. :D

4:36 PM

 

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