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I won't bore you with extraneous details regarding this film, especially on a holiday such as this one, but man alive was this movie great. I didn't expect much, not because of its director, and his personal life, but more because I disliked The Passion of the Christ intensely, and I've discovered that Braveheart gets more and more overrated as the years go on. But, this movie delivered a cinematic experience that was so unexpected it took me off guard. I was able to not let my past opinions get the best of me.
Apocalypto is a traditional action film, thrown into a place not often depicted. This is where and why the film shines. There is so much to learn between each action set piece. The film is obviously meticulously researched, right down to the various tattoos and markings worn by the various tribes. It is a fascinating look into a culture we have often overlooked as mere savages. The action moves at a steady pace as we become so immersed in the culture that surrounds the world. By using the conventions found in action movies since the days of yore, we are presented with a world that is both familiar and unfamiliar. We are able to relate so much quicker to what seems so foreign by being able to relate, in a certain regard, to what is going on on-screen. Gibson uses almost every trick in the book to move the action along, and for some reason, conventions wins out. In most cases, this would turn me off to a film, as a film that follows the typical conventions often is so familiar that its predictable. While this one has certain moments you could see coming a mile away, there were still some pleasent surprises that make the film move up and down in a steady motion.
I whole-heartedly recommend this film. It succeeds mostly as a portrait of a people, but at the same time, offers up a few great action packed moments that are quite memorable. All in all, a superior effort to what Mr. Gibson has produced in the past, and that deserves a few accolades I believe. By no means a perfect film, but a great distraction, and a nice history lesson as well...Yes, learning never hurt no one...
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