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Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Columbo, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. Columbo

    Columbo Active Member

    My favorite reviewer weighs in on the Mel.....

    (Oops) It's brilliant

    By Phoebe Flowers
    South Florida Sun-Sentinel Film Writer
    Posted December 8 2006

    Apocalypto was supposed to be a punch line. It was supposed to be a ridiculous vanity project from a controversial filmmaker and actor, apparently mad with power, who made a very, very big mistake when he was pulled over by police last summer. It was shot entirely in a crazy old language, and featured characters in loincloths with bones through their noses! Come on! It was supposed to at least be kind of bad.

    But, to the considerable detriment of lazy film critics everywhere, Mel Gibson does not really trouble himself with expectations. Because Apocalypto, his epic tale of a 500-year-old Mayan civilization on the brink of utter destruction, is awesome.

    There are other ways to describe it, sure -- spectacular, magnificent, frenetically entertaining. You could dog-ear the pages of every thesaurus imaginable, though, and still not be able to capture the visceral power that Gibson presents. You just have to see it.

    The story hits the ground running, and rarely pauses for breath. (While well over two hours long, Apocalypto shoots by in a heartbeat.) Hunters in a forest trap and viciously kill a tapir, then dissemble it for eating. (The scene is oddly reminiscent of Fast Food Nation.) They return to their village, their families and friends.

    Mothers-in-law nag. Husbands look lovingly at wives. Children frolic.

    And then ... all is lost. An invading force seizes the village, savagely killing, torturing and/or raping its inhabitants. Some are shackled and forced off to parts unknown. One woman, named Seven (Dalia Hernandez), is left behind, hiding, with a young son and a belly swollen with another on the way -- soon.

    And so, a hero emerges in the form of Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), the fiercely protective and ingenious husband of Seven. The bulk of the movie focuses on his fight to escape from his increasingly vicious captors and save his family.

    One of the best -- and bloodiest -- action films ever made, Apocalypto is also a quandary for anyone appalled by Gibson's evident anti-Semitism (and long-suspected homophobia). There is plenty of moral and ethical justification for boycotting this, and any other, product of Gibson's, and we won't argue that you shouldn't.

    But if you can separate Gibson as a person from Gibson as a filmmaker, there is a tremendous amount of pleasure to be found here. (That is, if you can really use a word like "pleasure" when discussing a movie that prominently features a scene in which a sleek black jaguar rips a man's face off.)

    If we can simultaneously accept that, for example, Roman Polanski once drugged and raped a young girl, but also that he is a filmmaker whose vast talent encompasses works including Knife in the Water, Chinatown and The Pianist, maybe Gibson has a shot. You can denigrate Gibson, but Apocalypto is nearly above reproach.

    Phoebe Flowers can be reached at pflowers@sun-sentinel.com.
  2. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    My metro gave it a B+, said it was just spectacular.
    I wasn't going to go see it, but I might now.
  3. RokSki

    RokSki New Member

    Yeah, I've heard great things as well. I'm with JayFarrar. I feared another "Paparazzi," but it looks like this one could be awesome. Definitely seems worth a look.
  4. Oh, god.
    I'm going to have to see this now.
    If it's great, then it's got the worst freaking trailers of any great movie ever.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I agree, though it's not like they could just cram all the funny bits into the trailer.
  6. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    I've read that it's gorey beyond extreme.
  7. Pastor

    Pastor Active Member

    I find the trailors very odd in the fact that they mostly feature Mel talking about the movie. He isn't in it. He is only directing. However, the extended preview that was shown in the theater does look rather interesting.

    I probably won't see it, though. I just hate going to the movies.
  8. RokSki

    RokSki New Member

    Mel makes no movies without rivers of blood.
  9. RokSki

    RokSki New Member

  10. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    I still don't understant this incessent need to avoid a particular film just because of the filmmaker's real life. I'm not a Gibson fan, but I'm not about to let any remarks or behaviors keep me from watching what could be a good film.

    It's like all the hatred for Tom Cruise movies (not a fan of him, either, BTW) because of his personal life. Who f-ing cares? Seriously. Just watching the freaking movie and quick making everything an issue.
  11. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Do you feel a little creepy going to a Roman Polanski movie?
  12. http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/review/2006/12/08/apocalypto/
    Someone disagrees.
    And Ace, I saw "Repulsion" before Roman got busy in the middle schools and it was creepy all on its own merits, but not as creepy as Mel's weird tendency to make movies in which Mel, or the leading actor standing in for Mel, gets ripped to shreds. Very weird.
    And Polanski's movies get a pass forever because of "Chinatown."
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