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Apocalypto (2006) Poster

(2006)

Goofs

Anachronisms 

At the beginning of the scene where one of the (wounded) captives belonging to Jaguar Paw's tribe is thrown into the canyon (around the 47th minute) a Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) can briefly be seen. Although naturally spreading throughout the Americas in the previous century (presumably from stragglers flying in from Africa) the first record of the Western Cattle Egret is from the Guianas in 1877. The species established permanently in the 1930's in that area. After spreading north, it established in Mayan country somewhere between the late 50's and early 60's.
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The murals in the tunnel are nearly exact replicas of murals dating from 100 BCE, 1,700 years before the movie is set. However, the real murals don't show people brandishing bleeding, severed heads.
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Character error 

At 2:01:30, all three characters are staring in the same direction. As the camera zooms in to Jaguar Paw, the character behind him on the right is clearly following the camera. By 2:01:33 he is looking straight into camera on his right. Watch the whites of his eyes.
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Continuity 

When Jaguar Paw is in the trees and sees the torch lights of the hunting party, the close up shows his labret (lip) piercing missing. When he turns around, the piercing is back again.
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During the attack on the village, Zero Wolf's son gets hurt on the right eye. His father does two blood pressure release cuts below and to the right of his eye. When Zero Wolf gives his son the knife, the cuts moved further up to the right of his eye. During the "shooting range" scene, when the son is "the finisher", the cuts moved to the right and the top of his eye.
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Sick Girl's facial wounds change color and shape. At one point, when she is staring forward, the wounds are inverted, most notably the one on her chin.
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Throughout the sequence at the top of the pyramid, the man Jaguar Paw's group met in the forest at the beginning goes from the front of the line to behind Blunted, then back to the front.
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On top of the Mayan sacrificial temple, the blue paint marks on Blunted's face change.
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When they meet Sick Girl, her hair is covering her right ear, then showing it, then covering it again.
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When the High Priest pulls the first warrior's heart out, the first shot shows no blood on his hands. In the next shot, as he shows the heart to the crowd, his forearms are covered in blood almost to his elbow.
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When there are three warriors remaining in pursuit of Jaguar Paw, Zero Wolf greatly outpaces the other two, but after Jaguar Paw pauses to peer into the pit where his wife and son are trapped, the next pursuer to appear is not Zero Wolf.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When the crowd cheers just before the eclipse, a white middle-aged woman with short gray hair is cheering on the steps with the crowd.
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When Jaguar Paw runs through foliage to escape the Holkanes, the tracking camera moves some leaves in front of him.
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When the captives are escorted through the city, several close-up shots show their faces. In one shot, the camera equipment casts a clear shadow on Jaguar Paw's face.
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When Blunted's mother-in-law pushes him into the hut from behind, a hand is clearly pushing against his stomach, holding him steady to give the impression he won't budge an inch.
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Jaguar Paw and the enemy chasers arrive at the beach in heavy rain, with an overcast sky. Bright light reflects off one enemy's shoulder.
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Errors in geography 

The long feathers on the Mayan priest's headdress are supposed to be Quetzal, a native Central American bird and endangered species. They are actually the tail feathers of Reeve's Pheasant (Syrmaticus reevesii), a native of China.
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Factual errors 

The diameter of the tube created with the leaf to shoot the blow-darts was far too large to propel a dart without feathers or cotton to block off the escaping force of breath. A dart alone would barely make it out of a tube of that size, as most of the breath would be wasted blowing right over the top of the dart.
A solar eclipse can only take place at new moon. However, the night following the eclipse has a full moon.
There are piles of hundreds of corpses dead less than a month, just outside the city, and more piles of hundreds of freshly killed corpses inside the city itself. At no point in the life of the Maya, and definitely not in the 16th century when the film is set, would the surrounding jungle have been able to provide a population large enough to yield that many sacrifice victims.
We see a solar eclipse and that night the moon is in the sky. Given that the (new) moon was on the Sun-ward (daytime) side of the Earth and given that it takes 28 days to complete a full orbit of the Earth, the (full) moon could not have been in the night time sky within 24 hours.
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Jaguar Paw creates poison darts (thorns plus poison from frog) and a blow pipe (rolled up leaf) BUT there are no flights on the darts. Consequently, there was no airtight seal. His breath would gone past the darts in the pipe.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When Jaguar Paw jumps from the waterfall and emerges from the water, his wound disappears. This has been fixed on the DVD; the blood has washed off, but the wound clearly remains.
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Revealing mistakes 

During the sacrifice just before the eclipse, a pile of torsos and heads is just right of the bottom of the steps. After a few frames of body parts bouncing down the steps and being caught in the baskets, a view of the other side shows a direct mirror image, not a different pile of bodies.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Anachronisms 

At the end, Spanish ships arrive near Jaguar Paw's village. This is a bit of artistic license; the huge temples and mass sacrifice portrayed in the movie were long gone when Europeans came to the Mayan area of Mexico. Apocalypto shows Aztec culture, not Mayan, at the time of the Spanish conquest. Furthermore, Kukulcan is a Mayan god, not Aztec.
The buildings in the city co-mingle architectural styles from three separate Mayan civilizations: Tikal Classic Maya (800 CE), Puuc (c.1050 CE), and El Mirador, a Pre-Classic metropolis that existed around the year 1 CE. If they wanted to portray Aztecs, this was definitely not their architectural style. If they wanted to portray Mayans, those civilizations disappeared long before the arrival of European ships.

Continuity 

When the Spaniards arrive, rain is pouring down on Jaguar Paw and his two pursuers. Yet the Spaniards' boats have 3 different pennants, all flapping gracefully in the breeze, with no water on them.
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A jaguar brutally mauls the face of a warrior chasing Jaguar Paw. The other warriors kill the jaguar, and a few of them argue over who gets a dead warrior's belongings. As the winner tucks it into his waistband, the mauled warrior's face is miraculously untouched.
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In Jaguar Paw's final strike against Hanging Moss, Jaguar Paw holds the weapon in his right hand as Hanging Moss falls. In the next shot, as Jaguar Paw steps forward over Hanging Moss' body, the weapon is suddenly in his left hand.
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Factual errors 

The partial part of a solar eclipse takes about hour and half, while the total part typically lasts few minutes. In this movie however, both parts seem very short and of the same length, and occur in a minute time frame between the sacrifice of the last captive, and an attempt to force the same fate to the main character. This discrepancy then results in a funny effect of the moon seemingly coming to stop during the total phase and resuming its absurdly fast movement after it.

See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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