In the Maya civilization, a peaceful tribe is brutally attacked by warriors seeking slaves and human beings for sacrifice for their gods. Jaguar Paw hides his pregnant wife and his son in a deep hole nearby their tribe and is captured while fighting with his people. An eclipse spares his life from the sacrifice and later he has to fight to survive and save his beloved family.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The white powder being mined and processed is lime, which is used for building. It is dangerous if inhaled, causing irritation and inflammation. The workers who are covered in the lime dust have a brief life expectation, as can be seen by the worker who is coughing up blood. The substance is caustic enough that it is used to accelerate the decomposition of corpses. See more »
(at around 48 mins) At the beginning of the scene where one of the (wounded) captives belonging to Jaguar Paw's tribe is thrown into the canyon, 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. See more »
"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." W. Durant
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The movie is dedicated "In Remembrance of Abel." This honors the Mexican character actor Abel Woolrich, whose career spanned over thirty years of Mexican cinema. Woolrich had one scene in Apocalypto ("Laughing Man") but he died before the movie was released. See more »
I've been a professional archaeologist for 21 yrs. And despite having only worked on a few projects involving the Maya, I am well aware of the vast cinematic license used in Apocalypto - as well as the many aspects of Mayan life that the film's creators got right. My purpose however, is not to discuss ANY of this. Rather, I want to appreciate the film for exactly what it is - an entertaining and heroic story set in ancient Mesoamerica with the usual Mel Gibson attention to atmospheric use of details. The actors speak Mayan, but this is not The Passion of Kukulcan. The script nicely shows the range of customs and culture that actually thrived in Post-Classic Mayan times, and for once, depicts Native Americans as people with senses of humor! The costuming and sets are amazing and the warfare is honestly and brutally depicted.
Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) is the son of a chief in a small Mayan lowlands forest village during Post-Classic collapse. These Maya may well be ancestors of the contemporary Lacandon. Refugees have been seen in the forest and foreshadow a coming disaster. That shadow is a merciless battalion of mercenaries working for the patron god of a nearby urban center. They are seeking slaves and sacrificial victims. What can Jaguar Paw do to protect his young child, his pregnant wife, and his beloved village?
Unlike some of Gibson's recent films, Apocalypto is a fairly straightforward adventure story with a lot of brutal action. It also hints at subtle but intelligent critique of religious fanaticism, elitism and classism, and displays a great respect (though not exaggerated, worshipful or patronizing) for the living culture it loosely portrays.
Historical Accuracy: C- (but who cares?)
Worth seeing for adventure fans, and fans of ancient warfare films. But turn to Archaeology Magazine or Latin American Antiquity if you're too concerned with facts to enjoy prehistoric fiction.
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