“Apocalytpto” is one of the best, if not really the best, film of 2006. I was not able to watch it in cinemas since I did not hear about the film; I saw no advertisements about it. My brother-in-law acquired a CD of the movie and we were all amazed when we played it. We kept replaying it since the film is undoubtedly beautiful, ingeniusly created, and cinematically engaging. It is an epic masterpiece and an instant classic.
While hunting tapir in the Mesoamerican jungle in the early 16th century, Jaguar Paw, his father Flint Sky, and their fellow tribesmen encounter a procession of traumatized and fearful refugees. Speaking in Yucatec Maya, the procession's leader explains that their lands have been ravaged.
The next morning, Jaguar Paw wakes from a nightmare to see strangers enter the village and set the huts ablaze. The raiders, led by Zero Wolf, attack and subdue the villagers. Jaguar Paw slips out with his pregnant wife Seven and his little son Turtles Run, lowering them on a vine into a small cave to hide them. Jaguar Paw returns to the village to fight the others. He is eventually subdued and a raider whom Jaguar Paw attacks and almost kills, the vicious Middle Eye, slits Flint Sky's throat while Jaguar Paw helplessly watches.
The raiders and their captives trek toward the Maya city. The high priest sacrifices several captives by decapitating them after pulling out their beating hearts. When Jaguar Paw is about to be sacrificed, a solar eclipse stays the priest's hand. The priest declares the sun god Kukulkan is satisfied with the sacrifices. The priest orders that the remaining captives be led away and disposed of.
Zero Wolf takes the villagers to a ball court. The captives are released in pairs and forced to run the length of the open space within the ball court, offering Zero Wolf's men some target practice. Moments later Jaguar Paw is shot through the stomach by an arrow and knocked to the ground. Cut Rock attempts to finish Jaguar Paw, but gets stabbed through the neck by an arrowhead, allowing Jaguar Paw to escape.
Jaguar Paw runs through a withered maize field and an open mass grave. The enraged Zero Wolf and his raiders pursue Jaguar Paw into the jungle and back toward Jaguar Paw's home. As Jaguar Paw flees, he jumps over a high waterfall and survives, declaring from the riverbank below that the raiders are now in his homelands.
Zero Wolf suggests that they jump in as well, and they all jump. While most make it alive, one smashes his head against a group of rocks in the water and is killed instantly. Zero Wolf and his remaining men swim to the shore and re-start their pursuit, but soon Jaguar Paw kills one raider with 3 poisoned darts. He then fights Middle Eye and bludgeon him to death. It begins raining heavily which starts to flood the chultun in which Jaguar Paw's wife and son are trapped. He finally kills Zero Wolf by impaling and killing him in a trap meant for hunting tapir.
He is chased by two remaining raiders out to a beach where they encounter Spanish ships anchored off the coast. The amazement of the raiders allows Jaguar Paw to flee. He returns into the forest to pull his wife and son out of the flooded pit where they are hiding, and where Seven has just given birth to a healthy second child. Jaguar Paw is reunited with his family and his newborn baby.
“Apocalypto” is directed by the talented Mel Gibson, along with producer Farhad Safinia whom he previously worked with in “The Passion of the Christ”. The movie is set during the declining period of the Mayan civilization. It is basically about the struggle of a tribesman to escape human sacrifice and rescue his family.
“Apocalypto” is a chase movie expressed in crude and ultra human way. It is a high adrenaline drama. No cars and high-technology to highlight the scenes; just pure one human against many whom he defeated in natural and primitive ways. Some scenes are gruesome, though not revolting. The scenes where the hearts of the human sacrifices are extracted out and the jungle survival techniques are few of my favorite moments.
The movie is informative as well, though I am not really sure of its accuracy. “Apocalypto” mean revelation, and the movie well revelead an ancient civilization along with the theme of a universal feeling – fear. The set is very believable, and if there are special effects done, they are flawlessly executed. Moreover, the film is purely in Yucatec Maya language accompanied with English subtitled. Yet, even without following the subtitles, the movie is still understandable. It is not shallow at all, it is simply not so deep. It is a very entertaining movie with strong message.
As expected, the movie received numerous awards and nominations, including some from Academy Awards and Golden Globe. It has also positive reviews from critic and many bloggers, magazines, celebrities, and known personalities expressed that “Apocalypto” is indeed the best movie for 2006.