September 23, 2006

First thoughts on Apocalypto

Mel ambushes Comanche with 'Apocalypto'"Everybody who saw 'Apocalypto' seemed to like it," KSWO-TV reporter Monte Brown told GoldDerby about the secret screening Mel Gibson held in Lawton, Oklahoma for about 50 members of the Comanche tribe. "Nobody I talked to had anything negative to say."

"It's nonstop action from beginning to end," one audience member told KSWO. Other viewers made it sound more like nonstop bloodshed, which is typical of most Mel movies, especially that devout Christian one.

6 comments:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Comanche friends who were lucky enough to be among the 50 who saw APOCALYPTO, report that the film was exciting and enjoyable. I heard Comanche Chairman Wallace Coffey gave it a thumbs-up, but I wouldn't trust him as far as I could sue him because he claimed to have written writerfella's non-Christian, non-religious Native Nativity, "A Star, A Child, And A Promise."
Someone asked, why Comanches, when the movie is about Mayans? It was film lead Rudy Youngblood's tribute because he principally is Comanche. But writerfella has to second the question, as he is Kiowa and Kiowas are an offshoot of the Mayans. What happened to our chance for a look-see?
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

I'm not sure I'd trust any Native audience's reaction to a Native movie. Why not? Because I fear that too many of them are still at the "I'm so excited to see Indians on the screen" stage. In other words, they're reacting to the movie emotionally, not critically.

This is why I think so many people have raved about Smoke Signals. As we've discussed before, I don't think it's that great a movie. It's a milestone but not a masterpiece.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here -
There are quantitative (as opposed to qualitative) differences here, though. SMOKE SIGNALS was about Natives and was a low budget independent film made by Natives. APOCALYPTO only is about Natives and is a medium-budget major studio feature film. Any comparison of the two would be akin to contrasting the Marx Bros.' home movies to their feature film appearances.
And of course any Native audience would be "excited to see Indians on the screen" simply because, how often has that happened in the past twenty or thirty years? And as someone who has written movies, writerfella knows that the emotions of the audience are a part of any scenarist's tools of the trade. Write a film script that does not engage the emotions and all you have done is a lot of fast and fancy typing.
Failure to trust the audience, therefore, would not be the first mistake.
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

I understand why Indians might be excited to see themselves on the screen. The point is that that portion of the audience will be excited whether a Native-themed film is good or bad. Therefore, it behooves us to keep stumping for better-quality products. Those who get excited at anything will still get excited, while those of us who want well-made Native movies will grow excited too.

Soonyow said...

Okay. I will not be seeing Apocolypto when it when it hits the theaters. Why? When it comes to human sacrifice, the movie depicts a completely false and negative historical perception of Native Americans, a gross misconception created and perpetrated by archeologists and cultural anthorpologist. Mayan peoples or any other Native American culture anywhere in all of the Americas never practiced human sacrifices or cannibalism, for that matter, "to appease their gods", as the anthros or rock smashers would have us believe. Any Native American who knows his-her oral history and mythology will tell you that human sacrifice and cannibalism is a hideous abberation of human behavior and was never condoned by any Indigineous peoples or societies. This type of behavior is (and always was)regarded as inhumanly excessive and exceedingly destructive. These are unatural acts that go against the laws of nature, and no peoples with nature-based belief systems would would have ever allowed that to happen, including the Mayans. And about appeasing the gods? Pure nonsense. There were never any gods (or spirits, to be more precise) in the whole of the universe in Naive American mythology that exhibit human attributes of greed or jealousy or vindictiveness, because they are impersonal beings. Archeology and anthropology have spent several centuries fabricating a negative image of Native Americans under the guise of intellectualism and colored by their own Greek and Christian mythologies. And this was done in cahoots with Christian churches. The sad thing is, we (many Native American included) tend to swallow this image hook, line and sinker. Maybe Mel is changing his colors and has good intentions with this film, but I think he's just as ignorant as the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Soonyo are you trying to rewrite history or what? You sound like a guy who just pushes his agenda on the uneducated, we are talking about South America. How do you know it depicts such fallacies, you have not even seen the movie nor have you ever read Mayan history. Yes in South America it was an abomination for sacrifice and such things after the introduction of Christianity, is this what you mean? You sound like another dumb ass on the street pushing lies just to get laid by some Peta freak! My opinion as far as what had been shown was very accurate. It would be good to read up on the Mayans civilization before watching this movie this will trigger acknowledgements when watching. This movie does have a true history value to it as well as an intense story.