May 10, 2008

Aztec religion = dinosaur worship

Any mainstream movie about the Aztecs and Maya is likely to be bad. Aztec Rex (aka Tyrannosaurus Azteca) appears to be a prime example of the genre.

Tyrannosaurus AztecaThe year is 1519 A.D. Hernán Cortés leads a scouting party of thirteen conquistadors through hostile Aztec territories. The scouting party reaches a lush, nearly inaccessible valley and discovers a pyramid surrounded by bits of human bone. Suddenly, they find themselves face to face with the "Thunder Lizard." To survive, Cortés will not only have to battle the hostile Tlalocs and Aztecs, but he'll also have to devise a way to kill a predator that's sixteen feet tall, weighs eight tons, and has a bite that can cut an armored man in half... Stars Shawn Lathrop (an HPU grad), Kalani Queypo (of Hawaiian, Caucasian, Blackfoot descent), William Snow, Dichen Lachman, Jack McGee ("Rescue Me"), and Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills 90210" and "Dancing with the Stars").Aztec Rex–An Affordable (And Gory) Dino Movie“Back in the Stone Age [i.e. 1969], I worked on the trailer for the dino flick The Valley Of Gwangi, one of many great Ray Harryhausen films, getting an inside peek at the stop-motion master’s work as it progressed through the final stages. I became determined to make a dinosaur movie. It took only 38 years! [laughs]. You might say Aztec Is Jurassic Park Eats Cortez Or Apocalypto In The Valley Of Gwangi, with a dash of Aguirre, The Wrath Of God. I like making genre cocktails that both celebrate and affectionately satirize their antecedents.”

What’s it about? You may well ask--and Brian will answer: “This is the untold story of the first scouting expedition to central Mexico by imperialist colonizer Hernán Cortes and a small band of soldiers in 1522. They are captured by an Aztec tribe who placate the last remaining Tyrannosaurus rexes in the valley with virgin sacrifices. Shocking waste of virgins, if you ask me. Our hero, Rios, a somewhat progressive conquistador, tries to prevent Cortes from enslaving the Aztecs and put an end to the human sacrifices—a time-honored plot for costume pictures of the ’60s. But we have tried, without interfering with the fun of the piece, to inject a little more plot, character delineation and interesting historical detail.”

But of course Brian also injected lots of blood …. “my mayhem is as graphic as time and money would allow. Two human hearts are ripped out, a leg is bitten off, intestines spill, ribs are shredded, half-eaten corpses fall onto wet sand, etc. These are the moments in this kind of picture I would have loved to have seen as a kid. Gore fans will certainly get some chuckles.”
Comment:  Let's see if I have this straight. Here's the actual Aztec religion:Aztec cosmology divided the world into upper and nether-worlds, each associated with a specific set of deities and astronomical objects. Important in Aztec religion were the sun, moon and the planet Venus--all of which held different symbolic and religious meanings and were connected to deities and geographical places. ... For the Aztecs especially important deities were Tlaloc the god of rain, Huitzilopochtli the patron god of the Mexica tribe, Quetzalcoatl the culture hero and god of civilization and order, and Tezcatlipoca the god of destiny and fortune, connected with war and sorcery. ... A common Aztec religious practice was the recreation of the divine: Mythological events would be ritually recreated and living persons would impersonate specific deities and be revered as a god--and often ritually sacrificed.And here's the TV version of Aztec religion:The Aztecs sacrificed virgins to placate their dinosaur god.Oops! Someone made a mistake. Someone looked at the Aztecs' complex cosmology and saw dinosaur worship.

How did director Brian Trenchard-Smith make this unfortunate boo-boo? Well, "everyone knows" the Aztecs practiced human sacrifice because they were cruel and inhuman. That is, because they were basically beasts with no souls. That is, for no reason.

So if they killed people for no reason, why wouldn't they kill people to stop a rampaging T. rex? Either way they get to indulge their bloodlust. This way they also protect themselves from getting killed.

Why risk your life to hunt the big bruiser when you can sacrifice a virgin to it instead? After all, your average T. rex is reasonable. He won't eat you if you give him a daily meal. We learned this from movies such as King Kong, so it must be true.

The Aztecs' spiritual void

To put it another way, "everyone knows" the Aztecs were too savage and barbaric to worship actual gods. So if a big ol' animal came along, wouldn't it fill their spiritual void? Wouldn't they adopt a god-like creature as their god and decide to worship it?

I mean, you and I would never mistake a dinosaur for a god. But we're talking about Indians who worshiped rocks, trees, and animals. If they're so ignorant that they thought a squirrel was holy, how much holier would a massive deadly predator seem?

So Aztec Rex gives us Indians as superstitious children who sacrifice virgins to a monster. These Indians are just like your classic devil worshipers. The Euro-Americans' religion is uplifting and civilized while the Indians' is primitive and degenerate. According to this movie, it's literally bestial.

No wonder we defeated the Indians so easily. Our god is an all-powerful white man who rules the universe. Theirs is a dumb dino who eats people. Since our god created their "god" in 4000 BC, guess who wins?

Stupid, stupid, stupid

In short, how stupid can you get? This movie makes a film like Apocalypto or The Ruins seem intelligent by comparison. Aztec Rex goes straight to the top of the stereotype pile for May.

Aztec Rex debuts May 10 (tonight) on the Sci-Fi channel. This is one movie I definitely plan to miss.

Below:  A TV spot for the movie. I love the way the Spaniards and Aztecs both speak English. Because it would be, like, a bummer if the Aztecs had their own language and the conquistadors couldn't understand them.

12 comments:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
This your first post, Rob, that has writerfella rolling on the floor, laughing his ass off! (ROTF, LMAO!) You are evolving, lucky you! Keep up THAT kind of good work!
APOCALYPTO, intelligent? You're learning!
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

dmarks said...

Rob, cutting down this "film" is like shooting fish in a barrel. But Russ is right, the material gave you ample opportunity for amusing writing.

I begged off of this one, but saw some of the SciFi channel offerings today. "Aztec Rex" caps off a whole day of very bad monster movies.

But who knows... this could inspire a sequel "Mayasaurus" about how the Maya civilization fell due to a Maiasaurus gobbling all of their crops.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Geez, what sequels there could be! Apachycephasaur! Navajoviraptor! Toltecarnosaur! But the one writerfella likes best is Chickasaur!
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

dmarks said...

And don't forget the Cherodactyl, the "Terror of Tahlequah"

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
BRAVISSIMO!
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Anonymous said...

How about one where a young man from the Clan of the Snakes falls in love with a young woman from the clan of the Birds, despite family opposition, bringing the two clans together and calling it "Cozy-Cuddle? (aka quatzecoatl)

Delishmish said...

May I say I too saw the "brilliance" of this movie and also did a "review" of it on my blog..lol

Glad to see I am not alone.

I truly believe in the content of the movies I see on the venerable Sci Fi channel

Anonymous said...

I'm just going to go ahead and point out that in the movie the Aztecs actually DO speak their own language (I've been unable to find which language was actually spoken in the film) and that they only learn English from a shipwrecked European.

That being said, it's soooooo typical of Hollywood to stereotype these Spaniards as greedy monsters who place no value on human life. And I love the way the Spaniards speak English. Because it would be, like, a bummer if the Spaniards spoke Spanish and the viewers couldn't understand them.

bobby said...

"And I love the way the Spaniards speak English. Because it would be, like, a bummer if the Spaniards spoke Spanish and the viewers couldn't understand them."

Good point. It's important that we reduce all cultures ever, not just Native American ones.

Rob said...

Why didn't the Spaniards learn the Aztec language (Nahuatl)? Sounds like a Eurocentric conceit that "they" (the funny-looking strangers) should learn "our" (the normal, European) language.

American movies don't necessarily require everyone to speak English, you know. In recent years several movies have used Native actors who spoke Native languages. With subtitles for non-Native audiences, of course.

Syera said...

Did anyone else look at this and think of the Ica stones hoax?

Rob said...

No, but good point. I posted something about the dinosaur-riding Inca in Creationist Website Says Inca Coexisted with Dinosaurs.