December 13, 2006

Apocalypto's lasting impression

'Apocalypto' does disservice to its subjectsAlthough this film will undoubtedly create interest in the field of Maya archaeology by way of its spectacular reconstructions and beautiful jungle scenes, the lasting impression of Maya and other pre-Columbian civilizations is this: The Maya were simple jungle bands or bloodthirsty masses duped by false religions, resulting in the ruin of their mighty but misguided civilization, and their salvation arrived with the coming of Christian beliefs saddled on the backs of Spanish conquistadors.

As archaeologists struggle to accurately reconstruct ancient Maya society, obstructed by their decimation via Western diseases; destruction of their books, art and history by Spanish friars; and their subjugation and exploitation by the conquistadors, such films as "Apocalypto" represent a significant disparagement of that process.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Not true about "decimation." The definition you cite is no longer the primary one. I know because I use "decimate" in its non-literal sense all the time.

dec·i·mate /ˈdɛsəˌmeɪt/ –verb (used with object), -mat·ed, -mat·ing.

1. to destroy a great number or proportion of: The population was decimated by a plague.

2. to select by lot and kill every tenth person of.