The first is that, despite Gibson’s vile portrayal of the Maya as a macabre cult of deranged killers straight out of Apocalypse Now!, there is no evidence that the Mayan people ever practiced widespread human sacrifice, and they certainly didn’t target the innocent hunter-gatherers and horticulturalists Gibson chooses to portray as the victims of a Mayan death cult.
Gibson knows better. He studied the terrain in depth and had no practical limit to the funds he could expend on research. His portrayal is a conscious lie, one he uses to justify the premise that the Mayan city states collapsed because they deserved to collapse, and that they deserved to be replaced by a “superior” culture in the genocide known as the Conquest.
"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within," is how Gibson puts it. In other words the Conquest was not genocide but a moral comeuppance; the civilization didn’t fall, in the final analysis, from climate change or inadvertent soil depletion or even war--it was conquered in god’s wrath against the forces of evil. And Gibson’s made sure you see the ancient Maya as a force of profound evil.
Aztlan.net seems to like the movie: http://www.aztlan.net/apocalypto.htm
Writerfella here --
And at least for opening weekend, so did movie-going audiences. Here are the weekend's Top 10:
2. The Holiday
3. Happy Feet
4. Casino Royale
5. Blood Diamond
6. Unaccompanied Minors
7. Deja Vu
8. The Nativity Story
9. Deck The Halls
10. Santa Clause 3
The box-office estimates for No. 1 and No. 2 were $14.2 mil and $13.5 mil, respectively, low but respectable as no Xmas week biggies were in the pan yet.
Carreon wrote his article in August 2005. He notes an earlier article that "describes the highly accurate Mayan Calendar and the Mayan Popol Vuh's (Mayan Bible) concept of the 'Fin de los Tiempos' (End of Time)." He thought this was what Apocalypto would be about.
From what I've read, Carreon missed the mark badly. None of these cultural concepts made it into the movie. You'd never know from Apocalypto that the Maya were "a much advanced people."
According to Mel Gibson, the Maya brought about their own "end of time" by being evil and sadistic. I doubt that's what the Maya had in mind. Their prophecies were about the death and rebirth of the whole world, not the death (without rebirth) of their own civilization.
Don't worry...I'll cover Apocalypto's box-office receipts and artistic awards (if any). Just because the movie sounds sick and stereotypical doesn't mean it isn't a pop-culture phenomenon.
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