Apocalypto (2006)

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Drama / Romance
Buena Vista || R - 139 minutes - $29.99 || May 22, 2007
Reviewer: Chris Gonzalez || Posted On: 2007-05-19


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Mel Gibson
Writer(s): Mel Gibson & Farhad Safinia (written by)
Cast: Rudy Youngblood, Dalia Herandez, Jonathan Brewer, Morris Birdyellowhead


Theatrical Release Date: December 8, 2006


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Co-Writers & Director Commentary
  • Becoming Mayan: Creating Apocalypto
  • Deleted Scene


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Early word on Apocalypto was bizarre to say the least. Not a whole lot was known about the project, the teaser trailer was released almost a full year before the film even came out revealing next to nothing about plot, just strange flashes of what looked liked a drug infused trip to ancient Mayan times. We were all but certain, Mel Gibson had fallen off the wagon and landed with a deafening thud. Oh how the media can make us believe things we have no basis for.

What the film ended up being was a full blown epic adventure, with a very conventional story, told in a conventional fashion, but in a setting that has rarely been seen on screen. Apocalypto tells the story of a Mayan tribe ripped apart by rival thugs who are in power in a society hell bent on becoming bigger and exploiting every resource at their exposal. It follows Jaguar Paw throughout his journey as he is taken from his home and tries to return to his son and wife who is pregnant with their second child.

With a cast of mostly non-actors, Rudy Youngblood carries the film and doesnít miss a beat. The entire cast is essential in bringing this world to life and not one toe is out of line. Spoken in ancient Mayan dialect with English subtitles and running over two hours in length itís almost a minor miracle that the film is as captivating and entertaining as it is. At once a thoughtful meditation on how a society crumbles and then, a jaguar to the face, or a snake to the throat. Thatís the kind of film this is, and itís part of the reason it works so well.

Most films on this subject usually tell their story from the perspective of the conquistador, never the inhabitant. This also makes the film a rare experience, and one that has never been felt this realistically. You literally feel transported to a different place, where every detail has been thought out and covered.

All of this is done while sticking to its story of a father trying to return to his family. Nothing about the main storyline is grandiose or in your face, but everything that surrounds it is. Say what you will about Mr. Gibson, the man knows how to make a damn good movie. Itís a shame that his baggage comes with the film upon hearing about it, because if this were a Michael Mann or Peter Weir film you could rest assured that the critics would have been hailing it as courageous, exhilarating, surreal, and thought provoking. Thatís exactly the kind of film Apocalypto is.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Becoming Mayan: Creating Apocalypto - This 25-minute feature does a great job of going through the main aspects of the making like scouting for location, set building, wardrobe, makeup, weapons etc. Interviews with Gibson, the writer, and others involved talk about their experiences making it and the whole thing makes you appreciate the making even more as you get to see just how much detail went into every facet.

Itís a shame thought that a fantastic hour or two hour documentary couldnít be put together to really go into the specifics of how the film was made from conception to release. I want to see how the jaguar scene was done, I want to know how much of the scenes were CGI or not. But for what the feature has to offer, itís good.

Deleted Scene - One 38 second deleted scene is provided with audio commentary from Gibson and Farhad Safinia, the writer. It should have been left in as it is so short and does contain a visual that should make Bambi fans squirm.

Audio Commentary - The commentary with Mel Gibson and Farhad Safinia is light and breezy but mostly informative and worth listening to for any fans of the film as there is rarely a quiet moment and they go through styles with on set experiences, scene explanations, and their own reactions to scenes.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

This is a beautiful looking film and the 1:85 frame is transferred over with few problems. If itís grainy or looks a bit digital, thatís the way it looked in theaters.

The Oscar nominated sound for the film is brought through perfectly on this disc. From the opening scene you get a very good sense for how immersive and detailed the track is. This is a great film to experience at home with a great sound system in the dark. The exciting score and voices are balanced very well. The DTS track wins out by a smidgeon, but both the Dolby Digital and DTS will satisfy enormously.



.::OVERALL::.