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The Philodoxer
Thoughts on writing and publishing, and the various sources of entertainment...
A weekly column by Abel G. Peña, best known for his Star Wars work.

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THE PHILODOXER for 12/17/2006
Apocalypto: A Heart-Rippin' Good Time!

During one of the human sacrifice scenes in Apocalypto, my buddy leaned over and asked, "These were your ancestors?"

Apocalypto

Apocalytpo is an entertaining film. It's basically a glorified action flick, in the same league of mild intelligence as Sam Mendes' take on Road to Perdition, with some good drama and violence. The cool thing about Mel Gibson's last two directed films is that he's educating American moviegoers how to get over their terror of subtitles and foreign films. Muchos bueno movies in far-away land!

I figure it should be a given by this point that, like The Da Vinci Code, Sid and Nancy, and basically any freakin' piece of fiction, there are historical inaccuracies in Apocalypto. I think the academic critics should chill out and appreciate the large interest in Mayan and Mesoamerican culture this movie is even generating. I've also heard criticisms that Gibson is clearly pushing a Christian agenda in Apocalypto, depicting the Mayans as a bloodthirsty, immoral people destined to be saved by European missionaries. I think that interpretation is baloney, or at least unsuccessfully realized.

The idea that Europeans "saved" Mesoamerican "heathens" is such an outdated concept it's laughable. What's more, acknowledging the existence of violence within a culture isn't the same thing as condemning it. If anything, it illustrates that there's a fundamental human craving for violence ... otherwise, Evan Dorkin's Milk and Cheese wouldn't be so goddamn funny. In any case, the nonsense about Apocalypto's evangelizing agenda isn't clearer than when we see the movie's hero turn his back on the teachings of the European world.

And, no, technically the Aztecs are my ancestors, but yeah, they were ripping hearts out of chests too.

- Abel G. Peña

<< 12/10/2006 | 12/17/2006 | 12/31/2006 >>

Discuss this column with me in World Famous Comics' General Forum and at Pop Culture Bored.
Also, visit my website at www.abelgpena.com.


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