Buena Vista Home Entertainment
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The television season has officially ended, and I really had no choice but to finally blow the dust of the copy of “Apocalypto” that had rolled in a couple weeks back. No, it was not an anti-Mel thing, let’s get that out of the way right now. As a director and actor, he’s beyond brilliant. “The Man Without a Face,” “Braveheart,” “Passion of the Christ” … love them all. Great stories, great production value, killer scores. And if you showed up on my doorstep with a pizza and the “Lethal Weapon” trilogy, we’d be fast friends. As for the most recent one, well, in the first five minutes, a boar is savagely slaughtered and one of the boys in the band is sucking on his balls. I’m not even kidding; it’s totally gross. But I’m a professional and I pressed on. The gist of the movie surrounds a Mayan village where the boys hunt and play “Animal House”-like pranks on one another. But as the smell of danger wafts in through the jungle, Jaguar Paw, our protagonist, sets off on journeys and battles to save their way of life after one culture captures another. James Horner’s mesmerizing score will carry you all the way through the film, and DP, Dean Semler (“Just My Luck”) has a great eye for framing the epic-ness. In fact, the film is actually much better when no one speaks. Let the music, the violence and the tattoos do all the work. The dialogue, for my money is way too colloquial (further punctuated by the fact that it’s all in subtitles) and there are gore-a-licious moments that are simply gratuitous. There are beautiful moments that you won’t find in the trailer, it’s true, but watching the film is tough going – lots of covering the eyes and all that. How they filmed all this stuff, I don’t know, but you need a strong stomach and a lot of patience to see it all unfold.