I like to think that a good number of people out there are interested in the history of our world. For those of you out there that need something a little more exciting than a Discovery Channel special, we have some well made feature films running around. One such film is Apocalypto and it highlights a very interesting part of human history. I was introduced to this movie in a class I took during high school and I will always remember it as the best movie I ever watched in a history class. The movie covers the Mayan rituals of human sacrifice which actually hold a great deal of cultural reference today. If you want to know what kind of apocalypse the Mayans brought about back in the day to get ready for 12/21/12, get ready for quite the interesting tale.
Imagine that you are living a simple yet fulfilling life. You spend your days hunting and your nights with your family. No one sends you any bills, your kids don’t get sent home from school, and you know all of your neighbors, but the beautiful life you have come to know and love is about to come crashing down. The world is simple and there is no police force to save you when a group of warriors come by and attack your home. The men are either killed or captured, but that is exponentially better than what happens to the women. You watch as atrocities befall your friends, but you cannot stop to save them as you must protect your family. Although it is dangerous, you hid them away in a place where they cannot escape on their own, but you get captured in the process. As you walk away from your home you see burned houses, the dead bodies of your friends, and the place you must return to in order to rescue your wife and children. There is far too much running through your mind at this point. Where are these people taking us? Why did this happen to us? How do I escape this? Will my family be alright in my absence? This is the story of Jaguar Paw. When the Mayans attack the village where he lives, Jaguar Paw is tasked with escaping their hold before he can be sacrificed in order to save his family. We are introduced to a dramatized tale of how the Mayans would gather people from other lands for their trademark sacrifices involving the cutting out of human hearts. Apocalypto is a tale of the determination of a man who will have to use everything he has learned up to this point to fight the apocalypse.
We are introduced to many characters in this movie that are played by low-key actors and are given names that you would expect from the tribal days of South America. Although we see a lot of different people, there are few characters that actually hold a great deal of importance to the story. Jaguar Paw is the main character and will be the focal point of the entire movie. Jaguar Paw is the son of the village chief and is a mighty young warrior with a wide array of skills. Middle Eye is a Mayan raider whom Jaguar Paw had almost killed during the initial assault. Due to the fact that he was almost killed, Middle Eye is somewhat of a rival to Jaguar Paw going forward and is made out to be a very bad individual. Our two main guys are really the only prominent characters. The members of Jaguar Paw’s village are a kind yet strong-willed people who go down fighting in the assault. The Mayans, led by their king, are a barbaric people who look down upon the rest of the world and kill for both ritual and sport. The level of ritualistic dedication displayed by the Mayans in the movie has great impact.
Apocalypto was an insane movie. More than anything, I would like to say that the writing and acting was very good throughout the entirety of the film. The direction resulted in a portrayal of a very important part of human history that I think to be watchable for a broad number of movie goers. I will warn you that this film is not for the faint of heart as gruesome acts are both displayed and described at many points throughout the story and I was very taken aback quite a few times. I have watched Apocalypto many times and every time I watch it, I come to appreciate the film more and more. The movie is extremely beautiful and so much emotion is conveyed by the actors that it can really impact a person making for a great experience overall. Even though I do enjoy my fair share of Discovery Channel specials, I do appreciate a film like this for its entertainment value that can be produced through a base of much better resources. I will always remember Apocalypto as a film that has left quite the impression in my mind.
You should definitely watch Apocalypto. The story is great and the movie will keep you on the edge of your seat during the many enjoyable fight scenes. If you like action movies, historical pieces, or just great movies, you have to watch Apocalypto. The movie came out in 2006, but you can still pick it up at your local DVD provider and it has been released on Blu-ray for those of you that want the higher quality visuals. Go out and watch this now because you all need to know what the Mayan people were capable of.