Wednesday, October 10, 2007

DISAPOINTMENT WITH APOCALYPTO

VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS
Christopher Nyerges
DISAPPOINTMENT WITH APOCALYPTO


I finally saw the much-discussed Apocalypto movie, directed by Mel Gibson. It was a terrible movie, disappointing in just about every way. Sure, there were great costumes and lots of tatoos and bones sticking out of people’s faces. And the scenery was beautiful. But I watch a movie for some lesson, some point, some redeeming value. I look for a principle of life that I can recognize and hopefully apply the positive aspects to my life. I detected not a bit of that in Apocalypto. The movie consisted of the daily banter among one tribal group, their capture and imprisonment by a more brutal group, and then an unlikely and pointless chase scene.
Mel’s savage leader from the capturing tribe was just the reincarnation of one of the brutal Roman soldiers in the Passion of the Christ.
Apocalypto was a pointless movie and after feeling so disappointed that I wasted two hours, I wondered why Mel took the time to make a movie with no redeeming value, no real insight into human nature, and no particular historical authenticity.
I thought that Mel could have uses the scenario of two factions in a society and the disappearances of societies to make a good point about the human condition. There was the possibility for insight into the Jonestown massacre, and various disappeared societies such as the Moche, and so many others. But there was no such insight provided.
It would be worth while to compare and contrast Mel’s spectacular pointless movie with the original Lord of the Flies, filmed in three months by rookie film-makers with non-actor children. There we saw a classic depiction of the degeneration that occurs when individuals choose to not remain civil, and the two factions that developed as the children followed their respective leaders. The Lord of the Flies not only provided a valuable sociological lesson for generations to come, but it wholly changed the lives of the children actors.
But somehow Mel Gibson missed all the possible lessons that he could have conveyed in Apocalypto. It was simply two hours of great costumes, great scenery, and bodies with exotic tatoos and scars and faces with numerous nose, chin, and ear inserts, all with questionable historical value.
So why should we see Apocalypto? No reason that I can think of.
As an actor, Mel Gibson really has provided us with some valuable lessons in his movies such as The Year of Living Dangerously, the Mad Max series, Signs, and others. He has failed to live up to a high standard in Apocalypto.
A movie should be an open book, a vehicle for upliftment, inspiration, and useful lessons of life. If not, why should we devote our time to seeing it?

2 comments:

Frank Ruggles said...

You said:

"As an actor, Mel Gibson really has provided us with some valuable lessons in his movies such as The Year of Living Dangerously, the Mad Max series, Signs, and others. He has failed to live up to a high standard in Apocalypto.
"

Your statement raises a few questions,

1) Are movies obligated to give valuable life lessons for them to be a "good movie"?
2) What "life lesson" did you take away from Mad Max?

3) What's wrong with you?

Christopher Nyerges said...

Frank, you are right-- I loved Year of Living Dangerously, incredibly valuable movie on many levels. And Signs -- wonderful!
Answers:
1. A good movie allows me to experience something valuable, and allows me to be a broader, bigger, better person. Otherwise, why did I waste my time watching it. Even if the movie makes you think, like, for example, Rashoman, or My Dinner with Andre... so, I say Yes.
2. I learned that even when all hope seems lost, even when we seem to have fallen into darkness, there is hope and there is a chance for renewal.
3. Unfortunately, I am human, living in this Kali Yuga.