Monday, December 18, 2006

Apocalypto, Then and Now

By Don Ediger
December 16, 2006

I’ll bet anything that 500 years from now lots of hit movies will depict life in our own time. Who knows what the format will be, but movies of the future are likely to portray our era as one of violence and gore.

I can just envision scenes in American prisons, in the slums of Baghdad, in villages of Rwanda or on the streets of big U.S. cities. Audiences may well gasp in disbelief at how our era accepted violence as part of everyday life.

That acceptance was never more apparent than it was a few days ago when I saw Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, the movie about the Mayan society 500 years in the past. I had expected that some people in the audience would shudder at the violence and gore, especially at close-ups that linger on open wounds and severed body parts.

But was I ever wrong! The audience took the violence in stride. Some, in fact, had even brought their young children to see the film, which portrays the harrowing adventure of a Mayan family that’s attacked by warriors from a neighboring city. I was prepared to dislike the movie because I thought it would warp the reputation of the Mayas, a people I’ve always associated with a highly advanced culture.


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