A Few Words About A few words about...™ Apocalypto -- in BD

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, May 25, 2007.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    How the Disney organization has matured.

    Somehow, even in the darkest recesses of my imagination, I cannot imagine Mr. Disney on sunday evening television, explaining what we were about to see regarding the Mayan culture and tribal interaction.

    "Watch as the male tribe members display their brilliant plumage...

    and rip beating hearts from their victims."

    Extreme True Life Adventure?

    Possibly.

    Whether based upon fact or a blend of fact and fiction, Apocalypto is a gutsy undertaking by anyone's standards.

    In a world where few viewers are willing to read subtitles, Mr. Gibson has given us a 138 minute feature film spoken in Mayan with English subtitles.

    And it works.

    The characters joke with one another as some corporate types might around a water cooler in modern cultures. Everything is believable and light-hearted until the clash of tribal cultures, seemingly reminiscent of Robert Gardner's 1965 documentary Dead Birds, hits the screen with a brutality seldom, if ever before seen on film.

    The protagonists are likeable blokes, and we're with them on their travails through tribal hell.

    For those brave enough to view it, this is quality filmmaking.

    The Blu-Ray DVD, derived from a digital intermediate (DI) created at eFilm from three image sources: HD Video, 16mm and 35mm. The final product was printed to Kodak Vision Premier stock.

    While the variances between the capture mechanisms are visible to viewers with educated eyes, they are never intrusive -- merely technically interesting.

    The steaming, hot, high contrast and extremely colorful world in which the Mayan tale takes place is beautifully represented by cinematographer Dean Semler.

    For a wonderful American Cinematographer article detailing the shooting of Apocalypto, go here:

    http://www.ascmag.com/magazine_dynam...ypto/page1.php

    The final result as released on Touchstone (Disney) Blu-Ray is nothing short of startlingly perfect.

    While this is not a world that I'd personally like to visit, and I don't believe that we'll be seeing an Apocalypto ride for the kids in Orlando, the BD disc is an absolute treat for those willing to go on a home video ride where death is but a heart-beat away.

    Mel Gibson's Apocalypto is Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    I watched this one just yesterday. I had not seen this in the theatres and was a little apprehensive because of all the talk of the violence in this film. It was not as ..... extreme as I thought it would be. Sacrifice was a part of the culture at that time, anyway, the disk itself was really good. My only complaint was the lack of a lot of extras.
     
  3. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Thanks for sharing your insights, RAH.
     
  4. Southpaw

    Southpaw Supporting Actor

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    Just finished watching this one. Wonderful movie and beautifully done. Gibson totally immersed me into the Mayan world. Loved it.
    Take a look at the "making of" feature if you haven't already. So much went into making it realistic and all the effort and work paid off.
    Most highly recommended.
     
  5. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    I 100% agree. It's a reference quality transfer to boot.

    Who would have thought that Disney is the company putting out reference BR discs? Considering how they treat non-animated titles on SD with edge halos galore, I'm stunned.
     
  6. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    I thought so! At least 2 different types of footage. I didn't like the HD stuff - too distracting (frame rate?). Yes, I found the extras more interesting. Movie is not as violent as some make it out to be.
     
  7. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    So you disliked > 95% of the film? Almost all was shot with the Genesis digital camera.
     
  8. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    You talking about the fast motion bluring? Peter from HDD didn't like it either but I personally had no issues there.

    If you wanted to use that tier nonsense that AVS uses, it's tier 0 in my book.
     
  9. John H Ross

    John H Ross Screenwriter

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    And James Horner's score is good too.
     
  10. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    Fascinating film (though probably not for everybody's taste) and a top notch presentation. [​IMG]

    I'm on a roll this year with blind-buys.
     
  11. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    I just watched this BD last night and was about to start a new thread
    with my thoughts, that is, until I saw that RAH posted his own thoughts
    nearly two years prior.

    I have only seen Apocalypto once, upon its initial release
    to DVD in 2006. It was one of the most incredible films I had ever seen.

    I had been wanting...wanting...wanting to buy Apocalypto on
    Blu-ray over the past year but always had something else budgeted in
    its place. That's a shame, because I finally purchased it this week and
    last night I relived one of the most extraordinary films ever made.

    When Mel Gibson announced to the world he was making a film about
    the Mayans with no English speaking parts, completely subtitled, people
    thought him to be a lunatic. Little did anyone realize, he was about to
    create a masterpiece.

    Apocalypto is one of the most visually stunning and disturbing
    films ever made. This is not a film for the squeamish, but if you stick
    through it, you will be rewarded with some of the most beautiful
    cinematography ever recorded on film -- particularly the waterfall
    sequence which once watched, you will never forget.

    The Blu-ray looks outstanding. Wasn't as nearly impressed with the
    uncompressed audio as it rarely gave me the feeling of immersion.

    I echo the statements made about the limited amount of extras.
    I had the opportunity to wade through what was included, and I found
    it to be quite fascinating. However, it kind of took the film magic out
    of me watching some of these actors, who I believed to be non-English
    speaking natives, talking about their role in the movie.

    Anyone that has not seen this film needs to do so. Amazon has it
    on sale for less than $20, making this a very inexpensive investment
    even for those blind buyers.
     
  12. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    I agree with Ron 100%. Classic movie!

    The only time I saw it was when we got the DVD from the library and just on a whim watched it on the crappy little bedroom TV. We just wanted to check it out, but it was totally enthralling and before we knew it it was over.

    One of these days I'll snag the BD and watch it for reals on the HT. . .
     
  13. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Screenwriter

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    Looks like an interesting title. I really loved/liked Gibson's previous directing efforts, Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ (and I think that means something from someone who's not religious at all), so this should be a no-brainer. I'm actually asking myself why I didn't watch this earlier.
    As for artistic license, I think that has to be taken when you're making something else, whether it's a novel or a film. The real thing often doesn't work on the screen, I think. And again, Braveheart is a very fine example of how a largely romanticized story works incredibly well.
    I'm definitely going to buy this in the future.
     
  14. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Brian,

    Visually, this film is a real rollercoaster ride.

    All the scenes taken within the Maya city are so visually disturbing
    that your heart actually races during most of it. It's brutal, and
    Gibson just keeps pushing these ever-changing images of people and
    carnage at you at a relentless pace.

    I can't remember the last time I was so internally affected by a film.
     
  15. David Wilkins

    David Wilkins Supporting Actor

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    Couldn't agree more with Ron's assessment. Great film and a great disc. It makes a great addition, with substance, to your Blu library. If you have small children around, just don't accidentally switch cases with 'Cars'.
     
  16. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Screenwriter

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    Great, another movie I have to buy [​IMG] , as if the list wasn't long enough. It's pretty cheap, actually. And another demo for the home theater is never bad.
    And David, I don't have any children (that I'm aware of [​IMG] ) so that probably won't happen.
     
  17. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    I watched this several months ago, amazing looking and sounding Blu-ray disc. The film itself, did nothing for me, nothing near the quality of Passion of the Christ, which I was hoping it would be.
     
  18. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    I think I put this down as one of my top two BDs in another thread. I don't know why I think that for sure, but I sure find it captivating! Definitely not for everyone...

    Edit: just remembered, it was one of my top two *blind buys* I called it. I have only bought about 50-60 BDs blindly.
     
  19. Gekkou

    Gekkou Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll echo Ron's sentiments on this title. The film itself is really compelling, and it's a breath of fresh air to see filmmakers take a chance and make something different.

    I remember this being among the first five Blu-rays I ever bought, and that it was the first one to make my mother say "I'm really glad we bought an HDTV." [​IMG]
     
  20. member666

    member666 Stunt Coordinator

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    Really? When I watched it, at one point in the movie; all I saw was white and it felt is I was about to pass out. LOL Maybe I don't have a high tolerance for people getting impaled with objects. [​IMG]
     

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