Jump to content

Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

DVD Reviews


  • You cannot start a new topic
  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#1 of 21 ONLINE   Matt Hough

Matt Hough

    Executive Producer

  • 12,355 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 24 2006
  • LocationCharlotte, NC

Posted May 13 2007 - 09:19 AM

Posted Image

Directed by Mel Gibson

Studio: Touchstone
Year: 2006
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 anamorphic
Running Time: 138 minutes
Rating: R
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1 Mayan
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
MSRP: $29.99

Release Date: May 22, 2007
Review Date: May 13, 2007

The Film


You’ll be surprised how much of the Mayan civilization seems very familiar while you watch Mel Gibson’s arresting historical drama Apocalypto. You’ll see youthful hijinks (think frat boy humor), a battleaxe mother-in-law, the thrill of the hunt, the importance of families and especially children, stories around a campfire, civil war, and many other customs which have maintained their hold on civilization for many centuries. It’s what Gibson does with these homilies, however, that gives Apocalypto its lure and its power.

Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) is a young Mayan man married with one child and another on the way, living in the waning days of the Mayan civilization. A surprise invasion of his village by a rival, bloodthirsty tribe takes many of the women and the remaining men who weren’t killed as captives. The trek to the Mayan city, their ultimate fates, and a breathless chase back through the jungle to the original village make up the remaining running time of the film. The dialog is spoken completely in the Mayan language with English subtitles, but much of the film doesn’t really require talk. The body language of the people, their facial expressions, and the many action sequences are all pretty self-explanatory and require only attention to get their points across. Of course, part of that attention involves witnessing some uber-vivid violence and much gore: all a part of the Mayan civilization, of course, but not an especially easy thing for those with weak constitutions.

The script by Mel Gibson and Farhad Safinia manages to include many of the reasons for the ebbing of the Mayan race at this point in its history, even before the landing of the Spanish on their shores. We see rampant disease, warring tribes, recalcitrant weather, an indifferent ruling class, and inefficient leadership as all contributing to the general decline in their quality of life, and director Gibson does his best to make sure his cameras catch these things in all their infamy. The last forty minutes of the film involve an extended chase of Jaguar Paw by the massive warrior Zero Wolf (Raoul Trujillo), his bullying second in command Middle Eye (Gerardo Taracena), and several others. Gibson directs it with amazing speed and excitement, but a chase through the jungle with various booby traps and escape routes is as old as The Most Dangerous Game, and it robs the film of some of its originality despite its undeniable tension.

The film’s production design, its sets, its costumes, the elaborate make-up, the hundreds of extras, and the thousands of artifacts give Apocalpyto a true epic feel, and Gibson, no stranger to epics such as Braveheart and The Patriot, helms it all with a sure hand. It’s another unusual entry from a filmmaker who never seems to fear stepping out on a cinematic limb.

Video Quality


The film’s 1.85:1 aspect ratio has been transferred to DVD in a beautiful anamorphic encoding. Shot with high definition Genesis camera equipment rather than film, the movie to DVD transfer is very sharp, beautifully colorful, and lacking artifacts other than a few very thin edge halos glimpsed at odd moments. The lush greens of the forest, the startling whites of the lime quarry, the turquoise paint smeared on the prisoners all come through with stunning clarity. The ivory colored subtitles are easy to read. The film has been divided into 19 chapters.

Audio Quality


The DTS 5.1 surround track is completely immersive and sends sound to all available channels constantly throughout the film’s running time. There is strong .1 LFE when needed, and the entire track is expertly designed. I did not listen to the entire film with the Dolby Digital 5.1 track engaged, but the few scenes I sampled with it sounded less full in the surrounds and slightly more anemic overall.

Special Features


The DVD offers three bonus items. First up is an audio commentary featuring director Mel Gibson and his co-writer/co-producer Farhad Safinia. It’s an easygoing conversation between two obvious friends and in direct contrast to the amped up mood and tension of the film itself, this dialog between the two men makes a comfortably agreeable listening experience.

Becoming Mayan: Creating ”Apocalypto” is a 25-minute documentary on the making of the film touching primarily on selecting the locations for shooting, the costume research and construction, the enormous make-up requirements for the film, and the weapons fashioned for use in the movie. While it’s a generally fluffy EPK piece, I was disappointed that such issues as casting, translating the script into Mayan, and teaching the actors to speak the dialect wasn’t touched on at all. Some of this is mentioned in the audio commentary, but it isn’t addressed here, and it should have been.

One brief thirty second deleted scene is offered with the option of Mel Gibson commentary on it. Again, in the commentary, Gibson mentions several scenes which were edited for their violence or for time, but they are not to be found on this set.

In Conclusion

4/5 (not an average)

Apocalypto is a dynamic adventure film with an outstanding representation of the last days of the Mayan civilization before its invasion by Europeans. It’s certainly worthy of a long look by action buffs and by those wishing for a film with a different look and feel to it.

Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

#2 of 21 OFFLINE   David Brown Eyes

David Brown Eyes

    Second Unit

  • 262 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 06 1999

Posted May 13 2007 - 10:07 AM

Good review, I am looking forward to purchaseing this film as I enjoyed it in the theaters.
I do take some issue with the above quotes. Although this is a fine film and I enjoyed it greatly, my Mayan friends take a very dim view as to how their culture was treated. This is a hollywood film and not a historical representation and should not be viewed as historicaly or culturaly accurate. Watch this film for its action and visuals do not make the mistake of watching it for a look into Mayan culture.

#3 of 21 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

    Studio Mogul

  • 42,158 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 1997

Posted May 13 2007 - 10:39 AM

Looking forward to this DVD! It is one of the best films I
saw last year. You can say what you will about Gibson
somewhere else, but you can't deny the fact that the man
makes great films.

Do not miss Apocalypto


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


 Click Here for the latest/hottest Blu-ray Preorders  Click Here for our complete Blu-ray review archive

 Click Here for our complete 3D Blu-ray review archive Click Here for our complete DVD review archive

 Click Here for Blu-Ray Preorder Release Schedule  Click Here for forum posting rules and regulations

#4 of 21 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

Steve Christou

    Long Member

  • 14,655 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 25 2000
  • Real Name:Steve Christou
  • LocationLondon, England

Posted May 13 2007 - 10:59 AM

Looking forward to the DVD Ron, thanks for the review Matt.

I saw it at the cinema, a savagely violent look at the Mayan civilization of 500 years ago. The action is genuinely thrilling, particularly the last 30-45mins which had me on the edge of my seat, not many films do that these days, IMO. Worth checking out. Posted Image

Dave hören... auf, wille stoppen sie Dave... stoppen sie Dave... Mein gehirn geht... Ich bin gefühl es... Ich bin gefühl es... Ich bin ängstlich Dave... Guter Nachmittag. Ich bin ein HAL 9000 computer. Ich wurde funktionsfähig am HAL-Betrieb in Urbana, Illinois auf January 12 1992.

My DVD and Blu-ray Blog

#5 of 21 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

Tim Glover

    Lead Actor

  • 7,717 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 12 1999
  • Real Name:Tim Glover

Posted May 13 2007 - 11:25 AM

Agreed! One of the best films of 2006. The final 45 minutes or so was one of the most visual AND suspensful action sequences I've seen in a long, long time.

#6 of 21 OFFLINE   onecent



  • 32 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 01 2007

Posted May 13 2007 - 12:53 PM

Great review, Matt, but it doesn't sound like a movie I'd like much.

#7 of 21 OFFLINE   David_B_K


    Advanced Member

  • 1,653 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 13 2006
  • Real Name:David

Posted May 13 2007 - 02:21 PM

I remember reading that a woman who was a Mayan descendant challenged Gibson about his depiction of the Mayans in the film, suggesting that the Mayans never practiced human sacrifice as did the Aztecs. I have never read much about the Mayans, but I watched a program about them on the Discovery Channel a day or two ago which tended to side with the idea that the Mayans did, in fact, practice human sacrifice. There are several surviving stele which depict various forms of sacrificial bloodletting. Some forms of the bloodletting involved only the Mayan rulers. One stele depicted a Mayan ruling female piercing her tongue with a stylus and drawing a length of cord through her tongue. The blood would have dripped onto some sort of altar as an offering to the gods. Another depicted a ruling male jamming a stylus through his foreskin as a similar blood offering. Carvings and murals also depicted human sacrifice as practiced by the Mayans, in which internal organs are removed from living victims by priests. Mayan defenders have long suggested that the claims of human sacrifice were invented by the Spanish conquistadores as a way of justifying their conquest of the Mexican Indian empires. They probaly exaggerated the numbers of victims, but as the evidence of the sacrifices is provided by Mayan art, it seems pointless to me for some of Mayan descent to deny this. It also seems pointless to judge a pre-Columbian culture by today's standards and mores. What seems cruel and barbaric to us would have seemed normal and necessary to those people. IMO, people should not feel ashamed of how their ancestors behaved; nor should they live in denial about it either. It seems that every time someone makes a film, some group or other gets all upset about how their people are portrayed, as if the behavior of people long ago somehow reflects badly on their descendants today.

#8 of 21 OFFLINE   Nathan V

Nathan V

    Supporting Actor

  • 960 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 16 2002

Posted May 14 2007 - 04:59 AM

Good review. Unquestionably one of the most riveting, exhilerating, and unique cinematic experiences of recent years. The final chase scene is beyond description. Gibson's directorial abilities are superb. Regards, Nathan
The Tree of Life / Brad Pitt / Sean Penn / Directed by Terrence Malick / 2010

#9 of 21 OFFLINE   Anthony Thorne

Anthony Thorne

    Supporting Actor

  • 529 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 10 2000

Posted May 15 2007 - 11:27 PM

I'm very keen to see this, and the straight, high praise and kudos from Ron and others who have seen it through this thread has turned this into a blind-buy for me. It sounds like a ripper.

#10 of 21 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

Tim Glover

    Lead Actor

  • 7,717 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 12 1999
  • Real Name:Tim Glover

Posted May 16 2007 - 01:52 AM

It's VERY different...but once you're in....you are in until the very end. Posted Image

#11 of 21 OFFLINE   Rhett_Y



  • 1,265 posts
  • Join Date: May 23 2001

Posted May 16 2007 - 03:03 AM

I agree.. this one is a blind buy for me too.. I can't wait!
My DVD Collection

#12 of 21 OFFLINE   Okotta



  • 3 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 13 2007

Posted May 16 2007 - 06:20 AM

Does the DVD have normal english subtitles or has it only been given closed captions?

#13 of 21 OFFLINE   Thommy...M


    Stunt Coordinator

  • 53 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 11 2004

Posted May 16 2007 - 08:56 AM

I walked into the theater to see this completely blind (just knew it was set amongst the Mayans and had subtitles) and I walked out of the theater loving it. You are in for something special with this one. The idea that films can take us to other worlds is never more true than here. The review got me so psyched for the release. Can't wait to see this film again. Besides, until THE NAKED PREY comes out on DVD, APOCALYPTO will do nicely.

#14 of 21 ONLINE   Matt Hough

Matt Hough

    Executive Producer

  • 12,355 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 24 2006
  • LocationCharlotte, NC

Posted May 16 2007 - 09:01 AM

Normal English subtitles.

#15 of 21 OFFLINE   Jon Martin

Jon Martin


  • 2,219 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 19 2002

Posted May 16 2007 - 10:46 AM

I'm glad those here liked the film, but I did want to point out to those blind buying it that not all the reviews were as positive as some of those posting here. The critical reaction was very mixed. I can honestly say it was one of my least favorite films of last year, so I will not be buying it. And I also should point out the violence in the film is closer to that of an extreme horror film than it is say a MAD MAX film. Again, not trying to change anyones opinion, just putting out a warning for those blind buying it.

#16 of 21 OFFLINE   Bo_Darville


    Stunt Coordinator

  • 67 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 27 2006

Posted May 16 2007 - 01:29 PM

much appreciated. balance is a good thing.

#17 of 21 OFFLINE   BarryS


    Second Unit

  • 424 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 01 2002

Posted May 17 2007 - 03:47 PM

I really liked this movie. I'm no historian or archaeologist so I can't say how accurate it is, but it's a movie, not a PBS documentary. It works very well at transporting the viewer to a long-lost civilization. It's worth seeing for the beautiful cinematography alone. It looks stunning. I wouldn't step into a Central-American jungle for anything, but there's some truly amazing scenery there.

#18 of 21 OFFLINE   Chris Moe

Chris Moe


  • 1,087 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 12 2002

Posted May 18 2007 - 07:11 AM

I missed this one in the theaters and I keep kicking myself for doing so. I'll be bumping this one up to the top of my netflix queue right after I hit the post button. Thanks for the review.

#19 of 21 OFFLINE   Yumbo



  • 2,243 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 13 1999

Posted May 22 2007 - 05:32 PM

It's worth watching, but I thought it over-rated. Didn't like the HD video movement (VERY distracting), like watching a making of, which I actually preferred on the disc. It was the inconsistency which annoyed me. Some scenes were film-like. Violence was tame I thought. At least James Horner didn't go overboard on this one, and actually served the film. Slightly predictable as well. My day on a jungle set the day before probably left me jaded, grin.

#20 of 21 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

Mike Frezon

    Studio Mogul

  • 31,722 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 09 2001
  • LocationRensselaer, NY

Posted May 23 2007 - 05:04 AM

I've been anticipating this release. Apocalypto was, yet again, another film I missed in the theater.

My anticipation has just been ratcheted-up by the descriptions in this thread. Thanks, everyone! Posted Image

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!

HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: DVD Reviews

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users