Anthony Breznican at USA Today gets his blog on with a piece that mines "Apocalypto" reviews for other movie references, because "Mel Gibson‘s Apocalypto was touted by the Walt Disney Co. as an original movie experiment." Breznican cites Ed Gonzalez of Slant making "Matrix" comparisons and John Thomason of Orlando Weekly for seeing a "Jackass" likeness, while over at the Reverse Shot blog, correspondent "Micky" presents a Thursday game that involves guessing whether instances are from "Apocalypto" or "Home Alone":
5) Jaguar Paw exclaims "NGABWE TUNMONGOW!"
6) Main character rescued at the last minute by strange white man.
7) Film is a poignant metaphor for modern day America.
8) Jungle cat eats a living human jawbone.
Heh. Anthony Lane at the New Yorker sees another likeness:
The idyll is snapped when the tribeâ€™s encampment is raided and its inhabitants, including Jaguar Paw, are hauled awayâ€”some to be sold as slaves, others to be sacrificed at a temple, above a swaying mob. (Before the execution, their skins are painted blueâ€”a bad omen for anyone who recalls the blue-daubed faces of the rebels in â€œBraveheart.â€) As the priest raises the knife, Jaguar Paw is spared, thanks to a happy coincidence lifted straight from a Tintin book called â€œPrisoners of the Sun.â€
Over at the LA Times, Time critic Richard Schickel shows up on the editorial page for some more pointed (if, to us, over-dramatic) observations:
Ordinary movie violence generally happens on the fly, without an awful lot of calculation or consequence, though we can occasionally be instructed by it, as we were by "Hotel Rwanda" or the current "Blood Diamond." But psychosexual violence of the kind Gibson is drawn to takes us to a truly ugly place. It is beyond the reach of the law, diplomacy, public policy or moral resolve. We can punish its practitioners only when fantasy turns into horrific, real-world acts. But we cannot cure them. They represent the irreducible, ineluctable evil of the world â€” the grimmest side of the social compact.
This sidesteps the more pressing point â€” people love Gibson’s films. Even discounting our growing national taste for violence, Gibson has managed, remarkably, to pave the way for classy horrific gore. "The Passion of the Christ" was a immensely bloody film, and people saw it, and then came back with their kids in tow. If his films demonstrate "ritualized sadomasochism," well, we could care less for what that means about Gibson, who long ago reached a level of fame that one might as well directly equate to being barking mad. That ritualized sadomasochism is apparently what the people want â€” and that’s a topic worth an op-ed.