On the Big Board
||The movie is ponderous at times and too violent throughout but the beehive and eclipse scenes are spectacular cinematic accomplishments.
Apocalypto: Greek verb meaning "I reveal"...usually translated as "Revelations".
Mel Gibson could never make a hit movie out of off-putting subject with religious overtones and foreign subtitles. Right? That was certainly the presumption prior to 2004 and the releasee of The Passion of the Christ. $370 million worth of domestic box office and three Academy Awards nomintations later, we know better. Not one to rest upon his laurels, Gibson has returned to the director's chair and as was the case with The Passion, he has staked his own money on another subtitled production, possibly with religious themes (though the religious aspect has been denied as well as confirmed at different points).
Apocalypto was shot in Veracruz, Mexico and has a cast comprised of locals with little to no theatrical experience. In addition, they will be speaking in their native Yucatec Maya tongue. Gibson considered authenticity imperative to tell this story. The premise involves an action adventure story set at the beginning of the end of the great Mayan civilization. Gibson himself has pointed out how mysterious the sudden fall of the greatest reigning civilization was. It's such a shocking collapse that historians over the past six centuries have been baffled by the confluence of influents causing it. This gives Apocalypto free reign to create a plausible albeit fictional explanation for the decline.
While Apocalypto has been described as an action tentpole release since its inception, actual plot details remain sketchy. All that is confirmed is the inception of the project. Gibson had an idea he considered to be a fantastic ending to a movie. When a co-hort agreed, they decided to work backwards as has been done with so many great mystery novels. Ever the subject matter zealot, Gibson later checked his work against the ideas of historians and archaelogists. He was pleased to discover his Big Finish is not that different from the generally accepted rationales for the quick decay of Mayan civilization, the Apocalypto as it were. Gibson has also announced an intention for current audiences to see similarities between the last great days of their culture contrasted to modern times. Apparently a closet fan of Semisonic, the actor/auteur hopes movie-goers will see that every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.
The one key difference with the Apacalypto production relative to The Passion is distribution. Newmarket's masterful release plan paid dividends across North America. There were, however, difficulties in collecting their cut from major exhibitors, particularly Regal Cinemas. The small distributor was strong-armed out of some profits due to their lack of leverage. Seeking to avoid such concerns, Gibson has turned to the much more powerful distributor, Disney, now that New Line has taken Newmarket out of the business. The deal is similar to the ones George Lucas brokered with Fox for the Star Wars prequels. Now that the Mouse House has publically stated they are seeking fewer films on their slate each year, a distribution deal that requires no production capital from them is a near-perfect financial agreement. (David Mumpower/BOP)