Friday, December 08, 2006

A Non-Spooky Post: Apocalypto is Terrible

Allow an off-topic indulgence for a moment, I think this is actually something I do need to mention. I saw a pre-release showing of Apocalypto on Monday. As you may be able to tell from some of the links, my primary profession is a Mesoamerican archaeologist. I strongly give this movie a complete anti-recommendation, and would urge people not to support it. First off, it is not an entertaining film. Secondly, as many of the reviews have mentioned, it is very violent. This did not bother me in a filmgoer sense, but several members of the group I saw it with had to leave the theater because they could not stomach futher gore and injury.

But the main reason I write this is that the basic message of the movie is offensive. For reasons that become apparent if you watch the movie, Gibson's message is unmistakeable: Mesoamerican civilization deserved to be destroyed and conquered by Christianity. If this was just some academic exercise, it still would be wrong and inaccurate (while some parts of the film visually look good and recreate nifty bits of costume and architecture, much of the movie is highly inaccurate). But this movie will harm the efforts of the millions of Mayas in Mexico in Central America to survive and thrive in societies that already have power structures arrayed against them, and that in many cases are still victims of a centuries long Conquest that is not over.

If you want to read further about this, here are two reviews and comments by other Mesoamerican archaeologists

I will not be turning this blog off the topic of the Spooky Paradigm, but this is a big deal in my field, and with the people I know who work directly with Mayas in Guatemala and elsewhere (the movie hasn't been released there yet, but even the trailers have already started controversy).

EDIT: Another bad review of the film from an archaeologist, and mixed reviews from Mayas.

No comments: