Friday, December 01, 2006

Mel Gibson & the Maya

There was a commercial on TV last night for Apocalypto. I switch channels a lot, but I think it was while I was falling asleep to the Sci-Fi original movie Basilisk (which recycled some of the sets & plot from the recent Manticore, which was better).
Today there's an interview with Mel Gibson on and course they have to focus on his DUI and drunken anti-Jew rant. Whatever. Jews could not have anything less to do with the Maya and that's what I'm interested in. Maybe I can learn Yucatec if I watch the movie enough, who knows?
Anyway, here are some snippets from those interviews:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Of all the subjects to make a movie about, why the Mayans?

MEL GIBSON: If I went to the cinema, what would I want to see? That's where I always start. You're always looking to do something you have a thirst to see in your own heart and mind. And there has always been this shroud of mystery about the Mayan civilization.

I went down to the Mirador Basin and saw the pyramids and they're so enormous you can't get your head around it. One of them is the biggest pyramid in the world, bigger than the ones in Egypt. They're 3,000 years old and they've got jungle stuff growing out of them, but they're intact. They're just there. The Mayans just left -- but why? That's a massive question mark.

Apocalypto is an action movie, but it's got a political point. It's about a dying civilization — a great culture destroyed by fear and corruption. A lot of people are going to wonder if it's a metaphor for our own society.
We're all afraid. That's something I've been finding out more recently — how racked by fear we are as a society. It all comes back to that. If you watch the news you're going to be terrified. That little banner that runs along the bottom of the screen — today we're in a state of red alert, with a 98 percent chance of being bombed to the s--- house. That's an exaggeration — we're in a state of orange now — but you've got to wonder where this information is coming from. If I'm watching a video of Osama bin Laden looking through a rifle, how do I know he's not just some shoe salesman they told could be in a movie? You know what I mean? There's no way to verify it. Nobody has provided me with a good reason why we're sending our troops to all these places. I don't know how it jumped from Afghanistan to Iraq. I don't get any of this stuff.

Earlier, you mentioned visiting the Mirador Basin. Is that where the idea for Apocalypto came from — a trip to the Mayan ruins?
Oddly enough, I just wanted to fashion a really exciting chase. I wanted something fast and exhilarating. And I thought, What kind of chase? Cars? Nah, I'm sick of cars. Trucks? Planes? Been done before. Foot chase? I haven't ever seen a really good foot chase. A foot chase could be really primal, with animals and all sorts of stuff. So I ran an idea past my assistant at the time — Farhad Safinia, who ended up writing Apocalypto's script with me — about a Native American guy who gets captured. Because we always have this conceit that history started when Europeans got here, but the history of these indigenous people goes back thousands of years.

You get away with a lot of violence in the film. There are beheadings, people's hearts being cut out, one guy getting his face chewed up by a jaguar...
The world is a violent place. Violence is a recurring part of our history. But this movie is not as violent as a chain-saw movie, not by a long shot. That's just some teenager with pimples being hacked to death. This is less violent than Braveheart, I think. The sacrifices at the temple are puny in comparison to what they did to the guy on the rack in that movie. But I want people to close their eyes sometimes. There is one point where a guy jumps over a waterfall and brains himself on a rock. I don't want people to watch that piece. I've given them plenty of time to close their eyes, because that's really heinous.

So I have to wonder if this movie will spark off a big interest in the Maya or just more of the same old 12-21-2012 "calendar is ending world is ending" crap that I am getting SO SICK OF.
The interview doesn't say much about it being historically accurate or even what year it's supposed to take place in. Hmm. Well, it's a movie about the ancient Maya. I'll go.
When I first heard about it, I thought it was going to be about when the Spanish came (same era as my beloved Aztec) and Mel, being a big-time Christian, would do it from the Spanish point of view and make the Maya look like insane savages. But he didn't. Yay. 2 Lamat 1 Mac

No comments: