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Sophia Q


10 things I enjoyed about the film Apocalypto

I have a list of movies I've been meaning to watch, but it seems to be growing faster than I can keep up with it. Yesterday, I finally had the chance to make a bit of headway, and I watched Apocalypto. It was fantastic.

Here's a list of some of the things I appreciated the most about it.

    1. It's the classic, archetypal story of the hero's journey

    In this way, it had the positive of being familiar while also promising adventure, trials and tribulations, and purpose.

    2. The movie takes place in Yucatec Maya

    Committing the film to the language its characters would have spoken makes it more authentic and transports us viewers into the story more effectively than English would have. I think it was a bold choice to use Yucatec Maya, since many viewers don't like having to read subtitles to begin with and have no reference points for this language in particular, but I'm all for it.

    3. Apocalypto illuminates a civilization I know so little about

    I'll be honest- I know very little about pre-Columbian Mesoamerican societies, and even less about the Maya in particular. My knowledge is limited to what we covered in school and, embarrassingly enough, what's shown in Civ V and other media I consume. Although this movie wasn't completely historically accurate (is any movie though?), it helped me discover a new civilization and brought it to life.

    4. The costumes and set design are fantastic

    The colors used throughout the movie are incredibly vibrant. There's the verdant jungle, contrasted with the people themselves and the intense hues of the capital city. It's a treat for the eyes! Plus, some of the costumes are so ornate and beautiful that it's hard to look away from the screen.

    5. There's a strong element of spirituality

    Part of this appeals to me for the element of discovery: I didn't know much about Mayan civilization, but now I'm more curious than ever about their mythology and history. Beyond this, the inclusion of prophecies, the invocation of deities, and the presence of ritual create a suspenseful dynamic that makes the movie feel charged.

    6. The movie makes use of symbolism and shows parallels with our society today

    It's hard to say too much about this point without giving away spoilers, but even the movie's title says a lot.

    7. Apocalypto is able to remain suspenseful, even though we kind of know how it’ll end

    Going back to point #1, it's clear from early on in the movie that it's about a hero's journey. Knowing this, it's reasonable to assume that the movie could be boring or predictable. I can assure you that's not the case.

    8. The comic relief characters serve as more than just a tool to make us laugh

    I'm a big fan of comic relief, but it can be one-dimensional. Here, we get to see that even the comic relief characters are more complex than the roles they fulfill in the story. Nothing is simple.

    9. You feel many emotions over the course of the movie.

    I felt happy, sad, angry, disgusted, afraid, and more while watching, and I think this speaks to how well the characters and plot are developed. You get to go on an adventure alongside them.

    10. The score is great

    A lovely finishing touch for a great film. Fun fact: one of my favorite qawwali singers, Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, contributed to many of the vocals.

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