December 11, 2006

What is Apocalypto?

Apocalypto is an action movie that takes place in an “imagined” pre-colonial time.  Simply put it, it is a “Rambo” movie in the jungles of Mexico. Interesting? Yes. Very well structured? Yes. It follows the traditional pattern of a hero that in the end wins over major obstacles to save his family.

But it is not a about the Mayans. Apocalypto creates the pre-colonial “imagined” ambience by mixing elements that belong to the Mayan and Aztec cultures, and that in real life occurred several centuries apart.

The movie can not be about the Mayans, as it is being promoted, because in the end you see Spanish ships on the shore.  Colon arrived to America at the end of the XV century, while the Mayan civilization collapsed in the beginning of the X century.

The religious practice of sacrificing people one after the other, in the hundreds, was not Mayan but Aztec. There is a scene where you see, under the sun, hundreds of decapitated bodies in process of putrefaction. That is impossible. Neither Mayans nor Aztecs were so stupid to leave dead bodies just like that, in the open air. That is elementary.  The scene is a gory gimmick taken from the holocaust movies.

That the priests were surprised with the solar eclipse?  Well… The Mayans knew about them. They were experts in astronomy. In the year 755 A.D. they predicted the total solar eclipse of July 11, 1991.

While astronomers in Europe were tracking the movement of the moon by itself, and worrying whether their observations were going to be considered heretic by the Inquisition Authorities, the Mayans were freely tracking the movement of the moon.  They did not have any imposed mental constraints, like the ones that almost caused Galileo’s death.   

Galileo, in order to save his life and not being sentenced to death as a heretic, had to negate his findings before the Inquisition Authorities that the earth moves around the sun. In contrast, centuries before, the Mayans calculated that the earth goes around the sun in 365.2420 days.     

How accurate were the Mayans?

NASA in 1998 calculated that the earth goes around the sun in 365.2422 days.
The Mayans calculated the revolutions of Venus with the error of one day in 6,000 years.

Long before Galileo said to himself as a consolation, “But it moves,” (the earth), the Mayans prepared calendars based on the movement of the moon around the earth in 28 days, of the earth around the sun in 365 days, and of the solar system around a magnetic point in our galaxy in 25,625 years.

So again, the “priests’ surprise” with the eclipse is just a gimmick. 

In Entertainment Weekly, in an interview with Mel Gibson, Allison Hope Weiner asks Mel “Apocalypto is an action movie, but it’s got a political point.  It’s about a dying civilization -a great culture destroyed by greed and corruption. A lot of people are going to wonder it it’s a metaphor for our own society” 

Well, I didn’t see any greed or corruption in the movie. Their problem is more fundamental, is that of surviving. It is that of dying and not knowing what to do. The Mayan “great culture was not destroyed by greed and corruption”, as Allison says. If it were by that, they would have survived. Theirs was a biological problem.  Germs finished them off.
So, if you want to see an “action movie that takes place in an imaginary pre-Colombian time”, sort of “Rambo 3” (or 4? I don’t remember), that’s fine.  Go ahead.  Be aware that instead of rated “R”, it should be “RR” because it has some very, very -not for everybody’s eyes’ scenes.

Now, if you want to know about the real Mayans and their advanced civilization, I invite you to go to my web site, and download for free the report about the Rupturian influence on the Mayan civilization.

You may also go to the LCE-Store and download the full report “Last call from Earth –Stage I, Biological Survival”, which deals precisely with the sort of problem that finish the Mayans off.  

Al Herr