On Apocalypto

ApocalyptoI just finished watching Apocalypto. My muscles are just starting to ease. A combination of adrenaline, caffeine and sheer emotion flooded my body early on in the movie. Whenever the barbaric tribe attacked the peaceful tribe, I felt a ball of rage begin to grow in my belly with each passing injustice. Although a few tribes men fought they seemed to do so with little intent. My muscles shrieked with extreme agony and mounting rage, as one man’s father was killed in a game of psychological warfare, and another man’s wife was mercilessly raped. Inside I was screaming, “Why do you just sit there? Why do you lie there and allow such evil to persist?” If I were you, I would have let my wrath fly and though I would have possibly died, I would have taken many men with me. No single man would have been able to hold me down to watch the slaying of my father and no rope cold have held me to allow the rape of my wife…it would have taken ten men at the least…and I am not exaggerating…nor am I trying to be macho. I who am from a civilized culture had more rage and survival instinct than did they. It was then that I realized my folly. All this time my assumption had been that, both tribes were uncivilized because of how they dressed and how they lived, but in fact, they were uncivilized for a much different reason. For who knows how many hundreds of years, these people had been a peaceful little tribe free of fear and hardly coming across another tribe. They were so peaceful, so civil, that when fear, a foreign concept, swept through the camp they were paralyzed, to their utter peril. In fact, it takes the main character many days of torture and several acts of God to shake him of his paralysis. When he finally chooses to step out of and on to the top of fear, only then does he become a formidable adversary to his enemies. Let me come to my point and clear up my conclusion here. My first assessment of both tribes was right! Both tribes were uncivilized but for different reasons. The murderous tribe was uncivilized because they had long ago destroyed their moral compass and where slaves to evil. The docile tribe was uncivilized because of ignorance based on a refusal to understand fear. When Jaguar Paw stops and turns to defend his life and the life of his family, it is then that he becomes civilized…it is then that he shakes off the grips of fear and truly begins to live…it is then that a hero and a savior is born…it is only then that a civilized character appears in the movie.

Leave a Reply