Mel Gibson’s much anticipated film about the collapse of Mayan civilisation, Apocalypto, is due for release tomorrow (Dec 8th), and so there are a number of stories about dealing with the movie. Yahoo says that modern-day Mayan descendants are wary of how Gibson will portray their culture. Meanwhile, Archaeology.org confirms their fears with a scathing review from Mayan scholar Traci Ardren, who though finding the movie ‘beautiful’ was disturbed by the framing of Mayan civilisation:
In “Apocalypto,” no mention is made of the achievements in science and art, the profound spirituality and connection to agricultural cycles, or the engineering feats of Maya cities. Instead, Gibson replays, in glorious big-budget technicolor, an offensive and racist notion that Maya people were brutal to one another long before the arrival of Europeans and thus they deserve, in fact they needed, rescue.
In defense of Gibson, he did employ another Mayan expert, Richard Hansen, as consultant on the film (you can watch some NG video of Hansen in action), and the ‘regular’ filmgoing folk at Movies Online gave the film rave reviews. For those interested in the movie, you can view the trailer and read more about the Maya at the official website for Apocalypto.