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Early reviews in for Gibson’s ‘Apocalypto’

The Nativity Story has barely taken its first breath when another another blizzard of buzz descends upon us—this time centering on Mel Gibson’s latest labor Apocalypto, which opens Dec. 8. And while (surprise, surprise) critics are hashing out the merits of the film, this time they agree on one thing: it’s a big-time violent tale.

First heads up came as I checked in on Jeffrey Overstreet’s Looking Closer Journal, who logs excerpts from what some of his colleagues who’ve seen the film are saying. A quick Google news search brings up much of the same: critics divided on the film’s worthiness, but agreed on the prevalent violence. Reuters sums it up like this:
Mel Gibson's new movie Apocalypto drew several good early reviews on Friday from critics who cautioned the thriller set against the end of an ancient Mayan civilization is also extremely violent.

"Blood-and-guts action audiences should eat this up," said show business newspaper Daily Variety.

"Despite the subject's inherent spectacle, conflict and societal interest, Central America's pre-Columbian history has scarcely been touched by filmmakers," writes Variety critic Todd McCarthy, who also called the film "remarkable."
You can read Todd McCarthy’s entire Variety review here (sorry, can't find the Daily Variety piece). McCarthy picks up on the themes Gibson’s been chatting up, comparing the film to the apocalyptic-thriller Children of Men, calling both films “contemporaneously resonant stories of pursuit through poisoned, dangerous lands on the brink.”

Fox News also weighs in, calling the film more Mad Max than Mayan. Then there’s Cinematical’s review from way back in September (which I didn’t run across until now, go figure).

With the level of violence being described by critics (both those who love the film and those that don’t), this one’s probably off my list to see, heh. But I’m keeping my eye on what kinds of conversations and comments this will bring up in upcoming reviews—for it’s sure to bring up some interesting ones. So stay tuned.

(Image: Apocalypto, Touchstone/Icon)

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