Mel Gibson

Ransom

Year: 1996
Directed By: Ron Howard
Written By: Cyril Hume and Richard Maibaum (story), Richard Price and Alexander Ignon (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie made it into the collection when I first started shopping on Amazon a few years ago. I bought a used copy of this movie for 4 cents. I figured that whether I liked it or not, and I liked it just enough, I had to see what was going to arrive in my mailbox for just 4 pennies. I marveled over Amazon for weeks afterwards when I received not only the movie but a DVD that was in good condition. I remembered this movie because it was part of our movie collection growing up. My family was made up of big Mel Gibson fans, mind you this was back in the 90s; years before he became publicly known as that crazy guy. I considered it for a moment and figured this movie was worth each one of those pennies. In truth it cost a bit more because of the shipping and handling but when I tell the story it was only 4 cents.

When I sat down to watch this movie I reverted back into a mind frame from my youth. A time in the 90s when Mel Gibson was the greatest, Rene Russo was still beautiful and sexy, and Gary Sinise was an actor that everybody wanted to see more of. That mindset made this the perfect movie to watch but nevertheless I don’t think it stands the test of time. At least when it comes to being exceptional. If you want to see more of the same with actors that were really good in 96 then this is your movie but you won’t find anything crazy in this one.

In 1996 the duo of Rene Russo and Mel Gibson was something Hollywood really wanted more of. They had hit it off with great chemistry in Lethal Weapon 3 and I can never express how much Mel Gibson was THE MAN in the 90s, everybody loved him. We don’t own the third installment of the Lethal Weapon franchise because I hate when a franchise established on an R rating goes to PG-13. I think the 3rd Lethal Weapon suffered because of it; as did the 4th when they got even farther from the true nature of the franchise. When it comes to Russo and Gibson in this movie I don’t think the chemistry is really there this time around. They seem to turn on each other way too soon for one. They may look good together but I don’t think they lived up to that rep with this movie.

I am a big fan of Gary Sinise, but I really don’t like the role he took on in this movie and I think it was this film that generally stopped the momentum he had built up prior and since Forrest GumpIn this movie he is a bad guy, and not even the kind of bad guy that you relate to and like. He’s the sleazy cop that does something dirty for the money, and in addition to that betrays his companions and murders all of them to claim the reward himself. This role was a momentum killer for Sinise’s career and that sucks. I thought he was a good actor. My favorite role of his was actually the TV version of The Stand when he played Stu Redman. I’m a big Stephen King fan and I have always envisioned Sinise in the part when reading the book.

If you haven’t seen this movie you haven’t missed much in truth. It’s a fairly typical kidnapping movie with a little bit of Mel Gibson impulsive insanity thrown in the mix. You must keep in mind this is long before his crazy side was ever revealed to the public, this was during his king of the world years. It’s an alright movie just nothing exceptional. If you’ve seen this movie before I think it is easily worth four pennies of your own money. Otherwise I don’t know that it is really worth your time to see it.

NEXT MOVIE: Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

 

 

 

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Maverick

Year: 1994
Directed By: Richard Donner
Written By: Roy Huggins (TV series the movie was based on) William Goldman (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

When I sat down to watch this movie for review I already had many thoughts about what I would write.  Things along the lines of “really fun movie but not to be taken seriously” or something like that.  However having finished it now I find myself wondering why we ever owned this movie to begin with.  Yes it’s a fun movie to a degree but more of a product of its time than anything else.  I don’t think this movie really has any lasting power and on top of that it is about 30-45 minutes way too long.  This movie is light-hearted and fun but jumps between something silly and something serious far too often.  I found the experience of watching it again to be painfully boring at times and I doubt I’ll watch the movie again for a long, long time, if ever at all.

It probably comes as a surprise to any younger person out there but there was a time when Mel Gibson was the darling actor of this country.  In the 1990s, and for a while after, the man could seemingly do no wrong. America has always loved Australian actors and before the days of Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and the like Mel Gibson was that guy.  He had inspired us all with his “brave heart,” stole the heart of our famous Native American with his voice (despite how wrought with inaccuracy that Disney film was), and he….”knew what women wanted.” In truth, his popularity at the time is specifically why we own this movie and why I enjoyed it so much when it came out.  The mere fact that this movie was so successful is specifically because everyone loved Mel Gibson.  The movie brought in over 100 million in the US box office and that was nothing to sneeze at in 1994.  That’s crazy, trust me.  You might remember this movie fondly, just as I did, but this is no longer the era of “Mel Gibson is the greatest” and it really isn’t that good of a movie.  It’s cool to see Mel Gibson and Richard Donner reunite for something fun and the moment between Gibson and Danny Glover during the bank robbery is quite funny.  However that doesn’t make it a good film and as much as I liked this movie when it came out I still found it unbearable to watch this time around.

This film is specifically one of my favorite roles from Jodie Foster.  Foster has had a terrific career and has made many notable films but in this film I just thought she was smoking hot as the southern belle. I am not saying this is her best movie, it does not even come close.  Speaking in purely acting terms this movie isn’t even on the list of her best parts, but I just thought she was so good-looking in this movie.  To think that she made this film the same year she made Nell is crazy because the exact opposite can be said about how she looked in that film.  I am not really a Jodie Foster fan but she is such a fascinating person.  She recently officially came out as a lesbian and I think I may have been the only person surprised by that news because everybody else seemed to already know.  When I think of Jodie Foster I always instinctively think of John Hinckley Jr.  How insane it must have been to be her after that man shot the President.  For those who don’t know Hinckley was a crazy man who was in love with Jodie Foster and for some reason thought shooting Ronald Reagan would gain him the attention he wanted from her.  Seriously crazy guy that she had absolutely nothing to do with but still that realization must have affected her in some way or another.

The coolest thing about this movie, aside from the moment between Gibson and Glover, is that James Garner was cast in a significant part.  The film was based on the television show by the same name from the late 50s in which Garner starred as Bret Maverick.  I have never seen an episode of the show and don’t know how it correlates with the movie but having the original star involved gives it a certain level of credibility.  Beyond that I think there is little to say about this film.  It’s way too long at 2 hours and seven minutes.  After the big card game the film specifically drags out too far in an effort to set up a sequel that ultimately never happened.  As I said in my intro the tone of this film is all wrong as well.  It seems lighthearted and silly throughout most of the film but occasionally people are killed and it gets real.  It’s always confusing to “get real” during this type of film and I think it sullies the whole thing.  Granted it is only the bad guy and his associates that are killed but still, you can’t be silly when you are killing people even if they are the bad guys.

Having said all of that I don’t think this movie is worth your time and I wouldn’t bother seeing it if I were you.  It can be fun with all the card playing and the parts that are humorous but it’s not worth the time it takes to watch it.  This movie could have been cut by at least 45 minutes and been better.  It was all good in the Mel Gibson hey day but that day is over and now it has little to offer.  It does not even belong in our collection and I only took the time to actually review it because otherwise the time I spent watching it again would have been a complete waste.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I was not interested in this movie. I didn’t even know we owned it. Mel Gibson is not my favorite nor Ryan’s so I still don’t really get why we own this movie. I paid attention, somewhat to the movie, but I didn’t really like the plot, or the actors roles in the movie. Having said that, I really didn’t pay that close attention to it, so what I say isn’t really fair. It had a hard time capturing and keeping my attention.

maverick

There is just so much going on this poster. It has no focal point whatsoever. There is a background that fades into the skyline of the mountains? The are posed like they are in a photo featured on awkward family photos. They too are faded at the bottom into a mountain scene. There is nothing really good about the typography of the title. I don’t even want to give this one any more time. The poster does for me about what the movie does and that’s not much.

NEXT MOVIE: Meet Joe Black (1998)

Lethal Weapon 2

Year: 1989
Directed By: Richard Donner
Written By: Jeffrey Boam, Shane Black, and Warren Murphy

RYAN’S REVIEW

I couldn’t even begin to think where I would start with this review before starting the movie but holy shit that’s Dean Norris! I am a big fan of Norris from his role on Breaking Bad but was under the impression that was the only thing I had ever seen him in.  I never thought about how much he had aged and it turns out he was in the background of a few beloved action movies from the late 80s and early 90s.  In addition to this film he played small parts in Total Recall and Terminator 2This might seem silly but it has certainly brightened a bad day to realize this for the first time.  Without even looking I can clearly see in my mind who he played in Total Recall; he played a mutant who fights for the resistance and has some large growth or thing on his face.

images (1) This is the only picture I could find from the movie that showed the character he played.  He’s that guy to the very left who has a little more hair than the version we have now on Under the Dome and Breaking Bad. Exciting right?

As for this movie I think it is a pretty cool sequel.  Not quite the same exact thing as the first film and the heat was turned up quite a bit. This has everything a good sequel to an action movie should have: More action, more profanity, and more nudity.  Not only that but this film had the addition of Joe Pesci, and I’m under the impression that any movie is instantly better the minute Pesci steps on set. This wasn’t his best role granted, but still, you can’t go wrong with Joe Pesci.  The beauty of this movie was that it didn’t have to really be anything special. It only had to be more of what people already loved and that’s exactly what it was.

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover had terrific chemistry and they only got better a second time around.  This movie took everything from the first film a step further and in truth may have taken a step too far.  Far too often second films can be so good that they raise the bar too high, so high that a third film can’t hope to achieve the same success.  Off the top of my head I’m thinking specifically about Terminator 2, X-Men 2and The Dark Knight.  I didn’t dislike the third film in this franchise but I didn’t like it either.  It was all wrong really, everything from the PG-13 rating to the sub par story line.   

We do not own the third or fourth film in this franchise and I never intend to.  I cannot stress enough how asinine I think it is to take a franchise built on an R rating and soften it up to make it PG-13.  I get why they do it because it’s all about money and kids spend money on movies.  Nevertheless I think as adults we deserve movies that are made just for us and this franchise wasn’t for the kids, neither was the Die Hard franchise for that matter.  I don’t care what anybody says, action heroes and their enemies are just much cooler and more believable when they are letting the fucks fly.  Die Hard going to PG-13 was much worse than this was though, at least Riggs didn’t have a catch phrase he couldn’t say anymore because of the new rating.  Murtaugh’s “I’m too old for this shit,” was still acceptable to get the rating but I can’t help but think Die Hard lost something when Willis couldn’t say his tagline anymore because it ended with motherfucker. Not only that but I can’t fathom how John McClane goes from saying fuck every other word to a dialogue absent of the word altogether.

This was a cool follow up to a really cool movie and if you liked the first one there is little doubt you will be satisfied with this one as well.  I like that the bad guys were from South Africa because it is so easy to hate Afrikaners whether they are breaking the law under the shield of diplomatic immunity or simply being racist assholes.  I don’t know if the diplomatic immunity thing is accurate but feel like anybody that would take something from this movie as fact and accurate should probably stand up and bang his head against the wall. Certainly it may exist in some small form but I seriously doubt diplomats from foreign nations are simply allowed carte blanche while they are here.  Nevertheless I do not know and won’t lower myself to researching the accuracy of something from an 80s action sequel.  Regardless, this is an awesome movie that is a lot of fun.  It’s a must see for action fans and it’s without doubt worth your time.

NEXT MOVIE: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

Lethal Weapon

Year: 1987
Directed By: Richard Donner
Written By: Shane Black

RYAN’S REVIEW

I think this is an action movie equally as significant as Die Hard was for the genre; the buddy cop action comedy film that would influence so many that followed. It was a very successful film that would lead to three sequels and countless knockoffs.  Were Mel Gibson still even vaguely marketable today we might still be seeing Lethal Weapon movies just as we are still seeing Die Hard movies being made.  I’m not really a fan of these franchises continuing past their time but studios will do anything these days to cash in on name recognition.  There has actually been talk of rebooting this franchise all together with new cast members and a new story.  I think it’s a shameful and pathetic idea.  Luckily this was an idea announced back in 2011 and nothing has ever come of it.  It would be a waste to do it now; not only would it probably come with  PG-13 rating today but there is no reason to think it would be successful at all.  It’s one thing to reboot superhero films but quite another to reboot an action franchise that’s formula has been copied time and time again.  There is no value other than name recognition and the market out there today isn’t going to turn out for a name that hasn’t really been popular in over twenty years.

I don’t think this was a franchise that had a lot of staying power in the industry but I do think it had its day in the sun.  The first two films are great.  They are action packed with witty dialogue and a cast that was spectacular at the time.  I’ll admit I had a difficult time trying to get into this movie watching it again last night because it is so hard to look at Mel Gibson and take him seriously again.  What a far fall from grace that man has had, to the point that I can’t even watch his older movies and enjoy them like I used to.  I used to think he was great in this movie and in truth he was but watching it now I’m thinking he didn’t do a whole lot of acting in it.  He plays a cop that might be a little crazy and this no longer seems like a convincing performance from an actor who might be seriously crazy.  Still, I can remember a time when I really liked the Riggs character. I liked that he was this cop who was sort of crazy and just really skilled when came to killing people.  The franchise lost me when they got away from that though.  Not only was it a bad decision to make the third movie PG-13 but in the fourth movie they went way out there.  Making the third film PG-13 was crazy and really limited the effectiveness of Joe Pesci.  Let’s face it, the guy just isn’t himself when he isn’t saying the “fuck” word over and over again.  In the fourth film Riggs was just any other cop.  What happened to the killing machine that knew Ju-Jit-Su and could snap necks with his ankles?  Every time he crosses paths with Jet Li he gets his ass handed to him in that movie.  I thought it really strayed from the character that chooses to close out this first film by fist fighting with the bad guy just because he can. Riggs was cool because he was a crazy killer, when they tried to make him family friendly they destroyed the character. Incidentally, Bruce Willis was first considered for the role of Riggs, oh how different the movie and action genre might have been had that happened.

I have always been a fan of Danny Glover and I like him as the “old school” cop in these movies.  Yeah his chronic complaining about how he has gotten too old for this shit got annoying from time to time but I still liked him.  Glover is 66 years old now and still very active as an actor but he hasn’t had any really significant parts in a long time.  In truth he never really had many significant parts outside of this franchise and The Color Purple but I still liked him all the same. Gary Busey got top billing as the villain and I thought he showed quite a knack for the role as Mr. Joshua.  Like Gibson, Busey is a bit of a crazy guy but the difference is that people never fell in love with Busey like they did Gibson.  I don’t know that Busey is really as crazy as he comes off either or if it’s all just a front to maintain some relevance in today’s media world.  Nevertheless he was great in this movie; cold and capable of killing anybody whenever he was on screen.  His career was on a downward spiral before he landed this part and credits it with reviving his career. Busey has developed into a more popular reality TV character than he ever was as an actor but I have liked many of his roles in cheesy action movies.  My favorite probably being his role as Commander Krill in “Die Hard on a Boat.”

This movie is as cool now as it was when it first came out.  It has everything you want out of a mindless action movie and actually set the tone for all action movies to come. It is a significant film that is worth your time and if you like action movies then this is a must see.

NEXT MOVIE: Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

Braveheart

Year: 1995
Directed By: Mel Gibson
Written By: Randall Wallace

RYAN’S REVIEW

This was the first epic movie I fell in love with.  Like all boys I had a fascination with sword fighting, battles, and the medieval era.  There were other movies that captured these qualities before but in 1995 Braveheart was the biggest and the best of its genre. I still love the genre but Braveheart has been replaced as my favorite time and time again.  In 2000 Gladiator replaced it, followed almost immediately by The Lord of the Rings trilogy from 2001-03, and now in 2011 I have yet a new favorite again.  HBO’s Game of Thrones is now my favorite epic medieval story.  While only a TV series, it has easily beaten out all the others and if you have not seen it I suggest you call your cable company, add HBO, and get caught up before season 2 starts. Better yet go to your closest book store and buy the book, I will come back to Game of Thrones later.

To be perfectly honest Braveheart isn’t a movie that I’m really interested in at all anymore.  It is a fantastic movie but now I feel like I have outgrown it.  This most likely stems from either watching this movie too many times or maybe because it’s so hard these days to imagine that I ever liked Mel Gibson.  He was a great filmmakers and actor but talk about a far fall from grace.  A lot of the stars from that time have gotten a little crazy as they got older.  Mel Gibson isn’t alone, he has Charlie Sheen making an ass of himself as well, and even Nicolas Cage is acting crazy from time to time.  There are many movies I find it impossible to watch too many times so I doubt that is the problem with this one.  I think that a truly special movie is one that you like more each time you watch it.

This movie offers intense action, captivating drama, love and romance, and best of all, revenge.  Being the closet dork that I am I went beyond the film with Braveheart and also read the book by Randall Wallace when I was a kid.  The book is simply a novelization of the film and while this film is historically based you have to take it with a grain of salt. I have said it before and I will say it again, there are no historically accurate major motion pictures and this one is way off from what I understand.  That doesn’t really matter though does it? Braveheart is badass through and through with incredibly violent and satisfying battles scenes full of blood and gore.  There is nudity too, although Sophie Marceau disappoints us there. Catherine McCormick didn’t let us down though.

Mel Gibson was great both behind the camera and swinging a variety of lethal medieval weapons on the other side of it.  If I remember correctly he accepted two Oscars for this film for Best Direction and Best Picture.  He was on top of the world when this film came out and rode that success for a long time.  I will admit that I was a big fan for a long time and I can still enjoy some of his movies but I cannot stand a bigot.   He made a couple of decent movies after this but as far as his acting goes he peaked with this movie and has yet to make anything else at its level.  Brendan Gleeson has a big part in the film as William Wallace’s childhood friend Hamish.  I am not a fan of Gleeson’s, and he has to be one of those guys that pops up everywhere.  I cannot deny that he is great in this film though, he has a natural place in movies like this.  It could be argued that this was his best film but one must consider Gangs of New York, and several others that I’m sure would come to mind if I gave it more thought.  Patrick McGoohan is fantastic as Edward the Longshanks, sinister and evil to the core. He has such an important part in this film because the villain can make these movies just as much as the hero can.  The villain must inspire fear and anger to make you love the hero more, it is a challenging part to play.  This movie does coincidentally have a connection to Game of Thrones as James Cosmo plays a part in both, in this film as Hamish’s father and in the HBO series as Lord Commander Jeor Mormont.  What’s really amazing is that he manages to look younger 16 years later.

One of the reasons I love doing this blog is because it gives me a reason to watch some of my movies like this one that I probably wouldn’t watch again otherwise.  I own a lot of movies that I don’t watch anymore but have because they meant something to me at one time in my life.  I might not love this movie like I used to but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great movie and that it isn’t worth your time.  This is a long movie at just shy of three hours but that’s nothing for an epic.  This movie may be a mini epic, but it still fits the bill.  This was considered the best movie of 1995 at the Academy Awards and for good reason, I hope you give it a chance yourself and enjoy it.

Now to venture off topic for a moment and discuss the HBO series Game of Thrones.  A while back Amber and I decided that we were so satisfied with our HBO TV shows that we would give any new series a chance.  When Game of Thrones  was being advertised I was obviously really excited but Amber was reluctant. She said she would give it one episode.  We are now currently both about half way through the FIFTH book in the Game of Thrones series, A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin.  To put it to you this way, we have read somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000 pages of this story collectively.  We wouldn’t give that much time to anything if it wasn’t worth it and I hope to encourage you to give it a chance.  Martin has written a really powerful story that is out of control awesome all the time.  I am amazed how daring he is, he has created many incredible and interesting characters, and he will kill any one of them at any time without hesitation.  However it seems that for every great character he kills he creates at least five more interesting characters in their place. HBO has invested a lot of capital into this series and it is the production that makes or breaks this kind of story. Costumes, locations, sets, casting, and all the little things that so many of us know nothing about.  Both Braveheart and Game of Thrones have great production work, but I wouldn’t be writing about them if they didn’t.  I cannot truly tell you how awesome Game of Thrones is, it’s something that you will have to find out for yourself, and I hope that I have encouraged you to do so.

One final note about Braveheart too, I didn’t mention it but there was actually some controversy surrounding the film when it came out. There was some question as to whether or not horses were killed on set during the first battle scene when the Scots dramatically raise spears at the last moment in defense against the charging English Calvary.  I think this was an easy thing for Mel “I’m on top of the world” Gibson to get out of  in 1995 but 16 years later we all know how crazy the man really is, and you just have to wonder….. Watching it now I’m wondering if those actually were real horses, it looks pretty damn real.  I bet psycho Mel Gibson actually killed many horses when making this movie.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I was actually feeling bad that I had nothing to say about this movie. I don’t really like it. I know that is a crazy thing to say when so many people like it, but I hate it. But, after seeing the novel that Ryan wrote in review of this film, I am going to leave it at that. I don’t like this movie.

NEXT MOVIE: Burn After Reading (2008)

The Bounty

Year: 1984
Directed By: Roger Donaldson
Written By: Richard Hough and Robert Bolt

RYAN’S REVIEW

I was in college studying history the first time I saw this movie.  So naturally I enjoyed it both because of its relation to my field and of course, the natural native nakedness.  It was not in any class that I saw this for the first time though.  I believe it was around 2004 when I saw it because it was on television all the time, and it would have fallen on a 20 anniversary.  This movie sports a great cast and an interesting story based on actual historical events.

Anthony Hopkins plays Lt. Bligh, the captain of the Bounty who lost his ship to an angry mutinous crew. Hopkins has an intensity that he brings to his characters and this movie is a great example of it. As Captain Bligh he has a temper that strikes fear and a look that will turn you cold.  His unreasonable demeanor will make you understand how he managed to lose the favor of his crew.  Mel Gibson isn’t bad in this movie, he does have his crazy Lt. Riggs moment during the mutiny though. Is it possible that the making of this movie with all the native nakedness had any influence on Mel Gibson’s decision to make Apocalypto? This wasn’t Daniel Day-Lewis’s best role, it wasn’t even particularly good, but it would be a crime to not mention him.  Liam Neeson plays a good part in the film, I have to mention him because Amber is in love with him. Not the last movie Laurence Olivier made but it was at the end of his career.

I don’t know very much as far as historical accuracy goes, I can say truthfully that no film is actually accurate despite its intentions.  I have done a little bit of research as I always do though.  The film isn’t 100% accurate, The Bounty never tried to sail around Cape Horn among other minor inaccuracies.  The film did many things right though as you can plainly see when you watch the movie.  It may be deemed inappropriate by some however, the nakedness may be of good intentions and natural but it is still aggressive nonetheless. I think many would agree that there is a lot to learn from this movie.  This is also a good movie and worth your time to see.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I didn’t even know we owned this movie. When we watched this the other night, I actually had to play close attention because I realized that I had never seen it before. Soon after I was completely sucked in and watched it through to the end. I really enjoyed this story line, which is surprising to me. i thought this movie looked like something I wouldn’t really be interested in, but I was wrong. This story is different and it also includes a lot of actors that we know really well now, and they looked like babies in this film. This was even pre-crazy Mel Gibson. He is skinny and young and actually quite attractive. Anthony Hopkins look super dapper in this movie, and super young. The story is great, like I said and I think it is hard for us in today’s time to think about a world where you have to travel by ship to reach different lands and learn different cultures. The British thought that the Tahitians were savages, and really after watching the movie, you in some way side with their way of life. They are all about happiness and being carefree and loving and making love. The British soon fall in love with their culture and way of life and this upsets the ship’s captain, played by Hopkins. The turmoil that happens within the crew after is what sets up the conflict.

This movie is definitely worth watching, especially if you haven’t seen it before. It is interesting and worth the time to put yourself into a different time and place.

NEXT MOVIE: The Bourne Identity (2002)

Apocalypto

Year: 2006
Directed By: Mel Gibson
Written By: Mel Gibson, Farhad Safinia

RYAN’S REVIEW

I have never seen  The Passion of the Christ, because personally I think it’s a little psychotic to spend two hours watching someone being tortured to death. I find it disturbing that so many people did watch it and I think it’s sad that violence was such a motivating factor for so many people.  I heard all about how inspiring this film was when it came out, but it’s not about Jesus, it’s about his death.  Yeah yeah the sacrifice and all of that, but personally I think that Christians should be inspired by the words of their savior, and not the gruesome and violent way that he died.   Nevertheless, I only bring that movie up because without it this film would have never been possible.  I imagine that a movie made with no known celebrities, in a foreign language with subtitles, would be a hard sell and typically never get made. The success Mel Gibson had with The Passion of the Christ gave him the opportunity to do anything he wanted, and this was the product of that success. It’s a shame that we probably won’t see many more movies from him, what a far fall from grace he has had.

I used to be a really big Mel Gibson fan, he has made many great movies throughout his career.  He really has gone completely crazy over the last several years though and that has been disappointing.  It’s because of how crazy he had become that I almost never saw this movie.  Fortunately my wife did convince me to see this film and it really is remarkable.  For all his flaws, Mel Gibson is a great filmmaker, and this movie proves as much. As someone who almost became a history teacher I really appreciate how seriously this movie was taken, and how it can be used in education.  Native American culture is rich and diverse, there are so many great stories to be told and things we can learn from it.  I taught World History to 9th graders for a while, and I’m disappointed to say that the core curriculum called for little instruction on the Native American civilizations.  I think the chapter in the book was one of the shortest and it lumped North and South American natives all into that small chapter together. The majority of the chapter was only on the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans.

This film is amazing for many reasons, but one of the things I love the most about it is how ballsy it is.  Mel Gibson truly is a gutsy filmmaker, he goes against the grain with this film.  I imagine he did much the same with his crucifixion film but I will never know.  He doesn’t sully it by making it in English, because that would be ridiculous.  He also doesn’t sugar coat anything, it is as violent and graphic as it should be and I really appreciate that about the film.  Too often movies are toned down to get better rating, i.e. better possibility at more ticket sales.  It weakens the value and art of the film when that is done though, this is a movie that maximizes its potential.  Apocalypto is a film I often fail to talk people into, but when I do they are always pleased with it. I hope that if you haven’t seen it you take a chance on it as well, it’s a great movie and more than worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

For the record, I had to force Ryan to watch this movie. He didn’t want to watch it for two reasons, Mel Gibson and the fact that it is completely in subtitles. Both of these are reasons why I didn’t want to originally watch it either. Somehow, I ended up watching it anyway without Ryan and I thought it was superb. This movie is incredibly made and it puts so much depth and detail into every aspect. They say that the best artists are psychotic, so it would seem true with this film as well.

The really interesting thing that I liked about this movie is the ending. I am not going to give it away here, but do you remember how you felt the first time you watched Planet of the Apes? (Not that Tim Burton bullshit, but the original?) Apocalypto has that same aha feeling in the end. I feel like it was a perfect movie. The subtitles become intuitive. You are so engrossed and knowing of what is going on in the movie that you can almost feel the lines happening instead of reading them. It is truly a movie that everyone should see.

NEXT MOVIE: Apt Pupil (1998)