Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 37
  2. Negative: 2 out of 37
  1. 100
    For those of us who prefer to judge Gibson solely in terms of his art, the movie is a virtuosic piece of action cinema -- particularly in its second half...And while there has been no shortage of recent films that decry the horrors of war and man's inhumanity to his fellow man, I know of none other quite this sickeningly powerful.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Mel Gibson is always good for a surprise, and his latest is that Apocalypto is a remarkable film. Set in the waning days of the Mayan civilization, the picture provides a trip to a place one's never been before, offering hitherto unseen sights of exceptional vividness and power.
  3. 100
    The production design is superb, and the actors deliver their dialogue in subtitled Yucatecan Maya, but despite all the anthropological drag, this is really just a crackerjack Saturday-afternoon serial.
  4. For all its excesses, it's an absorbing, disturbing, savagely beautiful "trip" movie, and an extraordinary -- perhaps even outrageous -- personal vision of the one A-list filmmaker who truly deserves the adjective "maverick."
  5. Gibson may not be much of a deep thinker, but he's a heck of a storyteller. Apocalypto turns out to be not a case of Montezuma's revenge but of Gibson's: It's something entirely unexpected, a sinewy, taut poem of action.
  6. 88
    Gibson has made a film of blunt provocation and bruising beauty.
  7. 88
    Awe-inspiring and harrowing, vile and beautiful, as wild and mesmerizing as the Mexican jungle in which it is filmed and one of the most relentlessly thrilling films of the year.
  8. The heart of the matter - and the viscera - is the action, and one man's determination to survive. Apocalypto is primal.
  9. 88
    Barbarously beautiful and gut-wrenchingly (literally) violent, it's a mesmerizing vision of the past refracted through the dark obsessions of the present.
  10. 88
    The best thing I can say about Apocalypto is that, despite belonging to an overpopulated genre, it's unlike any other movie to reach theaters this year and, because it is as visual an experience as it is visceral, it is best seen on a large screen.
  11. 83
    The whole film is too reliant on action-movie cuts and zooms, plus James Horner's insistent score, but it's beautifully rendered and convincingly exciting.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 408 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 42 out of 198
  1. May 8, 2011
    The things you see in this movie are heavy, highly detailed, intense, and exist in a realm that most filmmakers can't go-such as using genocide as a plot device in a non-documentary piece. Very real feelings electrify this movie. Full Review »
  2. tor
    Jan 15, 2011
    Sure, Gibson ain't my favorite person, but let's be fair to this movie. It's great. Brutal and violent, but I was engrossed in the story from the beginning. Visually stunning. Twists and turns. Probably would have been an Oscar contender had Gibson not been so disliked. If you can get past the director and like action/adventure, you're likely to love it. Full Review »
  3. EthanP.
    Dec 16, 2006
    The logic in this crapfest was so half-baked that it's a wonder there were no random cuts to 1970s porn. [***Spoilers***]: Anyone who has played hide and seek should wonder why it's possible to hide in one's best friend's back yard for half an hour without being found, but it's impossible for a forest-wise Mayan to find reasonable cover *anywhere in the entire Mayan land,* without, of course, letting a single splash of blood fall just as your nemesis runs under your tree-top hiding place so that it may later be discovered and immediately ascertained by one of your cohorts that the blood must be from you and that you must be hiding in the trees. Because even though those cohorts have just been party to bloody sacrifice, any one of them will easily spot a drop of blood and know for sure that it's from you and your tree-hiding. Run in a straight line for 48 hours(!), and only when we do this scene with the arrows pointing directly at you should you run back and forth in an evasive way. But the arrows will still eventually hit you and all your friends. Because these are skilled Mayan bad guys, until certain scenes in which they've decided not to throw any sharp objects in your direction, which coincidentally occur when you've stopped your running to look back and ponder/taunt your rivals and would be putting yourself in imminent danger had the evil Mayans not decided that it would be a good moment to cease fire and just look at you. And, by the way, they all run at the same pace as you, which happens to be the exact pace at which a jaguar runs. And during a downpour so bad that it fills a good-sized pit faster than a swimming pool, European dingies remain fully afloat. Full Review »