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Generally favorable reviews- based on 411 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 70 out of 411

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Sep 20, 2010
    This movie is about the fall of the aztec empire and Gibson has done an excellent job portraying the horrifying brutality of this race. Watched again in HD after reading the book Aztec by Gary Jennings and Gibson's movie brought the book to life. Previous comments were correct that the Mayans had disappeared long before the time in the movie with the arrival of Cortez the killer. He does use the mayan god Kukulcan instead of aztec Huitzilopochtli - not sure why he didn't get his facts right but still great historical fiction. Expand
  4. Jan 31, 2011
    Fantastic film. I can't really say it was an "accurate portrayal" of the Mayan culture but it sure felt like it. It was intense and visually outstanding, when you see the sacrifice scene and the crowd of people is shown it is amazing how many there are, and if you see pictures of the actors after watching the movie it's incredible how they transformed them completely with the piercings that looked so real and clothing that seemed so authentic. I liked how the movie wasn't in English because it would have ruined the movie like other times I've seen things like world war II movies where the Germans all have American accents. Overall this film just feels like what i would have imagined Mayan culture to be like and the one small complaint that i had was in character development. Besides the main character you didn't really learn much about anyone. Still this movie is not to be missed, unless you have a weak stomach because there is some pretty visual stuff, but again that really just helps capture the feel of the setting. Expand
  5. Nov 17, 2010
    This is a very good movie. The costumes, the jungle depiction of the natural world. It presents a non-European world view. The action is fantastic. It is brutal, but not gratuitous. It works on many levels. Pre-European native american worldviews are sorely needed in the film world. The actors all play great roles. It may not be historically perfect, but really enjoyable. The prophecies are pertinent to our modern world. Expand
  6. Sep 25, 2014
    Apocalypto is a beautiful and horrifying movie about a tribe of native Americans which gets raided by the Mayas to be enslaved, painted blue, ritually sacrificed, eaten and who knows what else. It is a virtual descent into hell and back again for the viewer, though nowhere near as persistently hellish as Passion of Christ, as the movie follows the main character while he tries to escape the clutches of the deranged Mayan soldiery. All of it is done using Mayan language, which adds quite a lot of believability to the entire thing. Historically though, the proceedings are a sort of mix between Mayan and Aztec culture, and deliberately so, for reasons I`ll get to.
    As always I feel myself compelled to use Metacritic to point out allegories in movies, because nobody else is apparently able to notice them. And particularly the "this isn`t historically accurate" people, who have missed every single point about both Passion of Christ and Apocalypto. The reason Gibson used a composite for the imperial culture in Apocalypto is precisely to make it obvious that the movie is not intended to be a docudrama but an allegory of the conflict between power and empire on one side and freedom and natural humanity on the other. It is expected that the viewer notices these simple things to be able to also notice that the entire religious ceremony through which the Mayan elite exercises its power is a farce, a pantomime and a gigantic fraud, and that they all know it up on top of the pyramid, while the subjects down below do not. The whole thing is nothing more than a staged performance of state organized brutality, intended to frighten the peasants.
    This is the main statement Gibson makes in Apocalypto: that power is a fraud, maintained only through terrorizing the people. But because he is not really talking about Mayas, but about our present western power elite, he distorts it by mixing Aztec and Mayan culture. And this is what should tell us that the movie is a political, philosophical allegory about imperialism and oligarchy, which is not intended to be viewed as a period piece or anything of the sort. Otherwise he would not have blended the cultures see? Like Passion of Christ, Apocalypto tries to deal with the hypocrisy and mass murder at the heart of western civilization, with illegitimate power elites suppressing humanity, justice, freedom and truth, by using lies and violence in order to perpetuate their power. It presents a view on the evils of government as organized violence against the inherent good of man in his natural state. Once you truly understand this you`ll figure out that neither of these two movies are strictly about the subject matters, but are far more profound than that. So that`s why these "historical inaccuracies that might confuse people" are in the movie, and not because "Gibson doesn`t know how to read a history book".

    Apocalypto is an allegory of contemporary oligarchical nonsense like the "War on Terror", the "War on Drugs", and an endless barrage of equally contrived and fake things. In fact, it is an allegory of any rule by lies, fraud, violence, intimidation and public spectacle and above all it is an allegory of good and evil. But if Mel Gibson had made this movie without allegories, he would probably have been shot by the CIA or been sent off to an insane asylum like Hemingway and Pound were. So much for free speech in the United States, and allegories it is then! Too bad most of the public are deaf dumb and blind to those. Oh well, what can you do, apart from whine about it on Metacritic?

    I`m done with my rant now. Go watch Apocalypto at once if you haven`t already. Mass stupidity must be resisted!
  7. Aug 13, 2012
    The film builds it's characters themes and setting until it finally breaks out into a gut wrenching thrill ride. Although many are saying this is just an action film and has nothing to say there is a surprising amount of depth in the themes.
  8. Aug 17, 2012
    This movie is probably one of the best movies in the decade, and probably the one of the most underrated ones. Surely deserved an Oscar for Direction. Mel Gibson should be looking forward to direct more movies with some good scripts. As far as this movie is concerned, you don't see a single moment which bores you as it is intense, deep and thoughtful. Language is no barrier and acting is superb considering relatively unknown cast. For me, this movie is always going to remain on top 10 all time favourite list. Expand
  9. Apr 28, 2013
    Great movie. Original, fast-paced and fiercely violent. When I first saw it at the cinema, it was a random choice as everything else looked toss. I left the cinema drained (in a good way) and I couldn't stop thinking about it for days afterwards. I now lend my dvd copy to everyone I can, and almost all agree.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 37
  2. Negative: 2 out of 37
  1. 88
    Gibson has made a film of blunt provocation and bruising beauty.
  2. The guy knows how to make a heart-pounding movie; he just happens to be a cinematic sadist.
  3. 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.