How Accurate Was Apocalypto?

Discussion in 'History' started by Motion, Jul 31, 2017.

  1. Asmodean

    Asmodean Slo motion rider

    Well, the best historical movies are for a large part regarded as such because the makers strived to make it as accurate as possible
  2. autophobe2e

    autophobe2e Senior Member

    The movie does some really incredible things when it comes to accurately depicting the Maya collapse and the Aztec empire just before the arrival of the conquistadors. The only problem is that those two historical periods are many hundreds of years apart.

    Apparently no-one mentioned this to Gibson....

    The whole film chops and changes different bits- the customs of the Aztecs with the art and architecture of the mayans, and even though it seems to depict Mayan stuff more prevalently, it ends with the arrival of the conquistadors in 1521! that's 600 years after the Maya collapse! We are historically closer to the arrival of the conquistadors than the Mayans were.

    It's the equivalent of having a film set during the first gulf war, where all the participants are English and welsh archers from the battle of Agincourt, and then arguing that the film might be a bit unrealistic because they aren't wearing the right sort of belts.

    Really good film though.
  3. autophobe2e

    autophobe2e Senior Member

    I agree with most of the comments in this thread about it not really mattering if a film is entertaining, providing it is enjoyable and "feels" good. but at the same time in many cases, I think studios lack the balls to give us proper historical movies because they are worried about audience reactions.

    Vikings? well, audiences expect to see them wearing random studded leather off-cuts stitched together in daft ways, particularly on their wrists, like a heavy metal album cover. So we give them what they want, even if anyone who knows anything about the period knows how daft that is....

    People expect medieval combat to be conducted by men who immediately break out of formation and fight each other one-on-one, even though this makes more sense...

    People expect to see everyone in medieval times covered in shit the whole time, even though there's never been a time when people thought that was a hot look, so that's what we give them...

    People expect the scottish to wear kilts...

    People expect castles to have random braziers full of mysterious burning substances that burn in the middle of the day....

    The list goes on and on and on. Our view of many aspects of the past is a complete fabrication based on fantasy movies and books, and directors know this. It'd be really cool if they weren't so afraid of what would happen if they don't conform to those expectations and actually gave audiences something that actually was authentic rather than just feeling authentic. Medieval combat is brutal but it's brutal in ways that are totally different from how it has been depicted on screen, a director with balls could provide a spectacle that genuinely has never been seen before if he wasn't worried about audience expectation. I'm sure the same is true of many other periods too.

    Complaining about historical inaccuracies seems pedantic and what have you, but really it's just a way of saying "we're seriously missing out on so much awesome shit!"

    For example; in certain medieval periods if your husband cheated on you, you'd go to a local magistrate who would settle your legal dispute through judicial duel. to the death. To even things up, your husband would have to stand in a hole up to his waist. He would swing at your legs with a club while you try and stove his head in with a rock in a sling.


    But you'll never see that in a Hollywood film, because audiences expect that medieval women were either demure and submissive or were warrior women who did exactly what the men did with no difference at all in combat role. We're seriously missing out.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Irminsul

    Irminsul Valkyrie

    I could take down any male warrior and his horse too. ;)

    It's a historic fact.
  5. Asmodean

    Asmodean Slo motion rider

    With witchraft I reckon?
  6. Ajay0

    Ajay0 Guest

    Films Mel Gibson directed are not exactly renowned for its historical accuracy. His film Braveheart itself was second on a list of "most historically inaccurate movies" in The Times, in 2009.

    I myself watching the film found it odd that Gibson, who acted the part of William Wallace, was suave and clean-shaven as a Scot military leader in stark contrast to all the other Scots with abundant facial hair. Historical pictures of William Wallace also depicted him as bearded.
  7. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    ^ He probably was unconvincing as Wallace, and I didn't really like the movie, but it wasn't quite so dire as his attempt at 'Hamlet' which is about the worst film of a Shakespeare play I've ever seen.
  8. autophobe2e

    autophobe2e Senior Member

    His facial hair was the least of his worries, that movie is totally laughable, as is The Patriot (although that at least has nice costumes)

    One of the more baffling decisions made was the one to include the battle of Stirling bridge but not include....Stirling Bridge.

    The story goes that the director was setting up the battle shots one day and an old Scottish guy was wandering by:

    "What are you filming here?"

    "It's the Battle of Stirling Bridge."

    "You're missing a bridge."

    "Yeah, we tried shooting it that way, but the bridge just got in the way."

    "Aye.....that's what the English found, too"
    1 person likes this.
  9. Ajay0

    Ajay0 Guest

    Well, it seems the Scots, Irish and English are at each other's throats these days !

    Existence is impersonal, but we personalize it with our emotions, likes and dislikes, subjective ideas and creates thereby conflict and chaos. All identities are made up of imagination and it is just a construction of thought.

    Man-made ideas like Irish and English and Scotch are entirely fictitious without any independent nature or substance of its own. But they can create a lot of chaos and destruction. That which is false and mere mental creations is bound to be destructive in the long run due to its inherent superficiality. This may be nature's way of prodding man to find that which is true and substantial.
  10. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    Fortunately not anything like in the days of Wallace. Mainly, the 'British' identity tends to trump the others nowadays. Talk of Scottish independence will come to nothing it seems. The problems in NI with the peace process will probably get ironed out in time. Offa's Dyke - a defensive wall built by Offa, king of Mercia in the 8th century to keep out marauding welsh is now a pleasant country walk. The internal conflicts are mainly between the have's and have nots. More worrying is the rejection of the EU.
  11. neonspectraltoast

    neonspectraltoast Senior Member

    There's a website where you can find your Mayan sign. It is pretty spectacular.
  12. themnax

    themnax Senior Member

    accurate about what? you're kidding right?
  13. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    I'm not an expert by any means, but as far as historical accuracy is concerned, I have some thoughts. First of all, Mel has always put dramatic concerns above historical accuracy, as we saw in his celebrated Braveheart. As a technical consultant for Apocalypto, Professor Hansen of Idaho state said "As a chase movie, "Apocalypto" is top-notch." The sets, makeup and costumes are also "accurate to the nth degree," But it's a feature film -- not a documentary -- which may let down those looking for accuracy at every turn". The "Maya" we're talking about may have been the Ah Itzá of the Northern Lowlands who founded the city-state, Chichen Itza in Yucutan . At least that's where the temple part of the movie was filmed,and the dialogue was in Yucatec, the Itza dialect. Cichen-Itza showed an interesting combination of both Maya and Toltec influences and a mixed population , either as a result of conquest or trade.They had a distinctly different culture than the Classical Maya-- a combination of Maya and Toltec characteristics.The god to which the sacrifices are made was Kukulcan, the Feathered Serpent, who seems to have been the Mayan version of the Toltec/Aztec god Quetalcoatl. Toltec legend tells of a Toltec priest-king named Quetzalcoatl Topiltzin who had to flee the Toltec capital because of involvement in a scandal, and may have conquered or been taken in by the Itza. When the Spaniards arrived, the indigenous people thought they were the second coming of the great fair god. The Toltec were also a major cultural influence on the Aztecs, especially in the worship of Quetzalcoatl. Hansen explains that the movie is intended to be set in the Postclassical period, when Toltec/Aztec practices were being adopted wholesale by some Maya, like the Itza. Human sacrifice was part of the scene at Chichen-Itza. "At Chichen Itza, on the stone walls surrounding the arena where ancient ball games could last for two or three days, carvings depict decapitated warriors with blood spurting from their necks, while other structures are adorned with rows of skulls chiselled into the facades. But the Mayas did not indulge in sacrifices on the industrial scale of the Aztecs." So when the experts talk about how the movie differed from the Classical Mayan pattern, it's beside the point, since the Itza weren't classical Maya. Cichen itza became a major power during the "Terminal Classic" period of Mayan history (800-900), when the rest of the city states were crumbling, and survived into the early part of the Postclassical era.(900-1400), but collapsed long before the Europeans arrived.
    So Mel was taking liberties.

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