Excellent article from Nikke Finke about the heroic Friday box office results for APOCALYPTO. The film is bloody (exceedingly so, but so was the actual Mayan culture that is re-enacted in this film, as was most if not all of early South and Central American civilizations and some of it still is), but it is an epic of a film. Literally, an epic work in cinematography by Dean Semler and film direction, particularly since Mel Gibson as Director brings to the screen such wonderful, unique performances from ordinary people of the real kind.
And, a great read is this excellent review article from yesterday by Kurt Loder, ““Apocalypto: Action Central”.
As I wrote, it is epic, and an epic accomplishment, a benchmark accomplishment of digital cinematography. This is one film that begs for a secondary film about it’s production experience — I’d really enjoy viewing a film of Gibson and Semler creating and filming this (very large image popup).
Although — back to the good news of today and press from yesterday — Finke appeasingly relents to trendy insistence and mentions the “drunken anti-Semitic” phrase twice in one short spate — at this point, perhaps it’s obligatory:
…Today’s (12/08/06 box office) result is exactly what Disney — which had been under pressure to dump Mel’s self-financed Mayan epic after his drunken anti-Semitic stumble — was hoping for: that Gibson had become a brand name and that his The Passion of the Christ and Braveheart audiences would reward him with their moviegoing loyalty (and not hold his drunken anti-Semitic ranting against him). Interestingly, a Friday night AOL poll found just that: 76% of the 85,000+ respondents saying the scandal would not affect their decision to see Apocalypto. As it is, the studio’s unusual marketing strategy for the movie — placing Mel front and center in a series of TV ads — was meant to appeal directly to this Gibson base. Also, because of the scandal surrounding Mel’s arrest, his Apocalypto had almost instantaneous public awareness. As for its Oscar chances, there’s little doubt that Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members, known for holding grudges, will be judging Mel the man, and not Mel’s movie. But the surprisingly good reviews, combined with the decent box office, could possibly, just possibly, cause the Oscar voters to take a look at Apocalypto on its own merits.
Production stills from the Official APOCALYPTO website.