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Thoughts On Mel's Bloody Good Film

12/8/2006 7:38 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Film still from ApocalyptoI just got out of a screening of "Apocalypto."

Here is a movie that gives fresh meaning to the infamous New York Post headline, "Headless Body in Topless Bar." More heads roll than in an al-Qaeda snuff film; I lost count at three or so human hearts torn out and shown to their victims before they died.

So, the first question you probably have is, "Is it any good?"

Unfortunately, it is. Very good.

I would prefer that it wasn't. Would that all anti-Semitic lunatics have their come-uppance, fail miserably -- publicly -- then limp off into Howard Hughes like isolation, micturating in milk bottles and muttering, "The Way of the Future," over and over. Thinking people see Mel's stage-crafted "apologies" for what they are: Damage control. Because at his core, he is still an anti-Semite. But enough about Mel the Bigot. Let's talk about Mel the director.

I am a big believer in letting art speak for itself. Ironically, had Gibson not gotten plastered at Moonshadows and met up with Malibu's finest, there would be a strong, but ironic, possibility that I would now be defending him as "a new Mel" -- one who clearly had rejected any of the hateful depictions of Jews in "The Passion of the Christ" in favor of a new world view. A 'new beginning,' if you will.

Ironically, having seen "Apocalypto" (from the Greek for "new era or beginning") the parallels between the Mayan conquerors' lust for human sacrifice and the Third Reich's own extermination of millions of Jews are downright eerie: The Yucatan marauders' crops are dying, and so the people look to a high priest who will, to quote the film, make them "a people of destiny," one who can replace godly malediction with benediction.

Watching "Apocalypto," you almost expect the high priest who's sacrificing Mayans on the pyramid to start goose-stepping.

Apres Moonshadows (and, boy, after seeing "Apocalypto," will you ever understand what a prophetic name that bar has), it seems almost naive to think a director capable of producing a film with such clarity about humankind's propensity for cruelty and genocide, but to be so blind to it in his own life.

Then again, maybe everyone can make a new beginning. Or at least try.

COMMENTS

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1.

karen    

Okay, but this last one seals it-- what is up with TMZ? All of the stories suck lately, and frankly, are a bit high-falootin if you ask me. "Don Cheadle as Miles Davis"-- so? "Yahoo! Hates Peanut Butter; Braun's Jelly in a Jam", "Spike Lee & John Ridley Do the Riot Thing", "Beaten Chimps Retire - Non-Sequiturs Don't"... OMG, who cares?????? Is it the new guy at the top of the page with the gay hyphenated name who is bringing such a ridiculous level of "class" to TMZ? Doesn't that defeat the purpose? As much as I hate them, give me Paris, Britney and the rest of the anorexia sisters over this crap.Yawn.................

2845 days ago
2.

jerry    

ok so someone gets drunks says a few stupid things and then sobers up, I don;t think that this has ever happened to anyone on the planet earth before.
Drunk, stupid words, apology....rings a bell eh? Don't through stones.....least ye...well you know!!!

2845 days ago
3.

Janet    

As a Catholic who had nasty religious comments made to me by sober Jewish people as well as Jahovah Witnesses I have only one thing to say to Mel, "tell them all to go to Hell" because you are awsome and don't let anyone make you believe anything different. I will always be on your side, Mel!

2845 days ago
4.

Dan    

This whole thing is a bunch of crap. If Mel was an anti-semetic scientologist, everyone would have let it go. They use Mel to destroy anybody with faith in something other than the existential or science. Mel may, or may not be an anti-semite. I don't know, because I don't know Mel. The one thing that is absolutely and apparently clear, is that a good portion of the people reviewing this film have an agenda against Mel. They are saying things as if they were facts. It is not a fact that because Mel has made anti-semetic remarks that he is an anti-semite. That is not a fact anyone can know. Furthermore, I would argue that most people who are able to direct a movie well, and get along with their crew cannot be deemed "lunatics". He's been in some terrific movies, and apparently directed two of his own. Aside from that, he was a marketing genius putting up his own money to fund a film hollywood didn't want to make, and he reaped the financial rewards. He sounds more like a business man than a loon to me.
Oh, and one more thing. Anybody in their right mind would not see anything anti-semetic in "The Passion of the Christ". It is no more anti-semetic than A&E's special on Pontious Pilot. Unless you are searching for the very smallest morsel of anything even remotely anti-anything, there's nothing to be found. Not one single blatantly anti-semetic image or word can be derived from that entire movie.

Facts are facts. The Passion was a succesful movie. And the sales prove it.

So leave Mel alone, and go deal with Kramer. There are probably a lot more angry black people than there are angry jews.

2845 days ago
5.

April    

For pity's sake, man, you say you will give credit for a good film and then you smear it all up by overlaying it with your opinions about Mel's character. Get over it. Everyone has something they've done at some point that they're ashamed as Hell over, if you haven't, then tomorrow you will. He was just unlucky to have done it to a cop that put it in a report. Hanging something for retoric he's probably heard as a baby from his Dad doesn't mean he can't do good work. If the film was good, GREAT, then say that and keep your jolly opinions to yourself.

2845 days ago
6.

Julie    

I agree with #4. If you're going to review the movie, just review the damn movie. The last time I checked, movie reviews didn't include a running essay on the directors character. You never heard anyone say "You know Titanic was a fantastic movie, but James Cameron is a huge prick!" Why? Because one has nothing to do with the other!" Get over yourself, Mel Gibson is obviously very talented an you Claude, are extremely bitter.

2845 days ago
7.

Debbie    

We saw the film last evening. It was, quite simply, marvelous. I consider it genious that he engages the audience with humor, and eases us into a sense of family, letting us in on the jokes. This was quite effective, leading up to the rest of the movie. I will see it again, and pay closer attention to the "prophecies".
Wow, it was quite a ride!

2844 days ago
8.

Rhyno101st/lrsd    

its about time someone made a film about this powerful and mysterious civilization. i could care less wat MEL says when drunk. in vino veritas......he spoke wat he believes true. i hope it shows how the europeans, governments and the CATHOLIC CHURCH exploited these people and eventually wiped them out with thier diseases. MEL, GOD BLESS. i hope he shows the abuses of the CHURCH in this film. if not, mel, YOU BETTER DO A PART 2.

2844 days ago
9.

Jack    

Seriously, please stop bashing Mel and the Catholic Church.

It is really getting old.

2844 days ago
10.

Bubbles    

The man who wrote this article acts as if Mel's depictions of Mayan history and culture are accurate. They are INACCURATE. Mel, himself, says that he took "creative license."

The Mayans were an advanced civilization, making strides in math and science. Where was that? Would Hollywood make a movie about ancent Greece and Rome and not mention their achievements? NOT LIKELY!

No way would Hollywood ever show the Mayans, Aztecs or Incas as the advanced civilizations that they were. It doesn't fit into their false, self serving stereotypical way of thinking. They would rather have everybody believe that they were bloodthirsty savages running around with bones in their noses.

IHollywood is full of idiots.

2844 days ago
11.

Sues    

To you Claude Brodesser-Akner -

Well I completely agree with all those who said shut up and crtique the film and leave the man's personal issues out of your opinion of the film. I'm not too sure but you sound to me like another naysayer out there who's just a little green in the eyes - MAYBE? Mel's genius shines through and you can't take it knowing that he got drunk one night, sped down the road and when apprehended by police he spewed a couple of remarks about a religious group that has been the target of human hatred for millenia. Oh, yes and he's a Catholic. Now if you ask me (and I'm sure you don't give a rat's whisker) I'd say green eyed monster's gotcha. Hmmm?

Those of you who remember the 'Robs' (as I like to refer to them) - that would be Schneider and Reiner, you will remember that they both said they would never work with Gibson again. Funny! I don't remember either one ever working for Gibson before. I think if you combined both their talents together you couldn't come up with a tenth of Mel Gibsons's.

So, get over it big guy - Gibson (the Catholic) is talented, can shoot through a camera, act, be a father, husband, son, brother, - say real stupid stuff and apologize and you still want him drawn a quartered. It doesn't matter what the man does or will do - you have him compartmentalized and because you get to write a column - that's when your G*D complex kicks in. Well stuffy - say your worst - I say Mel's best is yet to come. So keep your poison pen loaded - you're going to need it again in the future - and most likely more than once. And I'll be sure keep mine ever ready for your opinions as well.

2843 days ago
12.

Brian    

Yes, Mel's an Anti-Semite, and no non-Jews in the real world give a rip.

I never really believed the old mantra 'the Jews control the media' until this whole Gibson mess popped up. It's everywhere on the idiot box and the internet and apparently he can't get an unbiased film review.

You know what? Even with all this anti-Mel propanganda, nobody at work or the pub talks about it and his movie opens at #1.

Nobody cares guys. You're only giving new life to some old stereotypes by harping about it.

2843 days ago
13.

cindy    

People are entitled to their opinions drunk or sober. I'm so tired and bored with this "don't offend anyone" society. Growing up I was taught it's a big & sometimes bad world out there so toughen up! The only reason this is such a big deal is because he's Christian and in today's screwed up mentality it is politically incorrect and popular at the moment to dislike people of faith. I have not yet seen the movie but most definitely will because it is one I am interested in; I couldn’t care if a monkey directed it.

2842 days ago
14.

Andy    

You go Mel. Those who constantly criticise him, talk about your bigots. His movie "Passion of the Christ" is not anti-semite, it's just a depiction from the Bible. Be true to yourselves those who criticise Mel. You are against the Bible, which "The Passion " is based upon. You are agianst Christianity. Be true to yourselves, and stop masking your beliefs.

2842 days ago
15.

Stephen E. Lawrence    

How can you spend time tearing Mel up and down without understanding that you sir, are the problem. Mel is Mel and getting a bit out of it and calling jews names being out of his sober mind leaves me to understand that you are "crying a river now", that his movie is NUMBER # ONE. If Mel was a jew and said, "Gentile rants" who would bother to say anything about what mel said. NO WAY DOG!
We are in a country that allows you freedom and freedom is what you get!
Get a life! Mel is Mel...get it..............He is a GENIUS, an actor, Director, movie maker and Dam good at all of these things.......and you Sir, are not good at this!

2842 days ago

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