Watched the Mel Gibson film the other day. Beautiful visuals and really felt you were watching in on life unfolding. Was unremarkable and a bit too gruesome for my tastes and was basically just a long long long manhunt. The Mayans like the Aztecs had a civilisation built on superstition and involving huge amounts of human sacrifice and were constantly at war. The movie was full of wanton cruelty and I lost count of the number of people who were slaughtered….that is the thing that upsets me about humans. I can be selfish but I would never intentionally hurt someone (emotionally or physically) let alone kill them unless it was in self defence or defending family, friends or a loved one.
The rise and fall of civilisations fascinates me and a historian I forget made the astute comment that civilisations destroy themselves from within before they can be destroyed from without. This was a backdrop to the film and naturally they blamed the Gods and sought to appease him with human sacrifice.
But plenty of themes…..
Human greed…..a rather charming creation myth was told along the lines of man was made with a hole in him, a hole he fills by wanting and taking and he will continue to take until the world has no more to give.
Family…........divorce wasn’t really an issue in the film, although lots of husbands were killed off so plenty of single parent families. But a theme was certainly devotion to family and how desire to protect and look after your family can give you superhuman strength.
Superstition…..superstition is a really really dangerous thing but a sort of safety net people use to deal with the frightening fact we know so little about the world and there is so much random chance. It is also an instrument of control in the same way that religion can be used for this purpose.
Disappointingly the historical accuracy was terrible. I think Mel got the Aztecs and the Mayans mixed up. The Mayan civilisation ended a good five hundred years before the Spanish arrived. They also were not anywhere near as bloodthirsty as the Aztecs.