Fear is a disease-

Jan 15, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Gorgeous scenery, natural acting, admirable characters, great story, edge-of-your-seat anticipation.

Cons:Gory, gory, gory- very high body count, and a couple loose ends.

The Bottom Line: Definately subtitled, but it doesn't slow anything down. It's an inspiring action-type story that gets you really involved- and kills off a lot of characters.

And yet there is so much to be fearful of. This was a phenomenal movie, with a gripping, powerful story, natural acting, and a tremendous attention to detail. It was also the goriest movie I've seen for a while, with a massive bodycount.

The main character in the movie is Jaguar Paw, living in a small village with his wife and son (Turtle Run) and with a second child on the way. His father is definately a respected individual in the village, and is a singularly courageous figure.

There's a lot of teasing and relatively good humored practical jokes- actually, the movie begins with the guys picking on one young man who has been unable to impregnate his wife, but instead of it seeming cruel, it just demonstrates how much laughter there is in this group of people.

While they're out hunting- with what seems like an awfully high tech impaling contraption- they encounter a group of people whose village was ravaged- they are going deeper into the forest to begin again. The father is right- they reek of fear.

But there is much to be fearful of. Slave traders for the Mayans come one morning, brutal and efficient. They have one particularly hateful character, but for the most part you get the feeling that this is just a way of life for them- that they feel those invaded should have been better prepared, or maybe stronger somehow. Oh, and they have a leader-father and his son dynamic too, so that makes for a weird sort of parallel.

At any rate, Jaguar Paw hides his pregnant wife and their young son, so they're safe from the slavers but also trapped where he's hidden them, so when he gets taken as well, he's got to find a way back.

From the forced-march to a Mayan city (and just what goes on to support a city, what occurs on the outskirts) to the sacrificial ceremonies they're performing, you just ache for the characters. And then, when he actually does manage to get away he's wounded and being pursued ruthlessly, but- don't read this if you don't want to know- it ends on a hopeful note. They go deeper into the forest, to find a new begining.

There's the mandatory jump off the waterfall, followed by what may be the best scene in the movie- Jaguar Paw swims to the shores, staggers upright, and yells up at his pursuers that his father hunted that forest, that he's hunted it since he was a boy, and that his sons and grandsons will hunt it after him, daring them to come and get him. Actually, the message of the movie is kindof there- him becoming truly fearless, confident in himself and in his environment, and in his ability to be the man his father was.

Historically- goodness knows how accurate it is. The people living quietly, at one with nature- surely that was, at one point. And the Mayans definately had some insane, bloodthirsty ceremonies, and I very much doubt they were sacrificing their own best and brightest. It was kind of cool to see all those bas-relief carvings come to life, clothing and body paint and crazy hairstyles and all.

So far as kids go- I mean, if they can watch something like Saw, then by all means, but still. The sexual humor isn't bad, but there's a lot of blood, and even if they don't show the whole Mayan cut-out-the-still-beating-heart thing, you have a pretty good idea what's going on. And then there's using people as target practice, and body pits, just general unpleasentness.

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