Cover Art and Menus: 6/10
The cover doesn’t capture the essence of the film. It’s nice, it makes a good poster, but once I saw the movie I looked at it again and it just didn’t fit. The colors and life of the story are no where to be found when you pick up the DVD box, which is a shame. The menu is nice, it does have some personality and a certain tribal quality, so they did something right.

Features: 6/10

  • Seamless Menus – This isn’t a feature, but oh well. It’s nice to see DVD authors making an effort with the Blu-Ray menus rather than just make them functional. This time around we get a groovy tribal tattooed type design.
  • Feature Commentary By Mel Gibson & Farhad Safrina – Mel seems to love making films and that comes through in the commentary. It’s nice to hear from the writer as well, but after a while it’s kind of a love fest about how great each other is and the wonderful crew, etc. It’s got a lot of good info on the story and the making of, but it feels a bit Hollywood, if you know what I mean.
  • Deleted Scene With Commentary – Hmmm, I think it’s safe to say this deleted scene isn’t worth putting on the DVD. It was basically a token scene stuck back in to make the special effects people and animal trainer happy that their work wasn’t lost forever.
  • Movie Showcase Allows Access To The Movies 3 Most Spectacular HD Scenes – We’ve already seen the scenes, so this one is a mystery to me, but hey, if you like to show off your Hi-Def scenes to random people, here’s a good place to start.

Movie: 9/10
I always love to see a film about something I have never seen on screen before. Apocalypto is certainly in the category. I have never known anything about the Mayan culture, even when I was supposed to pay attention in class oh-so-long ago. I’m not saying this is an historical documentary or anything, far from it I’m sure, but it’s a topic that can handle some dramatic interpretation.
First the story is completely hypnotizing. A tribe in the jungle faced with destruction and being terrorized by changes and demands in a culture they are not even a part of. We meet the tribal folks as they go about their daily lives. It’s an old movie trick, or literary trick I’m sure, to introduce the lead characters, make them endearing, personable and all that good stuff, so that when the conflict comes around we are invested enough to care about the outcome.

I’m not always taken far enough by this little device. I often don’t give a hoot what happens to the lead characters, death, divorce, disappear…but I really did get hooked on the leading man and his mates and their struggle to survive a horrible intrusion of their lives.

Like I said, I don’t know much about the Mayan culture, just that it all but ended due to self destruction and invasion of foreign explorers who came, conquered, and converted. I was expecting to see that part of the historic downfall of their society, but instead it went a whole other way.

If you have seen World Trade Center, with Nick Cage, you will get what I’m saying here. Sometimes a story is best told if it’s from a peripheral point of view. We all know the big event of 9/11, but WTC told a close up story of two men who survived as the event happened outside away from their own traumatic ordeal. Apocalypto is similar in that we follow a small group of people, and eventually one person through their experiences surrounding the fall of the Mayan empire. That being said, don’t worry about lack of action adventure, this movie’s full of it. There are subtitles, but there’s more visual dialogue than verbal so you don’t have to worry about reading your way through the story.

I won’t forgot to mention the acting, directing, and style of the film are all top notch. I love the movie, it’s just a shame that the DVD as a whole isn’t great. However, the film is amazing and worth while in so many ways. It’s an experience, colorful, different from the standard Summer DVD Hollywood offerings. Oh, and I almost forgot, you will see the most unusual “woman giving birth” scene ever!!!!

Video & Audio: (By Ascully) 9/10
Apocalypto is one of those rare movies that takes advantage of Blu-Ray disc. Disney is on a roll recently with the superb Pirate of the Caribbean transfers and now Apocalypto, which easily stands up as the one of the best examples of HD content yet. Audio is also handled in a deep enriching way, using the original Mayan language track and some of the best music and sound effects I have heard in years. Since most of Apocalypto takes place in the jungle, the enhanced sound and image really help pull you into the story and the whole atmosphere of the piece. This is a showcase disc no doubt about it and despite what my wife says in the following paragraph it’s well worth the $30.

Value: 5/10
30 bucks is too much. It’s a cool movie and yea it’s Blu-Ray, but I really don’t care about that to be honest. I didn’t ask for the world to go HD, so why should I have to pay extra? 🙂 I do HIGHLY recommend the HD format over the standard DVD for this movie though, if you just want to rent and not buy. It looks amazing and sounds incredible for sure. Still not worth 30 bucks..not because it’s not a kick ass movie. It’s not a great DVD package as a whole so I’d pay $12, on a good day.

Overall Score 8/10