Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto is one of the most influential and powerful motion pictures of this century, portraying the ancient Mayan culture as a merciless and sadistic civilization. Jaguar Paw, the protagonist, lives in a peaceful and remote tribe in the forest. A neighboring Mayan empire is at the absolute pinnacle of power, decides they must make more human sacrifices to prevent the destruction of their kingdom. Jaguar Paws’ tribe is violently raided, thanks to their decision, and after successfully hiding his wife and child, is captured with the intent that he is to become a human sacrifice. He goes on a journey ruled by oppression, and fear of his ultimate end. Through a twist of fate, he gains power through the love of his family and this ultimately saves his life.
The film, Apocalypto expertly portrays the horrors of a tyrannical government and human sacrifice, as hidden social messages. Apocalypto is a reminder that the most dangerous force in our society is the government. For instance, the priests that manipulated the Mayan tribe's thousands of years ago is the same type of tyranny that we experience from our rulers today. Another social message subtly hidden in the film is human sacrifice. The Mayan priests know that they are at the peak of their power. They believe they must sacrifice neighboring tribes to keep from environmental collapse and the mass death of their civilization. In the motion picture, the humans that are the most powerful, are