In February of 2005, I was in the Guatemalan jungle, on top of what archaeologists have designated Temple IV in the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Tikal, standing next to the chamber where the priest-king used to gobble magic mushrooms. Sound Tribe Sector 9 was playing on the iPod.

You’ve seen the view from Temple IV before: it’s the jungle hideout where the rebels regroup for their attack on the Death Star in Star Wars. Tikal was a city designed specifically to align with the Maya’s advanced astronomical knowledge. Rumor has it Sector 9 arrange their setlists according to the Mayan calendar. At the base of the pyramid, our guide Daniello was waiting with far-out theories about the end of the Long Count on December 21, 2012.

The View from Temple IVThe Paramount Building

Back in New York (a city specifically designed to allow immigrants to make it to work on time), I played around with a bizarre screenplay called Twenty-Twelve for a couple of weeks. Then there was news of Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, and I read Daniel Pinchbeck’s follow-up to Breaking Open the Head, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, a daring work that combines personal history with way-out ideas about the nature of time, the emergent noosphere, crop circles, the theories of Rudolf Steiner and Jose Arguelles, and the end of the Mayan Long Count. I shelved Twenty-Twelve.

Tonight I saw Apocalypto, and I’m absolutely dying to tell you what I thought–but Disney embargoed all reviews until the December 8 release, and you know how it is: when the Mouse asks, you don’t refuse–and you definitely wouldn’t want to get Mr. Gibson angry. The most I dare say is this: Apocalypto has nothing to do whatsoever with anything that interested me about Mayan culture in the first place, and Marcy might be wrong about Babel. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll bite my tongue for a week and leave you with some photos from Tikal and a video of Sector 9 playing Tokyo:

I’d love to know what Daniello has to say about Apocalypto.

Apocalypto. Mel Gibson, 2006. (No rating yet.)

[tags]sound tribe sector 9, film, mel gibson, maya, mayan calendar, time, guatemala, tikal, youtube, flickr, daniel pinchbeck, tikal, apocalypto, 2012, babel, star wars, quetzalcoatl, noosphere, rudolf steiner, jose arguelles, tokyo, crop cirlces, temple of the jaguar, temple IV, daniello, disney, mickey mouse, embargo, paramount building[/tags]