Apocalypse Island

Natural rock outcroppings on Robinson Crusoe Island are not Mayan "monuments."

Wild Goose Chase or Out Right Hoax?

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longer on the internet.  



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wild Goose Chase or Out Right Hoax?

I suppose the fact that I wasn't laughing speaks volumes for how well made this movie is.
Apocalypse Island is a documentary about Jim Turner and the discovery of a Mayan monument on an Island in the South Pacific he believes is a key ingredient behind the 2012 phenomenon.
Or at least he claims so.

It didn't wasn't long into this movie that I found my self rolling eyes.
Apocalypse Island introduces its subject as it shows Jim Turnerspeaking of how he was exploring this small isle and that one morning he happened to look in the right direction and see...IT!
Just at that moment, the movie shows us Turner's POV from the inside of his tent, with the flap opening up to reveal...IT!

What is...IT?
To me, it looked like an odd and random rock formation common to the wild lands close to sea.
To Turner, it was a giant statue of a Mayan King.

From this point on, I just started doubting everything in Apocalypse Island, which is a shame because it's a well made movie.
I've seen my share of hair-brained documentaries that are laughably bad, but Apocalypse Island is made with a fine touch for style and foreboding about what may be the end of the world.
The talking heads are photographed head on and the interviewees speak with an intensity that grabs you.
We get minimal re-enactments of the Mayan Kings gazing up at their gods the stars. These scenes have a slight polarized look to them that doesn't go far enough to be corny, but works in making it seem hyper-real.
Finally, the documentary is essentially an adventure story as it records Turner's trek back to that Island to document the monument for real.

But I'm going out on a limb in saying I just didn't buy into all of this.
We have plenty of reasons to be skeptical about the 2012 theory, but that's not what I'm talking about.
I'm speaking more specifically about this so-called monument which didn't look like anything special to me. 

There are no features on this monument that comes close to a carving.
In fact, the "monument" is made up of clumped up and easily crumbling rock.
If it was really carved thousands of years ago, such a material would have fallen apart by now.
I doubt such a material can even be carved into; the surface of this thing has the consistency of crab grass.

The structure of Apocalypse Island also hints to its unconvincing subject matter.
The majority of the movie tells you what every other History Channel documentary tells you: the Mayan belief that some sort of cycle will end on December 12, 2012. This belief is derived from their extensive and nearly accurate calenders which relied entirely on the stars. The stellar behavior that interested the Mayans happens to coincide with what could be destructive actions from a black hole in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Other scenes simply show Jim Turner and his expert adventurer/guideJeff Salz preparing and marching out on their journey.

How scholarly is this process for you?
Apocalypse Island shows no scientific process taken at all to verify that Turner's claim is the real deal.
Instead, we see him meeting Jeff Salz and telling him everything the talking heads already told us.
We see them gathering their gear and talking about the physical challenges that are in store for them.
They get on a boat; much attention is given to Salz's sea sickness.
They get on the island and start hiking all over the place, but not before they have a long chat.
All of this is happening during the most stormy months of the year for the South Pacific, they have a narrow window of opportunity to find and document the "monument".

With so much time dedicated to this irrelevant stuff, I doubted they would even find the "monument" and it'll remain a lost mystery like the Ararat Anomaly.
Either way, Apocalypse Island is clearly much more of an adventure movie than a scientific record. The fact that it spends so much time on this material already tells you that they will have little to show if they find the thing.

They do find the thing and despite Turner's excitement, it doesn't look like anything man-made.
What is their archaeological process for documenting the "monument"?
Climbing it!

They climb the rock.
They claim it's dangerous and that they might fall, even though half of the climbing footage is taken from above them...meaning that the camera man has already safely made it up to the top of the summit.
Once they both make it up the tough climb they look around and enjoy the view.

It turns out that the view is what this entire movie comes down to.
Turner believes that the Mayans built the "monument" for one of their kings who will be resurrected in 2012 to sit on top of and witness the eclipses, transit of Venus, and the Sun passing into the dark rift of the Milky Way which may be the time when a gravity wave from a Black Hole will wipe out life on Earth.

They climb down, pack up and leave.

I'm convinced!

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