Apocalypto is a film of a man who after being captured to be offered to the gods, wants to escape to go back to his family no matter what the costs are.
Mel Gibson, the producer of "Apocalypto", succeeded to produce another film with the quality of "The Passion of the Christ". The film has excellent cinematography, fast acting; there's no boring moment. The screenplay is profound. To re-create the Maya civilization is a big challenge for the producers; they did quite well.
However, the film may have used too much Hollywood conventions and imposed it on the Mayan Civilization; the nemesis were portrayed as truly evil; there's too much feasting on blood and gore.
The message of Apocalypto does not lie on violence, but on the capacity to live with respect to human life. The reality of "family" is the strength of the film. Gibson also gave emphasis to the children. They were not held captives.