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Overall Rating
4.32

Awesome61.82%
Worth A Look: 20.91%
Average: 10%
Pretty Bad: 1.82%
Total Crap: 5.45%

7 reviews, 68 user ratings


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Apocalypse Now Redux
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by Thom

"If Michaelangelo reworked David and it came out better"
5 stars

The new cut of Coppola's masterpiece, Apocalypse Now, is astounding. It's the same visually arresting, visceral and heart pounding movie it has always been with restored scenes that make this cut a longer, but more powerful film. The restored French Plantation scene gives the film the right counterpoise in its argument that the Viet Nam war was nothing more than administrative insanity played out on the world's stage.

Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, has added to his original score and the sound was re-engineered to take full advantage of advances in technology. Now those bullets rip right through your own body and the helicopters shake you out of your seats.

Here's the IMDB summary:

"Captain Willard (Martin Sheen), whose mission is to "Terminate with extreme prejudice", receives orders to seek out a renegade military outpost led by a mysterious Colonel Kurtz (Brando) during the Vietnam war."

While Willard travels through up a river through Viet Nam, he encounters a different side of the war and his romantic war cowboy perspective is shattered as the meaning of what he is doing unravels until he sees that this war is not a fight about anything, its just madness. Colonel Kurtz wants to believe there is some righteousness or justification for his orders but he finds that there is none. The world stopped making sense and he had no way of integrating that understanding into his life as a husband, a father, an American. So he goes insane. The US can't really manage a war where its most prominent defectors were once its most ardent guardians so Kurtz must be dispatched. Make no mistakes, Kurtz is a dangerous man. He did not simply "snap out of it" and become some kind of a pacifist meditating in an Ashram in India. The war welled up inside of him until he was the war trying to make sense of itself. Willard, on his journey through Viet Nam is also journeying towards understanding how something like Kurtz could happen.

I was only nine when this movie came out and all I remember is the Mad Magazine parody of it. I had never seen the original in full so all I can say now is that this movie is worth my time. I don't think I could really have appreciated this film for what it is until now. I'm sure I would have gotten off on the the gore and the shock value, but the underlying discourse would have been lost on me.

Growing up in the social aftermath of Vietnam makes the era mythic. Everyone's parents had a story. Some people still hadn't come down. The US was still recovering from the war in 1979, the year the film was originally released.

The tight focus and high contrast of light and dark gets the audience excruciatingly close to the action. The characters in the film are like emotional archetypes rather than characters and represent a broad range of responses to Viet Nam from assured acceptance to incredulousness to madness.

The French Plantation scene, while being a civilized and erotic interlude in an otherwise bestial film, is the key scene where the "enlightened" perspective is given to Willard with the intellectual framework necessary for taking it in without Willard losing it. The French have a long history in Viet Nam and they remind Captain Willard that the US Government invented the Viet Cong. The plantation owner and his family are not French. Their home is not France. Their life is in Viet Nam. Because they live outside the normal order of things they can speak to the conflict they have already resolved inside themselves without prejudice or impunity. They see the war for exactly what it is and they help Willard to trust that what he is seeing is real. That his doubts have are not unfounded. That the truth is not on one side or the other, but somewhere "out there".
The plantation owner and his family know they belong in the jungle but the understand the complications involved and they have to contend with it even though they are neither emotionally or psychologically invested in the conflict. Unfortunately, half the scene is in French but what you can't understand you can get from the emotion, body language and blocking.

The restored Playboy bunny scene would probably have given the film an X-rating in 1979. The scene makes you wonder what happens to all that pent up sexual energy. These are mostly 19 year old boys somewhere around 1969 who grew up being ridiculed for masturbating, there aren't any women except for those you can rent or rape and you'd be killed by your own men if you were gay. Bringing a strip show into the middle of that with playmates of the year is just asking for a riot. My favorite line from that scene, in a voice over, "Hey man, get your hand off my dick".

The media are portrayed as disinterested showmen. They are staging the war for television. Dennis Hopper plays a nutso freelance photographer who ends up in Kurtz's camp and falls under the spell of his charismatic, but diseased logic.

The horror of Viet Nam in Apocalypse Now is palpable. The management of the war is portrayed as laughable and the circus the media was having with it made the experience that much more surreal. The bleakness, chaos and insanity of the jungle is a reflection of the bleakness, chaos and insanity of those pulled into the war.

Kurtz is a metaphor for the whole war and Willard has to kill the diseased logic of power without control to restore not only freedom to the people but more important, reason to the people. Apocalypse Now raised the bar for American Cinema. I can see now why Coppola and Lucas and Spielberg are thought of as the fathers of modern American film. Harrison Ford plays Colonel G Lucas just on the tails of his role as Han Solo in Lucas' Star Wars, a piece of cinematic history in itself.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5491&reviewer=67
originally posted: 07/29/01 05:37:59
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell some of the added footage is good but stick with the original cut 3 stars
6/08/10 Flathead King The first hour is brilliant but the ending is disappointing as it lacks clarity. 4 stars
7/04/09 Monday Morning Disappointing. Dated. Platoon and Full Metal Jacket were better (but depressing too). 3 stars
3/25/09 Saint Subversive the added footage should have remained as DVD extras, it kills the film's timing 5 stars
8/30/08 Shaun Wallner The Action was Amazing! 5 stars
6/22/08 yoda Traveling up the river, traveling back through time, to the heart of darkness 5 stars
6/18/07 Bilemobuma Obireke I wonder what the US govt was thinking when they went to war with Vietnam in the movie 4 stars
5/18/07 Nash it's as good a war movie as anything. and kurtz couldn't, and shouldn't, be anything else 5 stars
2/17/07 mb Empty Movie ... nothing but darkness here 1 stars
1/15/07 David Pollastrini best viewed while stoned 4 stars
1/29/06 Reklc Anti war acid trip, very well done! 5 stars
8/06/05 Pierre The definitive version of Coppola's masterpiece! 5 stars
8/05/05 Moctezuma Apocalypse Wow 5 stars
8/04/05 Ducky The deleted scenes destroyed the movies original beauty 2 stars
5/27/05 Jake Gives more depth to an already brilliant masterpiece 5 stars
4/13/05 Indrid Cold Doesn't quite carry the weight that it pretends to, but still very well done. 4 stars
12/07/04 Kurt Cobain The Original Version is Better, This one is too overlong. 4 stars
11/19/04 Michelle Rose fantastic modern approch to the novella Heart of Darkness 5 stars
11/16/04 Mel K. way beyond fun....but a must-see 5 stars
10/20/04 eugene what the fuck is wrong with Kurtz 1 stars
10/19/04 theo stevens undoubtedly the most pompous, self-important movie ever made? 3 stars
10/15/04 alex the best movie ever made! 5 stars
9/08/04 Cameron Cubbison This is the dumbest, most overrated movie of all time. Nothing happens! 1 stars
8/27/04 Aaron Smith Terrible; depressing. Worst movie I've ever seen. 1 stars
6/25/04 Karen Stockdale The most atmospheric war film ever....oh the horror, the horror..... 5 stars
5/06/04 Peter Pisanko Fucken A. The Horror. The Horror. 5 stars
4/19/04 Living Tribunal "Redux" destroys the grim tone & relentless pace of the original 5 stars
3/17/04 Spiderfan729 I read Heart of Darkness and I can safely say this is too long and boring!!! 2 stars
12/07/03 R.W. Welch Should have left well enough alone. Original cut is easily better. 4 stars
11/27/03 John oh my god it IS better 5 stars
10/04/03 Nasty_Gnorc More hours means more greatness 5 stars
7/02/03 Jack Bourbon We see why the original was edited as it was when we see "Redux." 5 stars
4/22/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik Decent recut, but some new scenes are pointless and slightly dull. Original is still better 4 stars
1/26/03 Jack Sommersby Some of the extra scenes enhance, others just diminish. As flawed as its always been. 3 stars
11/28/02 Zack W. Young Brilliant remake of the film I never thought could be improved. 5 stars
10/04/02 The Man Original would be 5 stars, but Redux was unnecessary 3 stars
5/28/02 Phoenix This version offers more insight to a already classic film. 5 stars
5/16/02 Monster W. Kung A little less surreal and different from the original. Still awesome. 5 stars
3/25/02 far-out one of my all-time favorites 5 stars
3/13/02 rue the whirl i would have rather seen these scenes as DVD extras. the original is superior 4 stars
1/19/02 Magnum Craphole Makes 'Full Metal Jacket' look like a walk in the park. 5 stars
1/18/02 daniboy mindblowing 5 stars
12/29/01 The Man Worth seeing only as a novelty, but many new scenes don't work. The original is far better 4 stars
12/10/01 Aiken Drum Smells like....... Coppola 5 stars
12/05/01 john linton roberson Worth seeing, but only after the original. 4 stars
11/27/01 Pierce Lanson Everyone's insane, and Coppola does it brilliantly 5 stars
11/25/01 viking gets better every time you see it. 5 stars
11/16/01 matthew smith a mindblowing experience 5 stars
11/14/01 Zizzerzazzerzuzz I think it's actually better than the original, which was already a classic. 5 stars
10/17/01 Rob Z Redux Reminder of the plateaus of excel attainable thru film - All Bruckheimers take heed! 5 stars
10/06/01 jenn aguilar dead 5 stars
10/01/01 Lee Cone Completely mindblowing, fantastic 5 stars
9/09/01 Creel A great movie gets better 5 stars
9/06/01 Paulie Boy Director's Cut is better than original 5 stars
9/05/01 Dave improved. Opening scene and Wagner scene did not seem as powerful as the first time around 5 stars
9/01/01 jazzbox orders of magnitude better 5 stars
8/28/01 Mistah Kurtz "... He dead." 5 stars
8/28/01 grant welch hippies eat shit this movie is awesome. 5 stars
8/28/01 Stan Appel Restored footage adds nothing. Great film though! 5 stars
8/28/01 Artist Freak How can you not be swept up into this movie? Awesome performances, music, cinematography. 5 stars
8/27/01 spaceworm At last Kilgore gets what he deserves...an ENTRANCE! 4 stars
8/24/01 David Dawes A monumentally brilliant work of art 5 stars
8/16/01 Piz Oh boy, talk about hype, this movie blows! 1 stars
8/14/01 shankster I still don't know if I like the added scenes. Some (i.e. Plantation) are distracting. 5 stars
8/14/01 sdfk Visually exciting, intensely disturbing, wonderful and gripping 5 stars
8/04/01 john klepper Heart of Darkness? Heart of Coppola? 5 stars
7/31/01 Girl 9 Yes I realize this is a classic, but it is still boring as hell! 1 stars
7/31/01 DMF Even better than the original which is my all-time favorite film. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Aug-2001 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  15-Nov-2001




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