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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 Alexander Chancey

"The greatest (war) film ever made."
5 stars

Webster's Dictionary defines the word "epic" as something that extends "beyond the usual or ordinary, especially in size or scope." Hollywood epics, especially war epics, have lost touch with scope and have been mostly reduced to bloated, overindulgent claptrap. Recent films like Pearl Harbor and Saving Private Ryan, for all the filmmakers may have been trying to accomplish, have given us not much more than efforts that - to paraphrase Shakespeare - are full of sound and fury and signify nothing. When Francis Ford Coppola decided to go back into the editing room to re-cut his masterpiece, Apocalypse Now, he may not have intended to remind the world what a true epic is. But he has. The result, entitled Apocalypse Now Redux, is a richer, more frightening story of grander proportions than the original edit. With the addition of about 50 minutes of new footage, Redux has come that much closer to showing its audience what the Vietnam War was like.

The original version of Apocalypse Now, released in 1979, was Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam adaptation of Joseph Conrad's novel, Heart of Darkness. In the film, Capt. Willard (Martin Sheen) is given a special mission to terminate a rogue colonel who has built an armed fort somewhere in Cambodia. A misfit crew of Navy soldiers is enlisted to escort Willard north to his destination, given no knowledge of where that is exactly. They encounter surreal characters and situations along the way before reaching the fort of Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), the most surreal of them all.

The most remarkable aspect of Apocalypse Now Redux is its reshaping of the story. The original version kept Willard's mission at the forefront; it was the driving force of the film. In Redux, with a running time of almost three hours and twenty minutes, the audience gets more of a sense of "the horror" that Kurtz speaks about at the end. It plays less like Heart of Darkness than The Odyssey; the mission, to Willard and the audience alike, becomes second to the immediate surroundings and what they have in store. The revamped Cyclops is half-crazed, surfing-obsessed Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall in one of the all-time great scene stealing performances), whose idea of a good time is blasting Wagner from loudspeakers during a helicopter attack on a Vietnamese village. A lighter ending has been added to this scene which has Willard stealing one of Kilgore's beloved surfboards. The Sirens come in the form of Playboy bunnies; in one of the newly added scenes, Willard provides diesel fuel for the stranded bunnies in exchange for sex with his crew. And in what encompasses the largest part of the new footage, the crew comes across a hidden plantation owned by a French family, a variation on Homer's Lotus-Eaters. During a dinner scene, Hubert, the patriarch (Christian Marquand), expresses to Willard the French's distaste in the United States' involvement in Vietnam, saying that they "fight for the biggest nothing of all."

Other notable new scenes include one in Kurtz's camp, where he reads a Time magazine article to the imprisoned Willard; 1979 was too soon after the end of the Vietnam War to push the point that the media was lying to the public about it. Another scene in which Mr. Clean (a 14-year old Laurence Fishburne) tells the story of an officer who shot a Vietcong soldier over a Playboy magazine. With the addition of this monologue, Coppola gives us an early glimpse of the versatile actor that Fishburne would become.

Apocalypse Now Redux is a rare example of a director's cut being truly superior to the original. On the Redux official website, Coppola states that his impetus to re-edit his already acknowledged classic was having seen it on TV in the past couple of years and feeling that "the audience had caught up to it." With Walter Murch, Oscar winner for the original's sound, Coppola re-edited the film from scratch, as opposed to the more popular (and time-saving) process of simply sticking the cut footage back into the film. The extra care taken in the editing is evident as all of the new footage blends so seamlessly with everything else that someone unfamiliar with the original would not even notice.

All said and done, Apocalypse Now Redux is the standard by which all other war films should be measured. It becomes an endurance test, due to both the length and the content. In 1979, at a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival (where it would win the Palme D'Or), Coppola said that Apocalypse Now wasn't about Vietnam, it was Vietnam. If the original was Vietnam, then surely Apocalypse Now Redux, a true epic, must be Hell itself.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5491&reviewer=269
originally posted: 01/24/02 11:35:55
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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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