81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalypse Now 3 disc Bluray review
Normally I start with a review of the movie itself, but Apocalypse Now has been reviewed a million times and I imagine the majority of people reading this already know if they like it or not. For me, it is my favourite war movie that just got better with the Redux version, and this is the icing on the cake.
Anyway, onto what most people will be interested in,...
Published on 12 Jun 2011 by DeeJay
53 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Redux or Original?
The question is "do you buy Redux or the original"?. The additions to Redux detract from the storyline. It loses some of the urgency of the journey upriver to find Kurtz. The crew of the boat stealing Kilgore's surfboard is childish. The scene with the Playboy bunnies after their helicoper breaks down feels like it was filmed and added later. Also I don't think Capt...
Published on 18 May 2006 by S. Mitchem
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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalypse Now 3 disc Bluray review,
This review is from: Apocalypse Now (3-disc Special Edition including Hearts of Darkness) [Blu-ray]  (Blu-ray)Normally I start with a review of the movie itself, but Apocalypse Now has been reviewed a million times and I imagine the majority of people reading this already know if they like it or not. For me, it is my favourite war movie that just got better with the Redux version, and this is the icing on the cake.
Anyway, onto what most people will be interested in, the Bluray stuff.
The original and the Redux versions are both included on disc 1, and both look very good, not perfect, but probably as good as they can get. Colours are vibrant and blacks are solid - which is exactly what you want when you think of the infamous/famous Brando scene. At times the image is a bit soft, but that is a trait many films made in the 70's share and in no way does it reflect a lazy or poor transfer. There is some minor print damage here and there which you'll see as black and white flecks. It's a minor trifle to be honest though, the detail in the film is very good, with just the right amount of grain. The Master Audio track also deserves a mention as it is superb, a standout bluray soundtrack if ever I heard it.
Spread over the other 2 discs we have everything we could ask for really. The Heart of darkness documentary, new video interviews with Coppola and Sheen, original screen tests, additional deleted scenes, 200 storyboard drawings, a look at Apocalypse Nows then revolutionary 5.1 soundtrack, and loads more.
The boxset includes 5 exclusive artcards, a collectible booklet and a copy of the original 1979 theatrical program, very cool. The discs have their own fold out cardboard case, and it's all held together in a hard cardboard box (like the Alien anthology), so it feels feels well made, and looks great.
Without a doubt, this is the best version of Apocalypse Now available. Both versions of the film, the best extras with the best picture and sound quality. If you have any interest in this film then make your purhcase as soon as you can.
63 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BUY IT, buy it buy it buy it,
By A Customer
This review is from: Apocalypse Now Redux [VHS]  (VHS Tape)This is an utterly brilliant, utterly unforgettable film, by some distance my preferred movie of all time and likely to remain so. No other film ive seen has the capacity to probe so deep into the human conscious with its stark imagery, climactic storyline and maddening atmosphere. Duvalls performance is possibly the best ive seen in a supporting role from any actor, perfectly grasping the arrogance of the perceived american presence in Vietnam, whilst also delivering several laugh out loud classic lines flawlessly.The military attack on the Vietnamese village is as exhilarating an experince as you will find in any motion picture, but from here on the film submerges itself in darkness as we travel up river, all the time the myth of colonel kurtz looming over the piece with a heightened sense of impending doom and anticipation.The whole film builds to the meeting of Kurtz, and as we finally approach the truly haunting closing setting we are as intrigued to meet him as Sheen. Whilst Brando is undoubtedly ott, it is a credit to his sheer aura that he is able to live up to this mythical character without us being dissappointed. Cinematically this film is a dream, every shot would make a fine still photo, and the ending will have you gripped to your seat. The images in this film will haunt your mind for days on end i assure you. It is ,of course, the best war movie ever made, but it is far more than that, it is a study in human nature and enthralling psychological viewing. If you dont like this film, you have to ask yourself, do you really like movies at all?
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalypse Now,
This review is from: Apocalypse Now (3-disc Special Edition including Hearts of Darkness) [Blu-ray]  (Blu-ray)I would like to concentrate on the audio side of the Movie rather than the movie itself, which has to be fair not gone without positive reviews.
This was the first Blockbuster movie to use separate channels for surround channels and the subwoofer.
This 5.1 format is now the way that virtually all film soundtracks and recorded.
Coppolas' fanatical attention to detail and the huge amount of time put into the editing of the soundtrack ensures it is still one of the best tests for any surround system 30 years after it was released.
Here are some of the details that any quality surround system should reproduce.
The Ghost Helicopter Flyover
At the start of the film before the picture appears the soundtrack makes full use of the stereo rear channels. The helicopter should pan smoothly across the back of the room and then across the full width of the front of the room.
A surround system should reproduce this with smooth, even pans all around the room with no hot spots or gaps - and without making you aware of any speakers.
As the intro builds to a crescendo, listen for the buildup of layers from the synthesized helicopter, the Doors soundtrack and the sounds of Saigon and the ceiling fan.
Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries
This classic piece of film shows the "air cavalry" playing music from their helicopters to terrify their intended victims. On most systems the sound of the orchestra is heard as part of the musical score rather than being clearly audible as a screechy, Public Address system being played from the helicopters.
Meet the Tiger
The use of surround sound is incredibly effective on this clip as the sounds of the jungle completely envelop you. It's critical that you're not aware of any of the speakers in your room or the illusion of "being there" will be shattered.
If you want to scare the life out of your friends this is also a great clip to use!
The B52 Raid
Arc light was the name given to the use of "strategic" B52 bombing in Vietnam. the sound pans between the rear channels - its coming from above rather than jumbled in with the front soundstage.
This film on Bluray with its DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack should be in every movie buffs collection, and for me to be lucky enough to play this film on our super Steinway Model M cinema system, is just the icing on the cake.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can justifiably claim to be the best movie ever made.,
By A Customer
Endlessly re-watchable, the film begins to take on a mythical and spiritual aura that far transcends most modern art, stunningly complex, admirably pretentious and awesomely powerful. It is, if you like, the thinking mans war film,soaked in underlying meanings and symbolism, and yet it is also the ultimate in eye candy, visually the most stunning film i have seen. Every shot has been painstakingly conceived and is cinematically perfect, the images haunt you like some ongoing dream long after the credits roll.Each character is slowly absorbed into the intrigue and danger of the jungle, a setting that at once evokes both beauty and death.
Perhaps what makes this work so unique, alongside the bravely ambiguous stance it takes towards the war, is the sense of combining scenes that suggest the depths of hellish imagination and dreamworlds (parts of the film appropriately play like some acid trip hallucination, in fact the whole movie wreaks of the presence of drugs), with shockingly realistic sequences such as the much vaunted Vietnamese village attack. The acting is a masterclass throughout from all involved, Duvall capturing the essence of the american military egotism, whilst creating an impossibly charismatic character who briefly takes over the film, Sheen the stoney bystander whose path and character becomes inextricably linked with that of Kurtz, the man he is sent to assissinate( sheen was originally nominated for best actor but asked to be withdrawn). Brandos performance is effortlessly enigmatic and, for want of a better description, frankly godlike. His presence dominates the film as, in between the awe inspring set pieces,Sheens voiceover descibes the mystery of this fascinating man and his life. It is hard to imagine any modern actor coming close to capturing the pure balance of genius and evil that Brando achieves in his performance, a performance on which everything else hinges as, were this mythical man not to match our expectations,the film would probably fall flat on its face.
As it is, this is an undeniably unforgettable masterpiece. Every scene is memorable, every line now sounding like a classic quote. It is all about the insanity of Vietnam, but it is so much deeper than that and explores so many other themes and aspects of morality, sanity and mortality. Incidentally, the dvd looks fantastic, the print flawless and the packaging superb. I guarantee this is one of the few films you will be revisiting for the rest of your life. Probably also the most riveting and beautiful opening sequence in the history of cinema.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A flawed but great film, too ambitious yet deep,
Now, almost 35 years later, I had to see it again, in the longer Redux version. I must say, it held up extremely well, and the bluray print is fabulous. Please note: the interpretation that follows assumes the reader has watched the film. It doesn't avoid spoilers.
On the one hand, the story is good, far better in my opinion than the Conrad novella. You have a soldier who is a wounded man, who is seeking death or some kind of redemption. He returns to fight in Vietnam, hungering for the bush because there is nothing to his life but killing, and has a kind of nervous breakdown while waiting for his orders. Then, he learns about someone similar to himself, Kurtz, a once-great soldier that has gone AWOL and created an independent killing force somewhere in Cambodia. He is ordered to find and assassinate him.
The solider's journey to Kurtz represents a kind of rebirth, finding his humanity as he absorbs the story of what happened to this man reputed to be a sincere humanitarian and true leader. It is on the journey that the film works best, with absolutely brilliant performances by first-rate actors. There is Duvall's napalm lover, a super macho surfing enthusiast who loves to fight and never questions his road to victory. But the crew of the transport boat is even better, with a young Larry Fishburne, for one, but also Frederick Forrest as hapless grunts. Except for the imported bits of Americana, they leave civilization for an alien landscape, climaxing in Kurtz's killing zone in Cambodia. I found it completely believable and disorienting, truly original.
However, the end sequence and Kurtz's mental state still didn't quite work for me. Brando kind of hams it up, but he is somehow unconvincing. I wasn't moved by Sheen's opportunity to take his place as alpha male after the assassination. Still, Sheen's evolution as he regains his humanity is enough not to ruin the film. I am very glad that I own this version and will watch it many times.
On the other hand, I am not sure the Redux adds anything except titillating bits for film enthusiasts. It is too long to watch at a single sitting. The new sequences also slow the action, particularly the bizarre interlude on the rogue French colonial estate, where a family is suicidally devoted to keeping its patch of land and business with a private army. Finding the Playboy girls is funny and pathetic, but adds little to the story and is unrealistic, like they are losing it in the bush and don't mind their publicist pimping them for gas supplies. Finally, the new music score was jarring for me, feeling unnaturally grafted onto a work that was finely tuned in the original.
This is one of those auteur films from the last truly experimental era of Hollywood. It is as much a political statement as it is a war story. Soon after this, Hollywood became driven by marketing committees, producing formula films on a conveyor belt, designed to hit all the notes that audiences wanted yet lacking soul, lacking the voice of a solitary literary mind. Today's films can be very good, but they lack the quirkiness of this kind of experiment.
Recommended, in spite of its flaws. It is a great and unique viewing experience and the bluray print is worth the price.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It wasn't just insanity and murder, there was enough of that to go around for everyone.,
This review is from: Apocalypse Now (3-disc Special Edition including Hearts of Darkness) [Blu-ray]  (Blu-ray)Apocalypse Now is directed by Francis Ford Coppola who also co-adapts the screenplay with John Milius from Heart of Darkness written by Joseph Conrad. It stars Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper, Harrison Ford, Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms and Albert Hall. Cinematography is by Vittorio Storaro and the music is primarily arranged by Carmine Coppola.
The Vietnam War and Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Sheen) is approached by American intelligence to go on a secret assignment: he's to follow the Nung River into the remote Cambodian jungle to find and assasinate Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a member of the US Army Special Forces who has gone insane.
One of the most talked and written about films of all time, Apocalypse Now remains to this day a harrowing and haunting experience to first time viewers. With a productuion shoot that has in itself become legendary, Coppola's flawed masterpiece has been dissected and argued over to within an inch of its magnificent life. People will continue to write about it for ever more it seems, perhaps there might even be the odd new confrontational spin on what resides within? But ultimately it's what the individual takes away from the film that matters, our own interpretations key to the enjoyment of such a disturbing vision of war and violence.
Many of the set-pieces, dialogue and characters have long since passd into folklore, and rightly so. The Ride of the Valkyries helicopter assault, Kurtz's surreal death camp, the boat people massacre, purple haze, the playmates, Kilgore, and of course the horror, the horror.....indeed. The performances match the quality of Storaro's sumptuous Philippines photography, Sheen is fiercely committed and Duvall and Hopper in turn are powerhouse and edgy. While Brando, doing his own bizzaro thing in the last third, brings a little chaos unintentionally in keeping with the madness at the heart of this particular darkness.
Personally that last draggy third does stop it from being a complete genius whole, but everything up to it is so damn good it's arguably churlish to expect perfection? But as near perfection movies go, Apocalypse Now proudly sits with the best of them, sitting there with a harrowed look upon its face. See it on the biggest screen you can or at least on Blu-ray. 9/10
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cinematic masterpiece... easily Coppola's best.,
This review is from: Apocalypse Now  [DVD] (DVD)More than twenty-five years on since it's initial cinema release, Apocalypse Now still stands as one of the most powerful and hypnotic visionary depictions of the madness of war ever committed to film, with director Francis Ford Coppola using Joseph Conrad's legendary tome Heart of Darkness as the metaphorical backbone to this surreal, episodic and hallucinogenic rumination on man's capacity for tyranny, and his ultimate search for redemption.
The basic crux of the story remains simple, with Coppola drawing on certain elements from the aforementioned Heart of Darkness, as well as various influences from the classic Werner Herzog film, Aguirre, the Wrath of God (in which Klaus Kinski's jungle trip mirrors that of the soldiers here) to give weight to his own cinematic ideas, manifested here by the two warring characters of Kurtz and Willard. Unlike the majority of Vietnam related films (like the Dear Hunter, Platoon, Casualties of War and Full Metal Jacket, to name the most obvious) Coppola's film relegates the technical and factual aspects of warfare and the period in which the film is set to the background, in order to more closely examine the relationship between the soldiers (particularly the abovementioned Willard and Kurtz) in this intense and to some extent dreamlike situation.
Coppola's depiction of 'Nam bares no similarity to those films listed above... with his Vietnam becoming a place where surf-mad soldiers bombard villages from helicopters to the piercing strains of Wagner; playboy bunnies entertain the troops in the middle of the jungle; out-posts are attacked at night by unseen mercenaries, whilst monotonous carnival music plays incessantly in the background; whilst the whole climax of the film juxtaposes rock music, arcane philosophy, decapitation and the ritualistic slaughter of a bull.
Coppola's visuals - aided by cinematographer Vitorrio Storaro, production designer Dean Tavourlarus, and editor/sound designer Walter Murch - are powerful and lingering, with the film offering up a number of astounding sequences and set-pieces (as well as some of the standouts listed above, the opening scene - which finds Willard freaking out to the sound of the Doors in a Saigon hotel room, whilst superimposed images of napalm explosions and juxtapositions of ceiling fans and helicopter rotor-blades drift across the screen - is a great way to introduce the sense of madness and escalating atmosphere that will build throughout the film). Much like the aforementioned Aguirre, Apocalypse Now has a great narrative momentum, with Coppola and co-writer John Millius (...though apparently, much of his contributions were scaled down) keeping the film moving forwards, much like the soldiers in the boat, by offering up a strong and enticing mixture of surreal visions, philosophical discussions, and abrasive action.
It's probably the only film to take the idea of "the madness of war" and makes the description a reality, with the filmmakers evoking a Vietnam that is more like a carnival freak-show than something approaching the hyper-real depictions of combat found in Oliver Stone's Vietnam trilogy (Platoon, Born of the Fourth of July and Heaven & Earth). Some have, and indeed, still, criticise the final act of the film, in which Martin Sheen's no-nonsense Willard finally comes face-to-face with Marlon Brando's barmy colonel Kurtz, in which the king of method acting turned up over-weight, moody and baring a serious grudge against the director and his co-stars. Regardless of this, I think Brando's performance is exceptional, as great as his portrayals in films like Streetcar Named Desire, On The Waterfront, The Godfather and Last Tango In Paris, as he sits hunched over in the shadows, stroking his shaven head and mumbling about T.S. Eliot and the horrors of militaristic genocide.
His appearance in the film is as iconic as the scene with Robert Duvall on the beach, with that oft-quoted line "I love the smell of napalm in the morning... smells like... victory" and is as tense and as surreal as any of the film's major (for lack of a better word) action scenes. The hallucinogenic atmosphere established throughout ties in with another Herzog film, Heart of Glass, and would be an influence on the Russian anti-war drama, Come And See, which is probably more important than Coppola's film... though it's certainly less accessible, and a lot more abrasive. Everything about this film is perfectly judged... from the production design, location work, sound design and music (the two are really integrated seamlessly here) and the heavily-colour-tinted cinematography (...getting away from the documentary-like approach of war favoured by many other filmmakers in favour or something more ethereal).
I'm not that familiar with the re-cut "redux" version, released in 2001... being much too attached to this version after years of watching it as a teenage. Also, as someone else pointed out, it's much easier to trust the directorial instincts of the man who just made The Godfather and The Conversation... but not so easy to trust the instincts of the hack that made Jack, and The Rainmaker. Apocalypse Now, in it's original 1979 version, more than stands up as one of the greatest films of the 20th century...blending together the gorgeous, hypnotic transcendence of Storaro's cinematography and Coppola's idiosyncratic take on warfare, with some startling moments of real-horror, philosophy, reflection and character.
46 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "anti-Private Ryan" movie, but still excellent!,
The story goes: A top US Colonel, played by Marlon Brando, who was "one of us", is now a loose cannon and has disappeared into Cambodia and is committing atrocities with his own loyal private army. A seriously screwed-up and shell-shocked special forces soldier played by Martin Sheen is sent up the river by the US military on a secret mission to assassinate the Colonel. The director had a hellish time making this movie apparently, including going millions over budget (he put some of his own money in), and a lot of trouble with the actors. However what came out of the sometimes improvised filming was a brilliant journey into the heart of darkness, as Sheen travels up the river.
A series of "set pieces" occur during the journey up the river, some of which were removed in the original theatrical cut, and have been returned in the Redux cut. Some of these set pieces have become famous, for example the helicopters swooping in to attack a Vietcong occupied village, playing "Ride of the Valkyries" at full blast. The most satisfying parts of the movie however, are when Sheen reaches the true heart of darkness, the Colonel's camp. What transpires here cannot really be described adequately in words. You have to watch the whole movie to appreciate the end of the journey.
Another aspect of this movie worth mentioning is the soundtrack. It is a product of the times chronicled by the movie, with the Doors and the Rolling Stones included. Actually the first part of the movie is a great chronicle of some of the spirit of 60s.
Things to watch out for: a brief appearance by Harrison Ford, the reading of the "Heart of Darkness"-related TS Eliot poem "Hollow Men" by Marlon Brando, and Sheen's alcohol-induced breakdown scene in his bedroom at the beginning (the actor was not acting at the time!)
Overall, this is great. A spectacular intelligent, beautifully filmed, rock-and-roll, poetic journey, with an ending that will echo in your mind.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome,
By A Customer
From a technical point of view the enhanced soundtrack is amazing and the photography and lighting effect are superb (especially in the Kurtz camp sequences). The downsides are that it takes some stamina to last out the whole run time and you don't get the wake up call of the Jimi Hendrix 'machine gun' screaming feedback guitar ending which i think was in the original.
Invest in a projector and a large screen, sit back and enjoy!
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The COMPLETE film at last!,
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Like many others I have subconsciously memorised Michael Herr's magnificent dialogue. I've even been up the river (at Pagsanhan in the Philippines - well-recommended for those adventurous enough).
If you have also enjoyed the earlier releases, I cannot over-recommend this movie. The additional material will keep you interested and none of the reviews I read had really prepared me for what I experienced. There are a lot of changes beyond the well documented additions and the new footage of Kilgore actually had me laughing out loud!
Walking out into the light of Leicester Square after the action of the movie was a quite moving experience which I will remember for a long time.
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Apocalypse Now  [DVD] by Francis Ford Coppola (DVD - 2001)