Apocalypse Now

40 Years of The Horror! The Horror!

In honor of its 40th anniversary release, Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” will be re-released in IMAX locations in an extended version. I’ve rewatched the movie in the Redux version, and it’s given me a reminder of why its such a classic. It just is.

Matter of fact, this is among the great war dramas, loosely inspired by “Heart of Darkness,” because of its dark, evil, dramatic, beautifully shot, and well-acted intentions. It keeps you guessing from start to finish, and it doesn’t overcharge the characters or action. It’s a movie that triggers your senses and emotions.

Martin Sheen gives an explosive performance as Captain Willard, who, during the Vietnam War, who begins to feel weaker as he awaits for a new mission. He is called into action to assassinate Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a Special Forces officer, who went insane, and is charged with murdering agents, he believed with double agents.

He has to travel on a Navy PBR, and en route, he constantly questions what will happen when he finds Kurtz, and how he will act when he does.

When we see Willard and Kurtz on screen together, we see some remarkable performances from Sheen and Brando. Sheen delves into his character’s motives, and Brando is often seen in either shadow or make-up. These scenes keep you glued.

The drama presented in “Apocalypse Now” is very real and dark. The score and art direction both show the intensity of war, and it works on so many levels. There are also color smoke bombs, vulgar dialogue, flying bullets, classic 1960s music, and supporting roles from Dennis Hopper as an American photojournalist and Robert Duvall as the Lt, saying: “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

And in this generation, it’s really cool seeing Sheen, Duvall, Harrison Ford and Laurence Fishburne (Larry at the time) in their youth. Ford is a colonel who gives Willard his orders, and Fishburne is the 17-year-old Mr. Clean.

There are also such fascinating scenes in the movie, which keep you entertained, especially its wise choice of music. War scenes include the opening shot with The Doors’ “The End” playing, and the Vietnam invasion with “The Ride of the Valkyries” playing. Not to mention: the score composed profoundly by both Coppola and his father Carmine. And there are explosions and helicopters, all of which belong to the Vietnam War time period.

Other great scenes include the PBR being attacked by arrows, which appear as just sticks to Willard, until a spear kills the Chief (Albert Hall). Another is when a tiger nearly attacks Willard and Chef the Engineman (Frederick Forrest), while looking in the jungles. And there are scenes of Hopper praising Kurtz for the God he thinks he is.

This is a Vietnam War movie that never grows old, and it deserves to be seen in the uncut version. You’ll see more scenes, more editing, and more danger.


Categories: Action, Drama, War

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