Apocalypse Now Redux
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In the middle of the Vietnam War, Lt. Willard (Sheen) is sent into the jungle on a secret mission to assassinate an American Colonel (Brando) who has gone mad and barricaded himself in a remote hellhole with his followers. As he makes his way through the jungle, the horror of the war is revealed to us in all of its atrocity.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Is this a good movie? Yes. Is this an overrated movie? Yes. Is this a weird movie? Definitely. No character in film can claim to be as screwed up as Brando’s Colonel Kurtz here. No scene in film has been as documented and as examined as the infamous jungle explosion. No line in film has ever been as cool as Robert Duval’s famous “I love the smell of Napalm in the morning”. This is a very good movie that has been elevated to mythical status over the years because of perhaps too many drug-soaked viewings. I’ve watched this movie in every type of state-of-mind and have never found it to be more than just that: “very good”.
The performances are great and the ambiance of the film is as depressing as they get, but some of the performances are a tad too “off the wall” for my taste. Actually, my main beef with this film has always been (and probably always will be) Dennis Hopper. I have a natural dislike for the man’s style and this film has him jumping all over the place like a monkey on crack. Marlon Brando, on the other hand, is a picture of subdued terror. His antics on the set of this film have been well documented (as has his bald fatness) but in the end, without Brando, this film does not exist. It’s his all-too-realistic madness as well as Sheen’s quest for it that drives this film to its goal and gives it this sort of eeriness that lasts throughout.
All in all, a cocktail of your favorite drugs may help you enjoy this in a different way, but in that same way, a cocktail of drugs may even make Dennis Hopper stomachable. This movie stands alone though, in the majestic way that it portrays the destruction of the Vietnamese countryside. Definitely a movie you should check out, but it’s not one of those flicks that you should slap someone off the head with, if they don’t like. It’s not for everyone and that’s what truly prevents it from achieving greatness.
The only real extra you get on this is 49 minutes of additional footage, bringing the already long running time to a resounding 202 minutes. Hardcore fans of the movie will appreciate the chance to watch more of it, but for casual fans of the film, the extra footage never really kicked me in the rear or anything, and chances are that the only thing you’ll get out of it is a pair of really tired eyes. Like I mentioned though, hardcore fans that are high will get a lot of mileage out of this.
Definitely a must-have for the hardcore APOCALYPSE NOW fans, but for all you more casual guys out there, a rental fare will do. Keep in mind that there are no extras to come back on, which is surprising considering the success of HEARTS OF DARKNESS, the "making-of" documentary released in 1991 that’s become almost as successful as the film itself. Give me something!!!