Apocalypse Now Redux/A-,A
Paramount/2001/202/ANA 2.0

     On a stone wall at the temple steps overlooking the jungle river the message "Our Motto: Apocalypse Now!" is scrawled in thick white paint strokes. The steps form a frightening tableau of Colonel Kurtz's renegade  Montagnard gorilla forces gazing hungrily at Willard's patrol boat. In the compound surrounded by the lush green leaves, bodies hanging with casual disdain, body parts garishly proclaiming horror, the phrase screams out on the stone. At the horrifying remote jungle outpost, Willard will act out the ritual American sacrifice echoing the tribal ceremonial slaughter of a water buffalo.   

Willard's history lesson. ©Paramount

.    Welcome back Apocalypse Now. Director Francis Ford Coppola has decided to revisit his great war adventure with about fifty additional minutes added to the film under the banner of Apocalypse Now Redux. Still brilliant, scathing, absurdly insightful, Apocalypse Now Redux is one of the great war movies. I found it plays pretty much the same with the additional scenes.  Coppola fought his own war to successfully complete his Vietnam vision with a determination of which any combat general would be proud. His decision to travel back in time and add some material originally trimmed adds to the overall excitement of seeing the film again.
     The lengthiest of the additional scenes is the French plantation sequence. It includes a memorable dinner represented by various generations of Colonial Vietnam. Itís essentially a history lesson and for those not well-versed in the history of Vietnam, itís edifying. Does it comment on the film? Yes, it does, because it emphasizes the overall absurdity of the war, the hopelessness of trying to cut down the wild bamboo you planted many years before. It does slow the journey down, however, so it a mixed success. An additional Playmate sequence may be entertaining, but it does not add to the film's mystique  nor does it emphasize the insane nature of the war; rather, it detracts from it. The Playmate encounter again seems to serve little purpose except to get some additional flashes of flesh into the jungle. Additions to the Kilgore segment are terrific, building on the layers of absurdity. And, of course, the more Kurtz the better; the ultimate confrontation in the Kurtz compound is mesmerizing.  
     Apocalypse Now Redux looks better than it's predecessor on DVD. The slight edge enhancement and amplified grain in the original pressing has all but disappeared. Grain is very fine and consistent in movement. Images are consistently sharp. The complex lighting by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro is captured with amazing color saturation. The smoke markers are especially intense.  Shadow detail is outstanding. The eerie image of Willard rising from the water maintains shockingly precise detail and shading. Black level is excellent throughout the presentation. The directionality of the Dolby Digital 5:1 surround remains extremely accurate. The transfer and pressing allow you to sit back and immerse yourself in a remarkable film experience. 

Link to original Apocalypse Now Review




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