Apocalypse Now Redux (1979)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Apocalypse Then And Now
Featurette-Destruction Of The Kurtz Compound+/- commentary
|Year Of Production||1979|
|Running Time||193:59 (Case: 202)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (95:30)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Francis Ford Coppola|
Universal Pictures Home Video
Francis Ford Coppola
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.00:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.20:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English||Smoking||Yes, Sheen is rarely seen without a smoke|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Malboro cigarettes in helmets|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Some movies come and go, get watched once and then forgotten about. Occasionally, a movie comes along that contains so many memorable elements that even though you may forget the thrust of the storyline, you still remember that one scene and it remains indelibly etched into your mind. Apocalypse Now Redux has many of these scenes for those that have watched this epic of a movie and most have remained long in the memory. For myself, this was just another indication of the quality of this movie. Although it can strictly be termed a war movie, it is in essence more of a movie about the soul, its beauty, its fragility and the ease with which it can devolve into something so base and corrupt that it defies logic. With more than just a passing similarity to Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now Redux with its haunting images, weird soundtrack and some of the most memorable characters in movie history ebbs and flows like the Nong river on which the vast majority of this movie is set. A timeless classic of any genre, this excellent restoration is worthy of a place in any collection.
I've seen quite a few movies that have been nominally designated "Digitally Remastered" that looked like they had been given a quick comb over and nothing more. Apocalypse Now Redux, on the other hand, has been given a glorious restoration that a movie of this calibre deserves and any nitpicking on my part is nothing more than thoroughness and attention to detail. Quite literally, this looks almost as good as if you were seeing the master print, such is the quality of what is on offer.
This movie has seen two incarnations; an original 70mm release and a more generally viewed 35mm release. The original aspect ratio of the movie has been designated at 2.39:1 which is in keeping with the 35mm release. This Redux version is in an aspect ratio of 2.00:1 ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.
From the very opening of the movie, this transfer exhibits tremendous sharpness with no sign of edge enhancement to spoil the visuals. On the odd occasion there does appear to be a bit of blurriness in the picture (eg: 46:10) . Grain is noticeable during the movie but never becomes a major issue. The stock shots/aerial shots are the worst for grain but this is nothing to get perturbed over. Shadow detail is superb throughout with so much detail on offer that it is hard to focus on all of it at times. Backgrounds are just superbly defined and replete with detail. Fine detail is excellent, with the single beads of sweat on Martin Sheen's face during the journey on the boat taking on a life of their own as they travelled down his face. Low level noise never gets a look in.
The use of filters to simulate the various times of the day are the only thing that play havoc with an otherwise beautifully rendered colour scheme. Several instances of overabundance of yellows to simulate sunlight can be seen at 24:40, 71:00 and 118:51 but these are at odds with the startling colours otherwise observed in the movie. For the most part, this has one of the most natural colour schemes and palettes I have ever seen. Jungle colours are solid and beautifully rendered with skin tones perfect. No colour bleed or chroma noise was observed at any stage
The opening and closing sequence offers some slight telecine wobble (0:20 and again at 184:50). There is a moiré artefact on the curtains at 18:11. Pixelization can be seen along a chopper outline at 33:13 and then again on the Chief's helmet at 108:46. The odd occasional fleck spotted the movie with the only really noticeable (and therefore reported) ones being at 33:58 and 50:58. Various little blemishes are noticeable out of the corner of your eye but almost imperceptible unless you are looking for them.
The subtitles are clear and easy to read, utilising a good font and are situated about an eighth up from the bottom of the screen. They do miss the occasional word but for the most part they are accurate. For those interested, the included section with the French settlers does not include subtitles for the spoken French around the dinner table (d'oh!).
No layer change was observed per se but there is a fade-to-black at 95:30 to simulate intermission and the change actually occurs in there. The only way I could tell was that the timer on my DVD player actually jumped forward 2 seconds.
A single audio track is available on this disc; English Dolby Digital 5.1 448 kilobits per second. From the very opening moments you'll be happy to note the solid nature of this soundtrack and its ability to surround you with sound. Quite simply, the music and sounds are absolutely brilliant with solid bass and surround work complementing a totally immersive track. The whole thing is quite breathtaking at times with sounds assailing you from all corners of the room with tremendous divergence across the fronts being complemented by crystal clear vocals from the centre.
From Martin Sheen's overlaid commentary to the lips of each and every actor, the dialogue is crystal clear and the syncing spot on.
The original music is credited to Carmine and Francis Ford Coppola. The musical director was Walter Murch and there are musical inserts from The Doors - The End, Richard Wagner - The Ride of the Valkyries, Brian Wilson/Mike Love - Surfin' Safari, Mnong Gar - Music from Vietnam and many others. This is one of the more memorable soundtracks, especially the haunting music from The Doors which pops up just at the right time, and of course Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries which accompanies one of the most memorable and remembered scenes in movie history.
The surrounds are brilliantly used throughout the movie to add ambience and complement the music. Jungle noises emanating from both speakers, the sounds of helicopters passing from left to right to left behind you and the noises of battle compete with the music cut into the rears for your attention but never get too aggressive as to become dominant. This is simply the best use of the surrounds that I've heard in a long time.
The subwoofer is used aggressively by this soundtrack with this speaker being almost constantly used to drive the underlying core of the music, complement the special effects and generally add another dimension to the soundtrack. At no time does it draw attention to itself but it is in constant motion throughout.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Quite simply there is no competition on this one for which release is better between the Region 1 and Region 4 versions. Region 4 wins hands down. The Region 1 misses out on all 3 featurettes plus the audio commentary on the Destruction of Kurt's Compound featurette. Also, the Region 4 transfer is clearer, brighter and far better looking with less artefacts. That's not to say that the Region 1 disc is bad, it's just that the PAL version looks so much nicer.
**Addendum**: Submitted by one of our readers, a French version is also available with many more extras added in. You can read the details here. > > http://www.dvdcompare.org.uk/comparisons/film_results_page.php?fid=1767 **A tip of the hat to Mark for this tidbit**
Apocalypse Now Redux is a classic movie with a classic transfer and one to be cherished. The definitive work by Coppola in my view, this movie is much enhanced by the addition of over 30 minutes of previously unincluded material. The new material is also excellently presented, which makes it doubly nice.
A visually stunning movie in many respects, this is doubly so for this DVD with only the odd blemish to take off any of the lustre. Beautifully transferred to DVD, this has never looked better.
The audio track is every bit as good as the video. An excellent example of true 5.1 at work with superb subwoofer and surround speaker activity.
The extras are decent but not in keeping with the rest of the movie. Of course, at over 3 hours of a movie such as this to watch, the rest is superfluous really. The only thing that would have been good to have would be either an audio commentary by Coppola himself or an isolated music track.
|DVD||Toshiba SD5300, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Rotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Rotel RB 985 MkII|
|Speakers||JBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer|