Apocalypse Now Redux (1979)

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Released 12-Aug-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-PBR Streetgang
Featurette-Apocalypse Then And Now
Featurette-Destruction Of The Kurtz Compound+/- commentary
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1979
Running Time 193:59 (Case: 202)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (95:30) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Francis Ford Coppola
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Martin Sheen
Marlon Brando
Robert Duvall
Sam Bottoms
Laurence Fishburne
Frederick Forrest
Albert Hall
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $36.95 Music Carmine Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.00:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.20:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
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

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   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.

The desire I held the most was the desire to confront him

    Captain Willard (Martin Sheen), a man with more demons than most has returned to Vietnam after unsuccessfully trying to reintegrate into his old life. Now divorced from his wife and having no ties left with the world he left behind, he lies in a bedroom in Saigon awaiting his next assignment and slowly losing his mind. After a bout with alcohol he is finally sent for by General R. Corman (G.D. Spadlin) and is informed of his mission by Col G. Lucas (Harrison Ford). He is to take a Patrol Boat up the Nong River into Cambodia where he is to find and terminate with extreme prejudice one Col Walter E. Kurtz, who has gone native and with his army of Montagnard soldiers is pursuing his own version of the war without any authority. Willard accepts the assignment and proceeds with the mission, along the way reading the details of the man who he has been sent to assassinate.

I love the smell of napalm in the morning...

    The journey up the river isn't without incident and the crew of the patrol boat taking Willard up river have no idea of his destination or his mission. Operated by Chief Phillips (Albert Hall), the rest of the crew comprises Jay Hicks (Frederic Forrest), a chef in the real world, Mr Clean - Tyrone Miller (Laurence Fishburne) who is only 17 years old and Lance B. Johnson (Sam Bottoms) a former surfer from California. Their first hurdle is making it into the Nong delta which has only two possible access points, so they require the help of the air cavalry, specifically one Lt. Colonel William 'Bill' Kilgore (Robert Duvall). Kilgore isn't that interested in helping at first until he discovers that Lance is a surfer. Seeking to promote his own needs, Willard mentions the delta they wish to enter and one of Kilgore's men knows of a wicked break they could surf therein. When he's told that the Vietcong own that stretch of land, he responds with another classic line - 'Charlie don't surf'  - and suddenly they are off, accompanied by the strains of Wagner with the PT boat hanging from the bottom of a helicopter. Once inside the river chain, they begin their slow journey. On the way they encounter a USO show complete with Playboy Bunnies and Playmate of the Year, a bridge that exists only on a map so the generals can claim they are keeping the roads open, and a swag of characters whose only desire is to get home safely and with the minimum of fuss.

You're an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks to collect a bill

    I could wax lyrical about this movie until the cows come home, since I've seen it a couple of dozen times, but if you've never seen the movie before, you should do yourself a favour and watch it. For those of you who have seen it and are interested, the additional footage included in this Redux version includes (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) an extended scene with Kilgore where Willard pinches Kilgore's favourite surfboard and Kilgore despatches his helicopters up and down the river asking for it back. Also included is a new section with the Playboy Bunnies when they come across their helicopter, stranded for lack of fuel, and Willard negotiates a couple of hours for the men in exchange for two barrels of fuel. Also included is the entire plantation scene with the French colonists. This adds so much more to the movie not only by its length, but the explanations it offers about the war, how it started and the origin of the Viet Minh. Coming as it does between the death of Clean and prior to meeting the Montagnard army and entering Kurt's compound, it adds another element to the story of the rise of chaos the further one delves into the dark heart.

the horror.....the horror....

    For me, this movie is about a journey into madness. In essence, neither Willard nor Kurtz are mad. Both are products of their environment and the journey up the river sees the orderliness of civilization replaced with the chaos of war. As Willard mentions, 'accusing someone of murder over here is like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500'. The truth is that Willard is nothing more than Kurt's fate coming to meet him, and whether Kurt accepts that fate is the ultimate conclusion of the movie. All-in-all, this is a piece of brilliance of movie making that almost took the director Francis Ford Coppola himself to the edge of madness, and definitely to the edge of bankruptcy before it was finished, and the Redux version finally fills in the gaps that have been missing from the original and gives us back the true vision of Coppola's masterpiece.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Introduction

    The opening sequence is that of the destruction of Kurt's compound which was omitted for the Redux version and added in as a featurette.

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    The musical overlay is from the movie's score with an insert containing extracts from the additional footage added back into the movie for this version including: the bunny chopper, pink smoke on the boat and Willard in the sweat box in Kurt's compound.

Theatrical Trailer

    With a running time of 2:29, this looks very grainy. Offered up in 2.35:1 and not 16x9 enhanced. Fairly standard stuff.

Featurette

    PBR StreetGang: (The name is taken from the call sign heard on the radio at the end of the movie). With a running time of 3:58 with film extracts in 2.35:1 and not 16x9 enhanced this is presented in 1.33:1 format. It includes interviews with Laurence Fishburne, Sam Bottoms, Albert Hall and Frederic Forrest. It includes behind the scenes footage and is about the making of the movie.

Featurette - Apocalypse Now and Then

    This has a running time of 3:34 and is displayed in 1.33:1 format. This includes a very short slice of an interview with Roger Ebert (the movie critic for the Chicago Sun-Times) about the Cannes Film Festival where the movie was shown for the first time and why Coppola was forced to release it early. It also contains Coppola and Walter Murch discussing and redoing the soundtrack for the Redux version. Film inserts are displayed in 2.35:1 and not 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette - Destruction of Kurt's Compound

    This has a running time of 5:48. This is the original ending to the 35mm general release of the movie that most people are familiar with. Originally, this ending wasn't in the 70mm release (nor were there any credits). This shows the destruction of the compound from various camera angles and is meant to simulate the bomb attack called for earlier in the movie. The effects are quite eerie. Additionally, there is a second version of this with Coppola doing commentary and discussing why he never used it in the initial release but added it into the 35mm release. The clip is displayed at 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

R4 vs R1

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**

Summary

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Sunday, August 11, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD5300, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderRotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationRotel RB 985 MkII
SpeakersJBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer

Other Reviews
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Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Wayne F
Web Wombat - James A
MovieHole - Adam
DVD Plaza - Anthony C (read my bio)

Comments (Add)
The Two R1 Versions [ammended + response] - Ben H (My biography. Go on have a read...) REPLY POSTED
Further to AP-Now Redux -
More AN versions - Craig Andrews
AP-Now Redux R2 French Edition -
Dream Redux -
Special Edition -
Re: Special Edition -
re: Special edition -2.00:1 ratio - wolfgirv