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Movie Review: Apocalypse Now: Redux

Story: I loved this film in 1979 and thought the updated version, 22 years later with an additional 45 minutes of film, even better. If you haven't seen this film before (is this possible)? it is a must-see for you. I believe it is the masterpiece of film making of Francis Ford Coppola's long career, which of course includes, his wonderful Godfather sagas. In case you don't know the story, it is based on Joseph Conrad's brilliant novel, Heart of Darkness. Towards the end of the Vietnam War, a 'special government agent' is sent up river into Cambodia (Oops! - we weren't supposed to be there) to find and terminate with extreme prejudice errant loony Cpl. Kurtz. The journey is a cinematic experience, not to be missed. The new 45 minutes in the film give the characters greater depth and their ultimate actions seem more explicable. It is refreshing to also see a film without any computer generated effects. All of the illusions are done the old fashioned way...with genius. Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro won a deserved Oscar for his breathtaking work. There are many images that will seem familiar to you if you see this film again. Many clips of this film are used in every film montage on every award show since 1979. Perhaps seeing this film 25 years after the Vietnam War ended made it even more powerful, who knows?

Acting: The very young Martin Sheen is in virtually every scene and is wonderful to watch. It is hard to believe he suffered a heart attack during the filming of this movie. By the way, I love The West Wing and would vote for President Bartlett any day. The even younger (18) Lawrence Fishburne was a star in the making. Frederic Forrest, as Chef, had a very good year in 1979. He also starred in The Rose opposite Bette Midler. Robert Duvall, with the famous I love the smell of Napalm in the morning line is strong and great to see. What can one say about Marlon Brando? I wish he would have not lost his marbles and made more films. He is a treat to watch. Dennis Hopper is always nuts. He has played the same part, if it is a part, for his entire career. You can also see a very young Harrison Ford, as a stern military man. And kudos to the Ifugao People of Banaue, The Philippines (where the entire film was shot). I am sure they are all still talking about the movie 22 years later.

Critters: The animals do not do very well in this film. But neither do most of the characters. There seems to be equal opportunity slaughter.

Food: A chocolate bar with nuts, and some extreme close-ups of shrimp and beef.

Visual Art: The entire film is a plein air landscape

Blatant Product Placement: Marlboros and Napalm.

Soundtrack: Outstanding. Everything from The Doors to Wagner.

Opening Titles: None. Simply the sound of a helicopter in the distance.

Theater Audience: A few good men, most obviously of Vietnam War Veteran age and the two of us. One guy was making audibles (in agreement) during many of the scenes.

Sappy Factor: Minus 5

Quirky Meter: 5

Squirm Scale: 4

Predictability Level: Not applicable. I had already seen the film.

Tissue Usage: Just some welling.

Oscar Worthy: Absolutely.

Nit Picking: Nothing.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen a must! You could also rent the fabulous documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Film Maker's Apocalypse which is almost as interesting as the film.

Length: Three hours and fifteen minutes. (I know, I know...but I can break my own rules whenever I want.)