Thursday, January 13, 2011

1979 - 2001 - APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX, the extended version shows how good the original version is

This review should be more about my foolish purchase of the extended version of Apocalypse Now.  Francis Ford Coppola who hadn't had a hit film in a while and possessing a large ego added back in almost an hour of footage into his original cut of his film.  The additional scenes mostly consisted of the crew's visit to a French Plantation in Vietnam.  Coppola re-released it calling it a reworking of the original film.

Where the original Apocalypse Now ran into trouble was towards the end where Coppola went all surreal on the audience with a weird Dennis Hopper spouting gibberish and Marlon Brando appearing to improvise his entire performance.  This extended version didn't even attempt to clarify those scenes. 

Still, you can see the original film among the new mediocre scenes that were reinserted after probably being deemed disappointing in the first cut.  The big helicopter attack with the Wagner music is extremely well done and the cinematography by Vittorio Storato is very impressive.  Coppola had plenty of brilliant scenes in the first part of his film to make you forget the complete mess that the last   part of the film turned into.

Apocalypse Now was a big production with big problems.  Advised by Roger Corman not to film in the Philippines during the monsoon season.  Coppola went ahead anyway only to see a hurricane destroy his sets.  Martin Sheen had a heart attack and Marlon Brando showed up extremely overweight forcing Coppola to shut down production while he rewrote the last part of the film to incorporate Marlon Brando's appearance and somewhat irrational behavior. 

There is an even longer version of Apocalypse Now called the bootleg version which runs 289 (almost 5 hours).

202 minutes

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