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UHD Review A few words about...™ Apocalypse Now Final Cut -- in 4k UHD Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. Message #1 of 65 Aug 30, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2019
    Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Thoughts bouncing around.

    They begin with a confused public reception, as this is without a doubt, the Best Picture of 1979.

    Not that it wasn't nominated. It was.

    Along with seven other nominations: Film Editing, Sound, Cinematography, Screenplay based from Another Medium, Art/ Set Direction, Director, Supporting Actor.

    It won for Sound and Cinematography.

    This is another of those films for which I'm jealous of those seeing it for the first time. So if you fit into that category, make certain that you see it (if not theatrically) on the best possible 4k system, with Atmos - and LOUD.

    My initial exposure was in early September of 1979, returning to New York with a French friend, who spoke little English, from Telluride. We saw it at the Ziegfeld, and he was bowled over by the audio and the visuals. He didn't need no dialogue.

    And he understood wide screen. Boy, did he ever!

    I was going to note that it's one of the most important films of the 1970s, and realized that I'd be giving Apocalypse short shrift, as it's one of the finest films ever made.

    Lionsgate's new edition is probably also the best buy on the market for an important film, in a top quality restoration - and a restoration it is. Probably less than 10% sold as such are, in reality.

    I'll get into that in a separate piece.

    I picked up a copy at Target. It wasn't yet displayed, so a young lady was kind enough to find one in the back for me. While waiting, I looked around at other 4k films, and their prices. The Toy Story series, runs$30. Wonder Woman runs $37, Dumbo $35, Iron Man films $30, Avengers Endgame $35. They're all up there.

    Which makes Apocalypse, in a six-disc set, with two 4k discs (Final Cut & Redux), the bargain of the season, at $25.

    For those hiding beneath a rock by the river, the film was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, written by John Milius, and Mr. Coppola, photographed by Vittorio Storaro (yes, it's presented in 2.35), with production design by Dean Tavoularis. The Final Cut was edited by Walter Murch, who also gave us sound design.

    The basic cast, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms, Harrison Ford, Dennis Hopper, G.D. Spradlin, Scott Glenn, a very young Laurence Fishburne, and Marlon Brando as Kurtz.

    The film is based upon a novel that some might consider unfilmable - Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, first published in 1899, and which had little to do with the Vietnam conflict.

    Those who know the film don't need to be sold on it.

    This edition is huge, and a technical marvel, with the very best of scans, color, clean-up and audio.

    Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, and I'll answer the big question right up front.

    No.

    The subs in your home cannot handle the low frequency information on the film.

    But you can give it a try.

    Do I believe this is the best version?

    Probably, although I also appreciate the longer Redux.



    Image – 5 (Dolby Vision)

    Audio – 5 (Dolby Atmos)

    Pass / Fail – Pass

    Upgrade from Blu-ray - You'd better believe it!

    Extremely Highly Recommended

    RAH

     
  2. BornOfAJackal

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    Saw this as a DCP at the Cinerama Dome, Hollywood. I got the impression during the temple scenes with Brando that the projector system there didn't really do HDR, as the blacks around Brando were milky.

    In furtherance of my education in color processes, what kind of film was used in the primary Mitchell cameras on this one? Was it multipack film w. separation layers? I'd imagine so with color this vivid.
     
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  3. atcolomb

    atcolomb Screenwriter

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    Saw the movie when it came out with my brother and when we left the theater we both were in a daze. One of the best war films and happy I have my 4k player & tv to see it.
     
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  4. Worth

    Worth Producer

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    The downside is that this is one of those films - along with Lawrence of Arabia and 2001 - that no home cinema can do justice. These films need to be seen on the largest screen possible.
     
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  5. Message #5 of 65 Aug 30, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
    Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    IIRC a handful of prints of Apocalypse Now were the last ones done using Dye Transfer from Technicolor Italy.
     
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  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    That was Tech Burbank c. 2000
     
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  7. WillG

    WillG Lead Actor

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    One that made me nervous so far was the opening shot. As much as the video on this is being praised, I think the opening shot looks pretty lousy, the sky reminded me of the snow on old television sets that weren’t receiving a signal. And the when all the smoke came in that looked problematic as well. I was worried there was something wrong with my display (LG OLED, Oppo UHD player). Checked it on my Samsung 4K display and looked the same there as well, so I was somewhat relieved. But anyone else noticing this?
     
  8. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    "They begin with a confused public reception, as this is without a doubt, the Best Picture of 1979."

    Yes.+++

    Thanks for the great review. I will be picking this up, even though I just saw it in IMAX twice only a month ago.
     
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  9. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    $22.96 at the local Walmart.
     
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  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I’m seeing zero problems, in projection. Looks like an EK print, as what you’re seeing is the camera neg. Keep in mind, that there are Opticals.
     
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  11. owen35

    owen35 Stunt Coordinator

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    If I remember the story correctly, that opening shot was never formally planned and was found footage. Coppola saw it in a bin of discarded shots, pulled it up, and came up with the idea of using it. Perhaps it was discarded due to its poor quality.
     
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  12. lark144

    lark144 Supporting Actor

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    Lots of opticals, especially during the opening scene, and as I recall, the grain spikes and flows a bit. I can testify the film has always looked like that, as I was sitting in the front row center at the Ziegfeld for the first show on opening day. Those were the only seats that were left. It happened to be my birthday, and I wasn't going to miss seeing this, no matter how close to the screen I was. In fact, since this was a 70mm blow-up (for the multi-channel mag sound) the grain was even more pronounced.

    And yes, the color was unlike anything I've ever seen before or since, making FANTASIA look positively glum by comparison. I particularly remember the scene in the jungle with the tiger, where the greens and yellows and blues seem to take on a life of their own, overpowering the actors in the scene as well as the narrative. And no, all the other iterations I've seen on home video, and including the screening in IMAX of REDUX back in the early 90's I think, which I believe was also a 70mm blow-up, didn't come close.

    Going back to that first screening at the Ziegfeld, I will say that sitting in the front row, the surround sounds, in particular that synthesizer-treated helicopter, seemed more pronounced. There were stereo surround speakers on both ends of the screen, and it was really loud, yet dynamic for you could hear the quieter background noise of the jungle mixed in. A magnificent track, and if this 4K looks and sounds half as good as Mr. Harris says it does, this is going to be quite a treat.
     
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  13. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    Yeah its B-Roll from the Napalm Drop. That opening shot's looked lousy on every home video release. Its deficiencies exist on a film level.

    BTW -- can anybody answer if they restored the 5.1 sound to the Complete Dossier extras that had them originally?
     
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  14. EnricoE

    EnricoE Supporting Actor

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    What do you mean by with No?

    Also, what's the Dolby 2.0 track for? Is it the original theatrical mix, especially for the theatrical cut in this set or merely for compatible reasons?
     
  15. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    The Next sentence.

    “The subs in your home cannot handle the low frequency information on the film.

    But you can give it a try.”
     
  16. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Compatibility. Orig mix was 6-trk 70mm, baby booms, split surrounds
     
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  17. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    The blacks in the Kurtz scenes were deliberately milky -- both to enhance the mystique of Kurtz, and to obscure the fact that Marlon Brando arrived on set out of shape and morbidly obese.
     
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  18. willyTass

    willyTass Supporting Actor

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    Yet by today’s Obesity Epidemic he looked quite trim
     
  19. MacTex

    MacTex Agent

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  20. Larry Geller

    Larry Geller Supporting Actor

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    My OPPO 203 does not play the 4K discs properly. All blacks show up as crimson. I had to watch the digital copy to see Dolby Vision, but lost the Atmos in the process, as my TV does not pass Atmos. This seems to be a problem with all Paramount 4K discs, as A Star Is Born had the same problem. Is anyone else with an OPPO experiencing this?
     

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