Which Apocalypse Now DVD to get?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Aaron Thorne, Nov 18, 2004.

  1. Aaron Thorne

    Aaron Thorne Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm getting ready to renew my Columbia House membership and the 5 enrollment DVDs I've chosen to pick up are 2001, Lawrence of Arabia, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, and Apocalypse Now. Only being 21 I've never been exposed to many of the classics past films like the Godfather, SW, Jaws, etc. so I figured now is the time.

    My question is which version of Apocalypse Now should I pick up. CH has both the theatrical cut or redux. I know redux is the longer cut which I usually prefer but does one have a better transfer than the other? Are they both anamorphic? They should really release an SE of this film with both versions included, and new artwork wouldn't hurt as the current is hidious.

    A side note, I picked up Deer Hunter last week and was blown away. Hopefully Apacolypse Now is just as good.
     
  2. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Pick up both, buy a regular-sized keepcase with an extra floating tray and stick with the original release cover art and you've got your 2-disc Special Edition right there. That's what I've done, and I think both releases are significant in their own right, both in terms of content and extra features. There's no way you could go wrong.
     
  3. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Actually, the "new" Redux material is also larded into other scenes, some of which also have been shuffled a bit. You can't avoid them all, and most are (IMO) totally unwelcome (especially the way they alter the dynamic between Willard and the boys, and also the way they suck the life out of the narrative drive).

    The original cut has been called "permanently retired" by Coppola & Co, but who knows what that means. Most likely it's retired until Zoetrope needs a cash infusion. But, again, it's at least possible that the original cut won't be available in the future (I believe this is still the official line, even though I don't entirely believe what they say).

    IMO, the perfect release would have all those "extra scenes" in a deleted scene section and not cut into the film. They're worth seeing, I guess, except for the extra scene with the bunnies and the mind-numbingly awful attempts at either acknowledging or spoofing the early feminist line (hard to tell which given how clunky the scene comes off), plus all that extraneous crap about the stolen surfboard and shit-shooting that makes Willard seem a different character than we've known all these years. They can leave all that on the cutting room floor, for all I care. The French plantation scene is the biggest addition, but it's mostly a bunch of ciphers spouting didacticisms and an awful, sentimental love scene for Willard. Crap, IMO. And it brings the movie to an utter standstill, where formerly it careened into the Do Long bridge sequence.

    No, I do not like Redux.
     
  4. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    I didn't care for the new scenes in Redux at all and am glad I kept my original version. Sheen's character seemed too buddy-buddy with the gang on the boat and that took away from his single-minded trek upriver after Kurtz, to me.
     
  5. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Totally agree with Rich, I watched the Redux recently and I was skipping chapters trying to get the film back to how I remembered it. There was great curiosity value when I first saw the Redux, fascinating to see all these extra scenes from one of my favorite films, but now the 'fun' is over, I want the original 1979 theatrical in my dvd collection. It's been released on region 2, the only extras are the destruction of Kurtz compound with director's commentary and excerpts from the original program, I think I'd better buy it before it disappears forever.
     
  6. Aaron Thorne

    Aaron Thorne Stunt Coordinator

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    It is also available is Region 1 and is anamorphic.

    Cover Art


    You all have convinced me to go with the theatrical cut. Although I may make my own SE as Marco suggested.
     
  7. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    The theatrcial version is the better film.Its the one to get.

    I have both though. Ive only put on Redux once to see the extended scenes, since some are a hoot.As said above ,its nice to see them,but they deserved to be cut.

    "the only extras are the destruction of Kurtz compound"

    I LOVE that footage and its worth buying that version for this stuff alone.I remember seeing AN on HBO during the early 80s and Im almost positive that footage was included at the end.

    Awesome stuff - whenever I watch AN, I put that footage on after the film is over.
     
  8. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    Go with the original. I don't think the added scenes help - in fact, I feel they hurt the film...
     
  9. Elijah Sullivan

    Elijah Sullivan Supporting Actor

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    I was bored to tears by Redux -- uninterested in the story, in the characters, in anything besides Vittorio Stororo's photography (which is hard to mess up in the editing). This is odd, because the theatrical cut had me on the edge of my seat for the entire running time, fascinated by every scene, every performance, and pulverized by so many of the classic sequences.

    And to be honest, I thought the video and sound quality of the Redux DVD were very poor. Even an old disc should be able to perform as well. If you're only going to get one version, definately get the theatrical cut. It's an absolutely great film.

    In fact, I think I'll go buy it right now. I had been holding out for a Special Edition, but it sounds like that won't be happening anytime in the near future. Enjoy the movie!


    P.S. As for the notion that the new scenes are on seperate chapters. That may be true that many of the scenes exist on both versions, but Redux was re-edited from scratch. I'm guessing that even though the content of the scenes may be almost identical in some cases, the editing itself is never the same. Over 230 hours of footage was shot for the film Apocalypse Now, and both times the film was edited they made completely different selections out of that material for the two cuts. Out of 230 hours, only three were used. The odds are that the two movies have very little footage in common, and editing itself is 100% new. You are not watching the same movie at all when you watch Redux. In fact, it's a textbook example of how editing can change the nature of a film. That was actually the most fascinating thing about Redux, for me: how different it could be, from scene-to-scene. The tone was different, the pacing different, the cadence of the scenes... everything. Fascinating.
     
  10. Alan Kurland

    Alan Kurland Stunt Coordinator

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    I had both versions. I watched Redux, and felt that I wasn't sure about the "additional" stuff, and the pacing.It was long, and I doubt I'd ever watch it again, with the volume of DVDs that I've never watched! I traded my Redux in and kept the original. If they did a special edition, I suppose I'd get that, for now the original will suffice.
     
  11. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

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    Simply put. Apocalypse Now is a MASTERPIECE. Easily on my top 5 list of all time. Redux is complete garbage. It totally takes away the intensity and darkness of the film. Terrible pace. And the editing in it just seemed wrong.


    Even though IMO the audio and video are superior to the theatrical cut, there is no way that I would EVER watch the Redux version again.

    Get the theatrical version.
     
  12. Yancy Berns

    Yancy Berns Extra

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    Ah, it's time for a little dissent.

    I would argue that most of the votes for the theatrical "Apocalypse" are, themselves, sentimental choices. Once you're in love with a picture, it's very hard to accept a "new version"...

    Personally, I never thought the theatrical was much of a success. Overtly pretentious and inhuman, fashionably nihilistic.

    The "Redux", however, is a much more human film - possibly a masterpiece. It's longer, but it feels shorter, because it's easier to get involved. If you haven't seen the film before (and it sounds like you haven't), then my recommendation is for the "Redux"

    There's nothing more conservative than a film geek. If an earlier cut of the film presents Willard as a chillier guy, then a new cut that allows him a little warmth will seem "wrong," simply because conservative film guys will feel that such modifications are part of an endless march towards niceness and mediocrity (when the nihilism was what they responded to in the original cut)

    But, as with George Lucas, I always defer to the creator. Coppola knows more about the film in his mind than the film's biggest fans - the changes he made to the film in the "Redux" are, in my mind, across-the-board successful. He took a ragged mess made by an trouble mind and turned it into a cohesive might-be masterpiece.

    Imagine, perhaps, if you stranded fifteen guys on a desert island their whole lives and showed them "The Empire Strikes Back," but you cut out the end so they never knew Vader was Luke's father. If you, years later, brought them back to the mainland and showed them the real cut of the film, they would object. "No! This isn't the movie! They've ruined it! How could Vader be Luke's father?" Their whole understanding of the film would be based on the ragged version they had grown accustomed to. They would refuse to budge or accept any changes, becuase that takes the power of understanding the work away from them and puts it back in the hands of the artist.

    It's a tricky thing, and I'm sure to get flamed here (anybody that prefers the original "Apocalypse," by necessity drawn to darkness and madness, will see me as a apologist and certainly attack) but I'll bet you dollars to donuts that, if you've never seen either, you'll prefer the "Redux"...

    It's just like "Star Wars," again. If you had never seen or grown up with the original films, do you think your reaction to the '97 changes would be so violent? Would the changes really stand out as wrongheaded? Or is that reaction based more on unshakable subjectivity?
     
  13. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    But when one speaks of Coppola, it's like a tale of two directors. It's a bit of a simplification (and there's that middle mediocre period that I'm glossing over), but I think the basic concept is solid:

    The first Coppola is the director who created "The Godfather", "The Conversation", "The Godfather II", "Apocalypse Now".

    The second Coppola is the director who created "The Godfather III", "Jack", "The Rainmaker", "Supernova", and, of course, "Redux".

    I'll take the films of Coppola the first any day, but so far as I'm concerned you can keep the entire output of Coppola the second... including "Redux"! [​IMG]

    (A fairer response would address your points directly, but it's Friday, I'm losing momentum fast, and the search funtion will bring up long threads of just this kind of debate.)
     
  14. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

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    I'm still waiting for them to release Hearts of Darkness on DVD so I can put together my three disk Special Edition...
     
  15. PaulEB

    PaulEB Stunt Coordinator

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    Aaron,

    I own the non-Redux version and I have seen the Redux version in Boston when it was in the theaters. I have to agree with most people here, the non-redux version is probably the one to get. Hopefully some day we will get a special edition which includes Hearts of Darkness as an extra. A commentary would be nice also. I wish Coppola would get with it.

    P.S. Nice signature!
     
  16. Yancy Berns

    Yancy Berns Extra

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    I whole-heartedly agree that Coppola's artistic decline has been major, but I refuse to throw "Redux" on the junkheap simply to fortify that argument. If he had gone back and shot new scenes and plugged them in, and those scenes felt like they were from the director of "Jack," there would be no argument here. The addition of the love scene and the French Plantation scene do not feel less "artful" or immediate to me - they simply add different modes to a picture that, in it's original 150 minute cut, begins to feel like high school poetry by the end. A world view that allows for no warmth or peace or humor always strikes me as juvenile.

    It's also a mistake to assume that Coppola's artistic decline represents a true atrophy of the artistic instincts. He simply has become a studio man - but does that mean he's incapable of producing something passionate? I would argue that "Tucker" is wildly underrated, and that both "Dracula" and "Peggy Sue Got Married" are as good as maverick-for-hire films have ever gotten.
     
  17. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Aaron, make sure you get the right Lawrence while you are at it. There are THREE DVD versions out there: the good (superbits 2 disc), the bad (SE 2 disc), and the ugly (single disc "supercompressor").
     
  18. Elijah Sullivan

    Elijah Sullivan Supporting Actor

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    You Redux supporters sure make a good argument. While I still think that the threatrical version is the most successful, perhaps the Redux is worth a look for someone who has already seen the original version.


    Very true. I've often thought this, as well. But although the original Apocalypse Now was somewhat (though not completely) lacking in warmth and humor, it always struck me as appropriate.

    Coppola's artistic intent for that film has always been under attack. And even though said intentions may have collapsed -- or been lost -- during the editing, the original cut of the film seemed to take on a life of it's own. It had a real feeling of momentum, moving down the river. The editing of the film seemed to draw more from the emotions than from intellectual conceits.

    For me, the Redux version offers the death of the emotional core of the film in favor of a more intellectual concept of art. The original cut felt more empassioned, more emotionally in tune with the concept of going down the river and into the heart of darkness, playing more to realism and psychology. The new version is abstract, dreamlike, and obsessed with drawing intellectual conclusions to things that the original version offered to be incomprehensible.

    Watching Redux almost felt like having 2001 re-cut to make everything explicit. It may have been more artistically successful, but it came at a price. It lost a sense of awe -- an adolescent sense of awe, perhaps. But I'd rather have an adolescent sense of awe than an adult's sarcastic sense of humor.

    Example: The "Rise of the Valkyries" heliocopter assault sequence. In the original version, there's a mad intensity to the sequence, a real sense of things being totally out of control. In the Redux version, the whole thing is placed in the context of being about surfing, so that the whole scene becomes a giant joke, with a massacre being the punchline. The movie picked the wrong moment to pull a Dr. Strangelove and become a war satire. I love Strangelove and I love Apocalypse Now, but I would never in a million years have thought to link them. It's just wrong. That's one of my main objections to the film -- it doesn't just humanize Willard (I already thought he was the most human character in the film, the only one who seems to feel any sincere guilt or pathos) but Coppola turned him into a goofy surfboard-stealing adolescent who can't take anything seriously.

    It really didn't work for me. It wasn't a matter of contrast with the earlier version, but a matter of taste. I'd prefer a stolid, aloof Willard to a silly and childish one.

    This is maybe the only time I can think of where I didn't like a director's cut or a special edition more than the original. I am always supportive of the director creating newer versions of his work in an effort to improve upon them. That's a natural instinct, to try to improve. And I support Apocalypse Now Redux. I just don't think it nearly approaches the greatness of the first film.
     

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