Comparative Analysis of Apocalypse Now to Apocalypse Now: Redux
This is an immense war epic, which is set during the tough times when the Vietnam War was taking place. Apocalypse Now depicts the confusion, fear, violence and madness that took place during the start and all through the Vietnam War. It tries to help the audience understand the turmoil that the people who lived in that area underwent in their search for freedom and security. The surreal and systematic way in which the movie is scripted is hugely reflected in its production. The movie captures an army captain by the name Willard as the main character. He is sent on an ‘off the books’ mission, that requires him to make a journey on the Nung river (Milius and Francis 34). The overall objective of the mission was to find a man, Kurtz, who had led his army over Cambodia’s border and eliminate him.
Colonel Kurtz was considered a real threat to the safety of the people living within the border as he was responsible for carrying out the hit and run operations, that were constantly taking place there. However, it is important to note that the intent behind his elimination was very prejudiced hence the order that the operation be a silent one. As Willard sets out to find his target, he soon finds out that the person he is supposed to eliminate is a top ranking, highly decorated officer within the US army. With the help of another Lieutenant, Kilgore, he is able to cross the river, and action begins when they are attacked by Kurtz. Willard suffers a terrible loss as some of his troop members are killed during the violent upsurge (Cowie 47). Willard and the rest of the surviving members of his troop are then forced to become hostages of the man that they intended to kill. After serving time in internment, Willard is allowed to go free and given the freedom to use the compound as he pleased. He is lectured on different theories by his adversary, Kurtz. Willard finally gets the opportunity to kill him and with his mission completed, the movie ends.
Apocalypse Now: Redux
This is a fast passed movie, which depicts the works of a real masterpiece. It is considered to be among the best celluloid pieces ever to be produced. It brings out both the ugliness of the Vietnam War as well as exposing the darkness that is deep within the heart of mankind. It is a remake of the original Apocalypse Now, adding about 40 more minutes to it. This remake is very interesting as it seeks to bring out the aspects that were left out in the first film. It delves deeper into the details intently defining the horrors and problems that Willard and his group face as they travel in search of Kurtz (Coppola, et al 23).
In the Apocalypse Now: Redux there are certain scenes that are restored from the premiere version. These scenes include the encounter with the Playboy bunnies, the dinner on the French plantation, the main scene that included Kurtz and Willard. This latter scene was very important as it helped bring to light the character of Kurtz. The main reason why the remake of the Apocalypse Now was done was so that certain improvements could be made within the film. The soundtrack was changed to include a much fuller one (Milius and Francis 34). The scenes that were restored were done so with the intention of ensuring that greater details of the characters could be brought out.
Apocalypse Now vs. Apocalypse Now Redux
In my view, I do believe that the redux version of the Apocalypse is much better than its premier, Apocalypse Now. The reason for this is that I find the latter version of the movie to be far more expansive, lucid, shocking, detailed, funny and insightful than the original version. In comparison with the latter edition, the original movie feels like it was not well thought out and poorly executed. Although it is quite spectacular, it does contain a large number of flaws. An example is seen as the producer decides to use Vietnam as a backdrop. He is unable to bring out the details of the war that took place, but it focuses on the not so important exploration of the human mind.
Some people argue that the Apocalypse Now is better. Their reason is that it was done in such a way that it personalized the film, capturing its viewers by having them experience a surreal feeling. I however feel that it is quite shallow and simple, as it does not effectively capture the storyline, as it ought. It leads us down the dark path that Willard takes and shows us that he triumphs in the end. There is some discord however in determining how it is that Willard was able to reach his tunnels end, and walk out into the light. There is also very little insight portrayed on the minor characters. This only makes the film monotonous, as the entire storyline is focused on Willard.
Apocalypse Now: Redux can be considered successful in bringing out clearly the roles played by different characters in the movie. The original version seems to concentrate more on the main characters such as Kilgore and Willard, while the redux version emphasizes on even the minor characters such as Colonel Lucas and Captain Richard. In this later version, the producers ensured that all characters played an equally important role in bringing out the dreadful consequences of war. The Captain for example is seen telling of how he “eagerly awaited the day when there would be no more war in Vietnam” (Coppola, et al 45).
It is important that the supporting characters also have an impact within any movie, rather than just having banter as well as reacting to different things that are taking place around them. Although the Apocalypse Redux version does little to improve on the support characters, there is more time, which is given to them within the film therefore giving us more insight on their characters, and the social status that they have with the lead character (Cowie 47). Despite the positive aspects that the original version might have, there is another problem that I had with it. I find it weird that although the setting was during a time of war with bloodshed and sadness, there was hardly any aspect of this that was brought out by the characters.
The movie can be considered to show the attractive side of destruction and war. It portrays death and horror in a kind of grace making it perverse in the real artistic sense. However, these were balanced out with the few horrific scenes within it. The film can also be said to be contradictory, as there are certain ambiguities that are hard to explain. Although these ambiguities can be said to be deliberate, they take the edge of the film, as there are certain aspects that are left hanging. The Apocalypse Now: Redux on the other hand filters away any kind of idea that war and destruction is attractive. It brings out certain aspects that the Apocalypse Now had sorely missed.
The Redux film is also quite humorous than the former had been. Willard is no longer as stern faced as he previously was and is therefore able to make fun with his support characters. The latter version of the film also seems to make more sense than the former. This is because it detracts from the original story line incorporating all other aspects of the film. It does not concentrate solely on the Willard character, for the plot development. The storyline of the Apocalypse Now: Redux has new additional scenes, such as that of the French Plantation. It makes the film seem more authentic, while giving much more information on the Vietnam War (Milius and Francis 34).
It is clearly visible that the original movie tries to avoid political ambiguity and prefer to openly portray the war lords as gung-ho loonies and hypocrites, while referring to their juniors as foolish, susceptible, hedonistic teenagers. This goes to make the movie have a feel of narrowness and nihilistic anarchy. The Apocalypse Now: Redux on the other hand offers a certain political angle of the story by including the French plantation scene (Coppola, et al 23). This seeks to outline clearly the differences that are present between the French and American people. The latter movie also makes great improvements on the closing scenes, by giving characters like Brando ample screen time, therefore revealing more of his character (Milius and Francis 34).The grand finale is however largely similar to that of Apocalypse Now with no changes made to it. However, I still feel that the Apocalypse Now: Redux is far greater that its original.
The redux version brings out some important aspects left out in the original. An example of this is whereby Lance is handed a clean pair of shorts by Kilgore which he has on for the remaining part of the movie. In the original version of the movie, we come across Lance wearing a new pair of shorts without an explanation as to where he got them. This leaves the viewer with unnecessary suspense, rendering the movie incomplete. We can therefore assert that Apocalypse Now: redux is a complete version of the original movie since it seems to cover the loopholes left out in Apocalypse Now.
Other new scenes are included in the new version of Apocalypse to make it more interesting and complete. One of these scenes is the one brought in where the members of the crew are basking by the riverside. They seem to be hiding from Kilgore whom they had taken his surfing board. The new scene is that of a helicopter flying by with Kilgore’s recorded voice requesting Lance to give him his surfing board back (Milius and Francis 43). They assume the voice recording and move on with their journey eating mangoes along the way. This scene adds more humor to the story especially the part of the helicopter with the recorded voice. At first, the crew thought that Kilgore had come after them and it is funny how they were trying to find ways of escaping before realizing that it was a repetitive recorded voice. It is also humorous how they react when they realize that Kilgore has made a fool of them.
Coppola, Mamie, Francis, Coppola, and Joseph, Conrad. Apocalypse Now Redux. S.l.: Nonesuch, 2001. Print.
Cowie, Peter. The Apocalypse Now Book. Cambridge, Mass: Da-Capo Press, 2001. Print.
Milius, John, and Francis, Coppola. Apocalypse Now Redux: An Original Screenplay. New York, NY: Talk Miramax Books/Hyperion, 2000. Print.