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Customer Review

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not "Complete" but hardly awful either, August 15, 2006
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This review is from: Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier (Apocalypse Now / Apocalypse Now Redux) (DVD)
The movies are spread out over two discs with its extras. The biggest omission and the most common criticism leveled at this new set is Hearts of Darkness. The producer of this set has responded that its exclusion was due to legal reasons (whatever that means) and in the process the film's legendary troubled shoot is largely glossed over in the extras. This bit of revisionism on what assumes was Coppola's decision is a bit troubling but the checkered past of the production has been documented extensively elsewhere, most notably in The Apocalypse Now Book by Peter Cowie.

That being said, Coppola's commentary for the movies is actually quite good. Coppola tells all kinds of fascinating anecdotes, like the origin of Colonel Kilgore, and provides many factoids, like the creation of the "Valkryies" sequence, associated with making the movie. The Redux commentary is essentially the same but with new comments over the added footage.

In the film, Kurtz reads excerpts from T.S. Eliot's poem, "The Hollow Men" and this extra features Brando's reading of the entire poem with all kinds of unused footage.

"Monkey Sampan" is a cut scene of the natives in Kurtz's compound singing their own unique rendition of The Doors song, "Light My Fire" that is kinda creepy - the desired effect I'm sure.

Also included are "Additional Scenes" taken from the work print and features, most significantly, additional footage of Scott Glenn's mysterious character and we also find out what happens to Dennis Hopper's photojournalist.

For those interested in the technological aspects of the movie, the "A/V Club" is a collection of featurettes that explore how the origins of the 5.1 surround because, at the time, Coppola wanted to create an epic, Hollywood war film. A second featurette takes a look at the sound design work on the haunting helicopter sound at the beginning of the movie. A text article about the synthesized score is also included. Finally, there is an FAQ that addresses some common questions like the film's proper aspect ratio, the five and half-hour cut and the notion that there were multiple endings.

"The Post Production of Apocalypse Now" is comprised of four featurettes that can be viewed separately or altogether. The first one explores the daunting task of editing a million feet of film stock into a coherent movie. The second featurette takes a look at how the film's score was composed. The original temp track featured songs by The Doors but it was too obvious and so a synthesized score was created with Coppola recruiting the top five artists in the world of this kind of music. The next featurette examines the film's complex sound design and how the director employed Dolby Surround Sound which was virtually unheard of at the time. He wanted to recreate the psychedelic dimension of the times with sound - the effect of a bad acid trip. In conclusion, the final mix is explored. Technicians mixed the movie for nine months, which was very unusual at the time, but required for the intricate soundscape that blended dialogue, music and sound effects.

"PBR Street Gang" features interviews with the actors who played the crew of the boat that takes Willard to Kurtz for the release of the Redux version. All of the actors praise Coppola's knack for allowing them to feel comfortable enough to improvise and immerse themselves in their respective characters.

"Apocalypse Now and Then" juxtaposes footage of the film's original screening at the Cannes Film Festival in 1979 with Redux's premiere at the same festival in 2001. At the time of the original, it wasn't even finished but Coppola wanted to screen it in an effort to quell criticism in the press that it was going to be an expensive failure.

Finally, there is "The Color Palette of Apocalypse Now" that examines the Technicolor process that gave the film its vivid look. The Redux version allowed cinematographer Vittorio Storaro a chance to realize his original vision for how the film should look.
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