Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Apocalypse Now and Then

Ms. Beveridge had never seen the original Apocalypse Now/Apocalypse Now Redux (1979). I had never seen the extended Redux cut. So we queued it up.

First, I was surprised by how silly a lot of it was. I vividly remembered the first scene, "Still in Saigon" with Martin Sheen dancing around to the Doors as hallucinatory and delirious.On second watch, deliriously silly. It gets much better after that - at least the "Charlie don't surf" scene was intended to be funny.

The new material was mainly a meeting between the crew on the boat and a plantation of French colonists. The decision to cut this was a smart one in my opinion.

Then back to silliness when the crew finally meets Col. Kurtz - the bald and rotund Marlon Brando. Even without Dennis Hopper hoppering about, it's pretty hard to take seriously.

I can't really comment much on the differences between the cuts, except for the plantation scene. I was slipping in and out of sleep toward the end. Afterwards, I told Ms. Spenser that the last scenes were very different - they had cut out the "Are my methods unsound?" scene. No, she told me, that was definitely in the movie. What about the buffalo sacrifice? That was in as well. I just slept through them.

It's OK, I was really mainly interested in Mickey Hart's River Music. Hart, a drummer for the Grateful Dead, along with Billy Kreutzmann, his fellow drummer, Zakir Hussain, and others, contributed a jungle drumming soundtrack that mostly got cut. But what's left adds a lot.

1 comment:

Mythical Monkey said...

I saw both cuts of this in the theater, each when they were originally released, and infinitely prefer the original 1979 version. If you'll pardon a sports analogy, the original is a long, snaking forty foot put that rolls right to the cup, hangs there for a moment, then falls in. The Redux cut move the cup to the other side of the green so that now the put comes up twenty feet short.

The original had only exactly enough momentum to get through the material. Redux goes on and on and by making everything explicit reveals how half-baked and cliched the underlying ideas actually are.