Thursday, 9 September 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 359 - Apocalypse WOW!

7 - Apocalypse Now - 4 stars
That's right. After much deliberation over which version of the film I should watch: original or redux, I decided to go with public opinion and plumped for the original. Two factors were key. 1. The running time. 152 minutes rather than 194. 2. The film title in the list was Apocalypse Now, NOT Apocalypse Now Redux.
A nice touch to start with The End, as President Jed Bartlett takes the ultimate boat trip up river into the heart of darkness to find a fat Jor-El babbling away about "the horror, the horror" of war.
This movie is probably the Woodstock of 'Nam, being the most trippy excursion into the jungle that has been put on film.
Of course, getting that onto film turned out to be a struggle. They say that war is hell but making this film aruguably was even worse for Coppola but he came out the other side with his reputation intact and it even inspired a spoof in the form of Tropic Thunder.
Due the nature of most films that feature a journey with a final destination in mind, the narrative can feel somewhat episodic: some travelling on the boat, stop for a while to meet some people, travel some more, do some fighting, travel some more, see a tiger, etc, etc, etc.
The individual moments are all very good whether it be Robert Duvall talking about napalm and surfing, the editing at the beginning with the helicopters becoming ceiling fans or Dennis Hopper babbling about Kurtz's genius, but overall I found it difficult for the film to gel together as a whole.
P.S. I had forgotten that Harrison Ford was in this. That means that he is the only actor to appear three times in the Top Ten. I'm sure you can work out which films they are.

My top five war films from the list:
1. Downfall
2. Paths Of Glory
3. The Thin Red Line
4. Apocalypse Now
5. The Great Escape

I can conclude that the best war films come from World War 2 but Vietnam had the best soundtrack. Not including Intergalactic Civil War in a galaxy far, far away of course!

Days remaining - 6 Films remaining - 6

1 comment:

  1. Was platoon on the list? I always felt that it was a better anti-war film, but then Apocalypse Now does show the crazyness of the war, and doesn't it also star "Larry" Fishburne?