Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Apocalypse Now Redux

Col. Kilgore. A surfing, Napalm-smell loving, card-throwing
madman that likes to have Wagner blaring from Hueys.
Such a cliched stereotype...                   Image, marketoracle
Apocalypse Now. In 2002 the finest critics in the world voted it the greatest film of the preceding 25 years for Sight & Sound magazine (the definitive source for such 'Greatest Films' lists). These reviews from Amazon.com, however, are unswayed by these professional reviewers and bravely strike out against this trend. Did I say bravely? I meant badly...:
Judging by this, the original film was salvaged from even more dire material. The former was an insult to both sides who fought in the war (How does it insult both sides? You see very few of your common-or-garden US soldiers. And you don't see any of the Vietnamese). As if a US Colonel would put his men in danger like that. Piffle (I'm afraid you shot down your own argument when you said 'US'. Officers weren't fragged for the good of their health you know. Kudos for you using 'piffle' though). As for Kurtz, the reality was more along the lines of Colonel Norman Schwarzkopf, who according to his autobiography was so appalled by the way a unit he was posted to was run, lined up his men and sacked the incompetent leader in front of them and spent the rest of the war trying to improve matters. He didn't go and sit in the jungle like Kurtz and mumble a lot of existential angst. (Well it isn't meant to be historically accurate in that way. It's based on the novel 'Hearts of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad, updated to the Vietnam War)
'Redux' boasts a truly bizarre scene involving Bunnies. Obviously, the director was making a 'statement' dear to his heart and absurdly irrelevent to the real conflict (The film is about more than just the Vietnam War by the way). Needless to say the film is about American pain with the indigenous population mostly featureless (Well, the indigenous people weren't the focus of the film were they?).
A potentially interesting scene with some French colonials is rendered incomprehensible by rapid exposition and heavy accents (Well they're French aren't they? Why would they sound like they were from California?). The gist of it was that the VC were something of an American Frankenstien monster (Well, they kinda were, weren't they? America has made poor decisions [Vietnam and Iraq for starters] I think you should just accept it. Don't hate anything that suggests America is less than perfect). Despite the French patriarch's flattering description of the VC as intelligent, the film undermines this with some zombified natives willing to lay down their weapons on the whim of an American, regardless of the political issues at stake, because the director wants to make another statement dear to his heart (Actually, they weren't Vietnamese, let alone members of either the NVA or NLF [there was never a group called the Viet Cong. That was made up by the US to make them sound more evil] they were Cambodian). The self righteous disgust of the American in question somewhat undermined by all that carpet bombing. (He was mostly disgusted by Kurtz and the way he portrayed himself as a God. And what carpet bombing? The carpet bombing not depicted in the film? Aside from the Napalm instigated by Colonel Kilgore, there isn't any in the film)
'Apocalypse Now' has been voted into the top 100 best films ever made presumably by people to whom thinking is no doubt an optional extra. (Thinking is very important to Apocalypse Now, what are you talking about? This isn't some Summer Blockbuster you know. Stick to Transformers, eh?)
Be warned, this reviewer isn't any better:
The only thing more ridiculous than Apocalypse Now being on the list of AFI's top 100 movies is that abortion of a film, Citizen Cane Citizen Kane, being number one (Already you're credibility is wavering. An 'abortion' is it? I just wish your mother had had one...). You could sum up the whole movie in an eight-word phrase: a boring, long, pretentious, unoriginal waste of film (Unoriginal? Really? It is long, and I can see why some people might find it boring, but unoriginal?). Francis Ford Coppola should be infinitely ashamed of this disease of a film (Yes, he's definitely going to take your opinion over the likes of: Roger Ebert, Kim Newman and Michael Mann, among others). It is one thing to adapt a book to make a movie, but Apocalypse Now plagiarizes from Heart of Darkness and is still unable to come up with a decent plot. Every plot twist is ripped off directly from Conrad's novel (It doesn't 'plagiarise' it is a valid adaptation. Joseph Conrad is credited for the story for chrissakes, so of course it has the same twists. Moron). Coppola desperately attempts to make the movie his own by filling the movie with nonsense scenes that add nothing to the movie and waste a lot of time ('Add nothing' do they? Thank God the world's leaders gave you ultimate control over what was important and what was not, you've saved us all a lot of time). Can someone explain to me what the scene with the women dancing around then leaving on the helicopter had to do with anything? (It showed that Willard had warmed to his crew and wanted to give them one last bit of fun. Furthermore, this scene and many others were references to the Inferno section of 'The Divine Comedy' [the epic Italian poem by Dante Aligheri, not the Irish band] suggesting Willard and the boat crew's descent into Hell) Or the first scene for that matter? (That was to show how much Willard needed to do this mission, he couldn't adapt to life outside the jungle. The whole scene suggested he was in 'Limbo' furthering the descent into Hell idea.) Furthermore, Coppola continues that try to win "the most unoriginal and uninteresting movie of all time" award by shamelessly exploiting the same war stereotypes seen in EVERY movie ever made about Vietnam (This film was released in 1979 but filming began in 1976/77, it's relatively early as far as the anti-war Vietnam films are concerned. Many of the 'stereotypes' only became stereotypes after the film was released.). The soldiers are smoking dope (The Vietnam film to focus on this most was Platoon, which wasn't released till 1986), the Americans are killing innocent Vietnamese (Well maybe the American troops shouldn't have killed so many innocent Vietnamese then...), and the American commanders are goofy and carefree (and like to surf) (I haven't seen any American commanders like Kilgore in any Vietnam War film I've ever seen. And I've seen most of the major ones. Come to think of it, I can't remember ever seeing a Kilgore-style character in any film. From either before or after this film). The acting of Martin Sheen is unconvincing due to his extremely lack of facial expression (Willard is supposed to be somewhat distanced and lacking in emotion. He wouldn't have worked if he'd been laughing and crying the whole time) and Lawrence Laurence "Larry" Fisherburne is inane (I felt he was the counterpoint to Willard's insular nature). However, the worst offense of this movie, by far and away, was the acting of Marlon Brando (Riiight...). Brando is still doing that stupid Godfather voice. Someone should have told him Don Corlone was dead (Really? The voice of a character who's only in the film for about ten minutes deserves this much hatred does it?). Besides being unintelligible, the shots of Brando's bald head and pantless victims are enough to make me scream "the horror, the horror!" (You seem to be quite scared of naked men. Something you can't admit to yourself there? And how can shots of these things be 'unintelligible'. You could obviously see what was in them...)But the cinematography was really good, though. (Oh praise indeed. Vittorio Storaro's life is now complete [he was the cinematographer by the way]. How can he ever repay you?)
Till next time my loyal fans! And remember, no matter who you are or what you review. If you're shit at reviewing, I'll find you. And I'll mock you.

1 comment:

  1. Find them, mock them, and WEED THEM!
    Not that I'm suggesting we like to hit people with hoes...


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