Both the 1979 original theatrical film and the "Redux" theatrical edition are presented on this three-disc Blu-ray Disc™ Full Disclosure Edition, including the documentary "Hearts Of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse." Nominated for eight Academy Awards® and winner of two, "Apocalypse Now" is the stunning masterpiece of Director Francis Ford Coppola about the insanities of the Vietnam War. The film chronicles a mission led by Captain Willard (Sheen) during the Vietnam War to assassinate Colonel Kurtz (Brando), who is rumored to have gone insane. Escorted to the mouth of the Nung River by Captain Kilgore (Duvall), Willard's crew must travel up the river deep into the heart of Vietnam to get to Kurtz in Cambodia. On finally reaching their destination, they learn that Kurtz is worshiped by the local villagers. An American photographer (Hopper), who is caught up in the madness, explains the villagers' devotion to Kurtz, which causes Willard to question his orders. Twenty-two years after his initial theatrical cut of Apocalypse Now, Francis Coppola returned to the material and created an expanded and re-edited version. This classic is a powerful and chilling tale, which is also a highlight on the American Film Institute's (AFI) list of 100 Years...100 Movies. Based loosely on Joseph Conrad's novel "Heart Of Darkness." The documentary "Hearts Of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" is a must-see insightful experience with commentary by Eleanor and Francis Ford Coppola. (Gary Reber)
Disc One of the three-disc Full Disclosure Edition contains the original theatrical version of "Apocalypse Now" (02:27:17) and the "Redux" (revision) (03:16:09). Special features include commentary by Director Francis Ford Coppola and BD-Touch functionality. Disc Two's special features include an interview with John Milius by Coppola (HD 49:45); a conversation with Martin Sheen and Coppola (HD 59:26); the complete Coppola interview with Roger Ebert at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival (HD 38:35); the original 1938 Mercury Theatre Radio Reading of "Heart Of Darkness" featuring Orson Wells (36:34); "Destruction Of The Kurtz Compound" end credits with commentary by Coppola (HD 06:06); "The Hollow Men" video of Marlon Brando reading T.S. Eliot's poem (HD 16:57); nine featurettes: "Fred Roos: Casting" (HD 11:44), "A Million Feet Of Film: The Editing Of Apocalypse Now" (HD 17:57), "The Music Of Apocalypse Now" (HD 14:46), "The Birth Of 5.1" (HD 05:54), "Heard Any Good Movies Lately?: The Sound Design Of Apocalypse Now" (HD 15:52), "The Final Mix" (HD 03:09), "Apocalypse Then And Now" (HD 03:44), "The Color Palette Of Apocalypse Now" (HD 04:06), and "PBR Streetgang" (HD 04;09); the Monkey Sampan "lost scene" (HD 03:03); a "Ghost Helicopter Flyover" sound effects demonstration (HD 03:55); "The Synthesizer Soundtrack" article by music synthesizer inventor Bob Moog; and 12 additional scenes (SD 26:28). Disc Three contains the documentary "Hearts Of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" with optional commentary with Eleanor and Francis Ford Coppola (HD 01:36:00). The Full Disclosure Edition includes a 48-page collectible printed booklet with a special note from Coppola, never-before-seen archives from the set, behind the scenes photos, and more. The "Apocalypse Now 2-Film Set is available also sans the "Hearts Of Darkness" documentary.
Originally released theatrically in anamorphic Technovision at the theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and 70 mm blowup format at 2.20:1, the film was reviewed as a LaserDisc release in Issue 1 and 25, then as an anamorphically enhanced DVD in Issue 36 at 1.97:1, and in the "Redux" version in Issue 56 at an aspect ratio of 2.00:1. Both 1080p AVC versions presented on the two Blu-ray™ platters are framed at 2.35:1. These versions are true to the filmmakers' creative vision, with an overall darker presentation that perfectly depicts impressive dimensionality and resolution, with exceptional color accuracy. Interestingly, the two previous DVD transfers were supervised by Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, AIC/ASC and framed at the requested 2.00:1 aspect ratio, which he preferred. Nevertheless, the cinematography in either aspect ratio is wonderful. These new transfers exhibit a color palette even more naturally rendered, with full saturation and accurate hues, which finally reveals the wonderul hues depicted in the three-strip dye transfer Technicolor® printing process. Fleshtones no longer exhibit the orange push previously apparent in the LaserDisc and DVD presentations. Contrast and shadow delineation are well balanced and exhibit excellent detail in shadows and highlights, which enhances depth and realism. To optimally experience the visual dynamics, the picture should be reviewed in a darkened environment, preferably a black room, with display equipment capable of an exceptional native contrast ratio. Resolution is impressive, with imagery that is significantly cleaner and more detailed. A negative aspect seen on the previous releases was edge enhancement—completely absent here. As well, film grain is nearly noticeable, for a vivid pristine picture experience. This is without question the reference definitive presentation of this cinematic classic and is an absolutely wonderfully exciting visual experience. (Gary Reber)
The DVD's Dolby® Digital discrete 5.1-channel soundtrack, identical to the previously issued LaserDisc, was an impressive remastering that restored the sound for a film which marked a milestone in filmmaking. The soundtrack was one of the first films released in Dolby Stereo 70 mm magnetic six-channel sound with split surrounds. This was also, arguably, the film from which the concept of sound design came about—Walter Murch oversaw all creative aspects of the sound production. What is truly remarkable about this film's sound is that the overall fidelity holds its own with today's digital sound technology. Many films reissued during the same time period sound noticeably dated, but "Apocalypse Now" is definitely the exception. The new DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack faithfully captures every nuance of the master 70 mm soundtrack. The opening sequence of the film, with full-360 seamless panning of a helicopter's whirling blades, clearly delineates the innovative creativity, with sound effects and dimension. The audio can be loud and aggressive, but never strident or overpowering, and in contrast quiet and inward. Martin Sheen's narrative is legendary, sounding close-miked, but never chesty. (The close-miking was actually intentional). The soundfield is always spacious, though, generally biased towards the screen channels, and when appropriate, energized to transport the listener into the intense battles of war. The spaciousness of the soundfield is at times impressive, but at other times questionably absent in scenes that suggest an aggressive surround presence. The music is classic—The Doors, The Rolling Stones, and hauntingly melodic orchestrations and Moog synthesizer instrumentations by the Coppolas, with guitarist Randy Hansen's sinister sounds, as well as improvised primitive percussion interludes by The Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart. Deep bass is powerful and explosive, extending to sub-25 Hz frequencies in the .1 LFE channel. The intelligibility of dialogue in the midst of intense sounds, such as during the attack on the village, is particularly noteworthy. The more quiescent scenes in the jungle are cornerstones in the creative use of ambient surround sound. The dialogue sounds somewhat dated but is clear and understandable, and nicely integrated spatially. There is a greater sense of envelopment and spaciousness, with appreciatively more refinement. The sonic remastering for the added scenes in the "Redux" version is very impressive, nicely integrating into the existing footage. This is one of the all-time classic soundtracks that first achieved a dimensional holosonic® soundfield presence. At times riveting and quiescent, this is an impassively dynamic and spatial soundtrack that still deserves reference-quality stature. (Gary Reber)