Smell of Popcorn

film reviews & musings by Max Lalanne

Saturday Spotlight: Apocalypse Now Redux on Netflix streaming

Posted by Max Lalanne on June 16, 2012

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Well, here I am kicking off the first installment of the Saturday Spotlight. Each weekend I’ll be spotlighting one fairly “new” addition to Netflix’s instant streaming service and spotlighting it for you guys – this first Saturday’s pick being Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now Redux. I’m recommending it today, but I won’t hold it against you if you’d rather see the excellent Prometheus instead. The other apparently abominable movies out this weekend…eh, I’ll probably hold it against you. Can you blame me?

I’m recommending the extended, much longer Apocalypse Now Redux, which was released in 2001, instead of 1979’s original cut of Apocalypse Now. Why? Merely because that’s the version I watched, and because there’s apparently 50 glorious minutes of more surreal, trippier footage. Seems like the obvious choice to me – if you have the option, why not? – but both are available, so don’t worry if you’re not up to watching a 3-hour-plus movie on Saturday. But man, what a 3-hour-plus movie it is. Martin Sheen gives a powerful performance as a soldier sent down the Mekong river to kill a insane rogue general, but he could be and is tumbling down the “War is hell” rabbit hole of madness lunacy for all he knows. As he and the crew of a Navy patrol boat coast up the river, they encounter so many displaced or strange dangers and personnages that the entire journey seems to be a very, very trippy dream, or rather a trippy nightmare.

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Marlon Brando and Dennis Hopper have memorable roles, but it’s Robert Duvall who’s the real gem of this movie for me – even if he appears for less than ten minutes in total. As the surfing-crazy Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore, he spoke the now-infamous lines of dialogue – “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” – and perfectly encapsulated the entire Apocalypse Now Redux in his brilliant performance. Probably helped that there was that gorgeous helicopter attack sequence set to Wagner’s “The Valkyries” right before, that pumped you full of adrenaline and then left you feeling sort of ashamed, ashamed of being thrilled when napalm blows up the jungle and choppers shoot up the Vietcong. Apocalypse Now Redux is definitely one of the best war movies ever made, one of Coppola’s masterpieces, and arguably the best Vietnam War portrayal of all time. And who doesn’t want to watch, or rather re-watch, a good war movie on a nice Saturday afternoon?

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Are you watching Apocalypse Now Redux again, or for that matter for the first time, this weekend? Either way, make sure to check back next weekend for the next Saturday Spotlight. Don’t worry, I’ll pick a lighter and more “fun” movie, let’s see…

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One Response to “Saturday Spotlight: Apocalypse Now Redux on Netflix streaming”

  1. Redux is the superior version, but there are definitely parts that I thought dragged on forever. Still, it’s such a great movie regardless of which cut you watch.

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