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Apocalypse Now: Final Cut at the Somerville Theatre

The last time I saw Apocalypse Now, I had just finished a long, depressing day of writing out college application essays my senior year of high school. Now twenty-one and a senior in college, it was time to revisit Francis Ford Coppola’s classic Vietnam War flick.

There’s three cuts of Apocalypse Now, the original, the Redux which clocks in at about three and a half hours, and the Final Cut, a happy medium of about three hours and the edition that played in Somerville that Wednesday night. Needless to say, I was happy it wasn’t the Redux edition that would be keeping me up on a school night.

The Final Cut edition of the film seemed unnecessary to me. As a casual fan of Coppola and Apocalypse Now, there are only two scenes that stood out to me as new from the original cut. The rest of the additions are hard to tell apart as someone who hasn’t seen the movie in four years. The two standout scenes are when Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) steals Kilgore’s (Robert Duvall) surfboard, and when the characters stumble upon a French family living in the Vietnam jungle.

My first response to Willard stealing the surfboard was that it seemed out of character. The captain who doesn’t engage in comradery between the other characters, let alone something fun like pranks on other high ranking officers. However, it sparked something in me that felt like this could have been a glimpse of what Willard was like before the mental state that we see him in at the start of the movie. The scene makes Willard seem more like a human being in this small action than we see in the whole movie. This angle, however, doesn’t really last as we’re never given another moment like this in the film. Therefore, my interpretation of this moment is probably wishful thinking, and it really is just another scene that created an out of character experience.

And while I think the surfboard scene is a valuable addition, I can’t say the same about the French family scene. This is the only part of the three hour film where I became bored and questioned the pacing. The lack of subtitles and thick French accents made it hard for me to interpret the scene’s dialogue and it felt like a cheap way to add a naked woman into a film where there doesn’t need to be one. The scene completely threw the film into a halt and left me wondering if I could squeeze in a nap before they returned on their journey to find Colonel Kurtz.

However, despite my feelings about both of these scenes I was left in absolute awe of the film. It reminded me of why I liked the movie in the first place, but I also feel I appreciated it more this time around. I am almost itching to watch it again and re-experience the suspense and terror that the film puts its viewer through. However, I won’t be able to beat seeing in on the big screen and with the amazing audio that the Somerville Theatre had to offer. 

The last time I saw Apocalypse Now, I had just finished a long, depressing day of writing out college application essays my senior year of high school. Now twenty-one and a senior in college, it was time to revisit Francis Ford Coppola’s classic Vietnam War flick.

There’s three cuts of Apocalypse Now, the original, the Redux which clocks in at about three and a half hours, and the Final Cut, a happy medium of about three hours and the edition that played in Somerville that Wednesday night. Needless to say, I was happy it wasn’t the Redux edition that would be keeping me up on a school night.

The Final Cut edition of the film seemed unnecessary to me. As a casual fan of Coppola and Apocalypse Now, there are only two scenes that stood out to me as new from the original cut. The rest of the additions are hard to tell apart as someone who hasn’t seen the movie in four years. The two standout scenes are when Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) steals Kilgore’s (Robert Duvall) surfboard, and when the characters stumble upon a French family living in the Vietnam jungle.

My first response to Willard stealing the surfboard was that it seemed out of character. The captain who doesn’t engage in comradery between the other characters, let alone something fun like pranks on other high ranking officers. However, it sparked something in me that felt like this could have been a glimpse of what Willard was like before the mental state that we see him in at the start of the movie. The scene makes Willard seem more like a human being in this small action than we see in the whole movie. This angle, however, doesn’t really last as we’re never given another moment like this in the film. Therefore, my interpretation of this moment is probably wishful thinking, and it really is just another scene that created an out of character experience.

And while I think the surfboard scene is a valuable addition, I can’t say the same about the French family scene. This is the only part of the three hour film where I became bored and questioned the pacing. The lack of subtitles and thick French accents made it hard for me to interpret the scene’s dialogue and it felt like a cheap way to add a naked woman into a film where there doesn’t need to be one. The scene completely threw the film into a halt and left me wondering if I could squeeze in a nap before they returned on their journey to find Colonel Kurtz.

However, despite my feelings about both of these scenes, I was left in absolute awe of the film. It reminded me of why I liked the movie in the first place, but I also feel I appreciated it more this time around. I am almost itching to watch it again and re-experience the suspense and terror that the film puts its viewer through. However, I won’t be able to beat seeing it on the big screen and with the amazing audio that the Somerville Theatre had to offer.

Gillian Anderson is a journalism major at Emerson College. She's interested in film and loves writing about movies. Gillian's favorite movie is Good Will Hunting and her favorite director is Quentin Tarantino.
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