For a while now, I’ve been thinking about what I could possibly use as an excuse to write, now that Doctor Who is over and didn’t make me annoyed enough to rant, and given the fact that I forget to watch pretty much everything else that’s on TV. Eventually, it was a case of minor OCD that provided the creative spark, as by ordering my movie collection, it meant that now I have a good excuse to watch films again without worrying about my mind breaking as the alphabet goes straight out of the window and carries on going until it decides to sort itself out again and come back feeling slightly ashamed it put me through that trouble.
So, to start off with, it’s the turn of A, for which I have chosen Apocalypse Now.
(Apocalypse) Now, I’m ashamed to admit I’d never seen this film, and hadn’t heard anything really about it when I got it about 3 months ago, and so when I was removing the packaging today, I realised that I should be ashamed of myself for the whole lack of effort and pace I have when it comes to these sorts of things (As seen with my unwrapped 2011 birthday presents). My shame was then completely doubled, tripled and multiplied by further prime numbers as I watched the film, kicking myself for every minute I’d delayed the experience.
Basically, it’s pretty damn good. As a whole experience, there’s not many films like it. The way it shows off the Vietnam War in a light that completely damns it in one way, and delights in it in another, is something which is not only difficult to pull off, but so difficult that if it’s done wrong then it can completely ruin a film, and a dinner with your Vietnamese relatives to boot.
Technically, it’s superb. If a film is considered to be a series of paintings put together to form a whole, then Francis Ford Copolla is equivalent to Vincent Van Gogh combined with the drug from Lucy, with Apocalypse Now being his (insert best Vincent Van Gogh painting according to your opinion here) in comparison. Some of the shots are what makes this film so perfect in its description of the war; the napalms and the jungle combining on more than one occasion to leave you in a state of shock and awe, and its through this that I think Copolla delights in the way this war was fought. The sounds and the visuals all come together in what can only be described as perfection throughout the film, and its truly something to behold from an artistic standpoint.
Now thats done, If I can quickly just take a step down from the high chair of artsy fartsy pretension, I’ll talk a bit more normally.
The usual characters aren’t even that great, yet they still manage to be suited for the purpose. They all fall into the easy clichés of Druggie, Ghetto Black Guy, Respectable Black Guy, Mental, Arsehole in Charge (of whom is the stand-out for me) and Arsehole narrator, and for the most part these stay exactly as they are. That is until the war takes its toll on all of them, and they all merge to form one basic part of ‘Nutcase Bellend’. But, this is by no means the usual nutcase bellend, as with its widespread effect and believability after you’ve just witnessed what they have, then it begins to have much more of an endearing side effect, rather than an annoying one. Each of these characters you meet has flaws, and they don’t pretend not to, and its this complete open-ness that makes them so real, with an allowance for you to decide whether or not killing children and innocents, as long as you kill 2 terrorists along the way, makes you a prick.
Despite its apparent perfection, it does have a few problems, not major ones like a wart the size of an abnormally large toe on the end of your nose, but more like someone else coughing every 15 minutes during the opera, in that after a while it gets quite grating. Firstly, it’s a pretty long film, and towards the end, you can feel that. Most of the film flies by, however during the ending half an hour, when its gets all a bit detailed and extended, it slows right down. It has a nice effect at first, however after a while, I felt it was more draining that it was intelligent. And then finally, the narrator. I have no problems with what he’s saying, its how he says it. This didn’t bother me too much until around the middle of the film, but my god did Michael Sheen’s gravelly voice start to piss me off after a while, as he started to sound more and more like he’d exclusively drunk sandpaper and lego bricks for the last year to get it like that.
Overall however, this was a good film. A very good one in fact. So good that I completely forgot it was Christmas. Now time to get away from all the greed, hysteria and shouting and get back into the UK Christmas spirit…. Oh wait…. (#BANTS)