This essay sample on Apocalypse Now Analysis provides all necessary basic info on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.
Textual Analysis-Apocalypse Now Redux Apocalypse Now Redux follows the journey of Captain Willard as he attempts to bring back rogue agent Kurtz. Willard is a deeply troubled soldier in the Vietnamese war and is then assigned the mission of retrieving the newly rogue agent Kurtz. Willard puts together a team and is then on his way, he then ends up having most of his team killed and is then captured by a soldier that is under the authority of Kurtz.
Willard is then taken to Kurtz’ HQ and then manages to escape and then kill Kurtz and return home.
For my textual analysis of Apocalypse I will be the opening scene of the film where we are introduced to the main character, Willard. We start of by being shown a vast amount of trees, a helicopter goes past and then a great amount of explosives are detonated.
We then see the characters face in a room lying down on a bed; we are also shown his bed side desk which has alcohol and drugs on it. We then realise that he was either dreaming or reminiscing as he sits up and looks outside the window to see a helicopter outside. He then says that he is still in Saigon. Codes/conventions Explosions-the bombs that were dropped during the opening sequence causing the vast numbers of explosions * Guns-the gun under the pillow of the character * Army uniform-the gear that the character in the opening sequence * Violence-guns ensure violence/protection * An understanding of why the specific war is happening-the character states the location of his whereabouts as Saigon which is in Vietnam so we instantly create meaning and analyze that this is the war in Vietnam dated between 1955-1975 * Different ranks in officers-general, sergeant major etc.
Bombs-helicopter that drops bombs causing the explosions in the opening sequence * Evidence of an officer of wars life outside of war-the picture of a woman, the drugs and alcoholic substances on the table Audience The audiences of war films like this film are mostly people that enjoy violence or have a cultural interest in war films and their nature. War films are also viewed by ex-army officers themselves as they can relate to the cruel nature of war and also the fight for their country/human rights.
The audience is usually able to cope with the violent nature of the films like for example the film ‘Saving Private Ryan’ with its explicit and graphic opening beach scene where the audience is exposed to limbs being blown off and peoples guts etc being thrown about the place as well as the officer’s torso and body in general. Roles Within the confides of a big Hollywood film such as Apocalypse Now there are many roles that are required for such a large expensive film.
One of the roles that are required for such a film as this would be the role of folly sounds for added sounds that can’t really be captured by a camera such as the introductory song during the opening scene, folly sounds are sounds that are added in after the editing of the film has been complete and some voices/other sounds that are not heard so are recorded separately and added in. what would a film be without the role of a camera man or camera men if the director wishes to have multiple shots of one shot that can only be recorded once such as the pyrotechnics at the start of the film.
The camera man ensures that what the director wishes to be within the shot is in the shot unless they feel that they can follow the guidelines set down by the director and produce something similar/better in their eyes. The director of the film communicates with the cast and set team to create his film, the director usually has good communication and organizational skills to ensure that his film will be as he anticipates it and is hopefully able to meet the deadline set by the company funding the film.
With all of the footage that is captured for the film only a small fraction of all of it is actually used, the editor’s job is to sit there with the director and edit the film accordingly to his demands to produce a final, edited to perfection film. What would a film be without a cast of actors? The actors are picked out by a casting agent who would get in touch with the actor’s personal talent agent and arrange an audition; it is the casting agent’s job to get the most appropriate cast for the film.
The actor’s job is to act out each individual scene according to instructions set out by the director themselves. The mise-en-scene of a film is everything. The mise-en-scene covers the makeup, lighting and special effects. One of the roles required within the mise-en-scene of a war film like apocalypse now is the pyrotechnics to create the true sense of war and battle. The pyrotechnic is in charge of such things as the vast amount of explosives within the film, they also have o ensure the safety of the talent whilst the explosives are detonated. The mise-en-scene would not be complete without the proper use of costume. The costume designer will sit with the director and give him some initial ideas and then will work on ideas that the director likes until the costume design is perfect, they will then begin working on creating the costume for the actors unique build. Analysis The explosions that are detonated by the passing helicopters are shown in a slower speed than the natural filming of the explosions.
If we are to analyze why it is that the director wanted this to be shown in a slower speed then we would most likely come to the conclusion that he did so in order to make the explosions seem more effective. When someone gets shot in a film then it is usually shown in slow motion to give a more deep effect. When the first bomb explodes it is perfectly timed with the starting of the vocals. The lyrics ‘this is the end’ are very lyrically appropriate as the mise-en-scene could be considered as a intertextual reference to war in general as wars are usually ended with one large explosion for example Hiroshima.
When the fire clip is being overlaid over the top of the clip of Willard laying upside down can be read as the memories of the bombings that we just saw literally burned into his memory. War events such as Vietnam are memories that will burn into people’s mind whether it’s the screams of pain from the opposition of the mangled bodies of your fellow officers. As we are shown the belongings of Willard that are on his desk we are then able to create a personality and build a foundation of our understanding of the character and his background.
We are shown; alcoholic substances, cigarettes and even a drug looking substance which implies that he is either suffering from depression and/or an addiction to the certain substances. We are then shown a gun that he keeps underneath his pillow which can suggest that Willard is a person that constantly feels insecure. The gun also promotes the genre of the film which is war; the gun promotes it because people usually associate violence with guns and war in general so through enculturation the audience know that the film is of the war film genre.
Another good use of layering clips over the top of each other during this opening sequence would be the sequence when we have Millard’s face upside down on the left half of the screen and on the right half of the screen there is a cultural stone face which is the right way up in comparison to the way that Millard is portrayed. This signifies the binary opposition within the confides of the war that Millard is fighting. The cultural stone face signifies the culture of the Vietnamese people and the face of Millard opposing it signifies the troops opposing the Vietnamese.
The significance of the fan being the visual accompanied by the sound of a helicopter’s blades rotating would be the idea that his dream/memory and reality are blending with each other to make his dream/memory seem more real giving the audience the effect that we are Millard and we are able to then experience what he is seeing/hearing/experiencing in general which personally is a great effect to give off to the audience.
When the camera tilts down as a POV of Millard sitting up it signifies to us the audience not only that he is sitting up and enquiring what the helicopter sound is but it is also signifying that Millard is now awake/out of his flashback and is back to reality. By showing the POV of Millard it enables the audience to connect with the character himself after just seeing his dream/memory and the belongings on his desk suggesting his character to the audience.
The first thing that the character says is about the place where he is which is Saigon, located in Vietnam. By stating a place in Vietnam the audience can then create a sense of meaning and come to the conclusion that this war film is set in the Vietnam War and therefore introducing the location of the film.