14 November 2013
Generations of Darkness
As more and more books turn into movies, many people will begin critiquing film directors’ abilities to keep their storyline along the same as that of the book. Francis Ford Coppola has a significant issue as he inherits the task of making a movie along the lines of Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness. He does not have any real option to recreate the setting of imperial Europe invading African land, but fortunately for Coppola, the United States recently fought a war that is very comparable in the fighting tactics element. In his film Apocalypse Now, Coppola does a very good job keeping his plot similar to Heart of Darkness despite the difference in settings.
Both plots of Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now have the same ultimate objective of sending men to go find the man whose name is Kurtz, an ex-military officer assumed to have gone AWOL and now living amongst the natives. The group of men travels downriver through hostile environments until they reach the post where Kurtz is supposedly living, and in both the film and the novel, they are pestered by the natives throughout the venture with everything from a fake arrow shower to attempt to scare them, to a real flurry of arrows and spears which fatally wounds one of the crew members. Also, Coppola keeps Kurtz’s character very similar to that of Weiss 2
Conrad’s characterization in the novel. When the men finally reach him, they find him to be incredibly intellectual and sharp despite his old age. He is very in tune with his surroundings and understands his situation completely. Along with Kurtz’s personality, Coppola also does a good job depicting his death as it happened in the novel, including his final words, “The horror, the horror,” which is him talking about all of his encounters with the natives.
Although Coppola makes an exceptional effort to create Apocalypse Now to be as similar as possible...
Cited: Apocalypse Now. Dir. Francis Ford Coppola. Perf. Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne, Sam Bottoms, Albert Hall, and Frederic Forrest. Paramount Pictures, 1979.
Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: Knopf, 1993. Print.
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