I have always enjoyed movies. But at some point I started to think of movies as more than just entertainment. I began to view them as a movie critic would, rather than just a casual viewer. Because of this perspective, I think of "Apocalypse Now" as one of the best American made movies I have ever seen. As a student of and an active participant in the late twentieth century media age, I feel justified in making this statement. In my lifetime of observation of American media, including fourteen months of intense movie watching in conjunction with my employment at a local video store, I have had an opportunity to observe a broad sampling of the films, and feel more than qualified to make this statement. By referring to "Apocalypse Now" as one of the best American movies, I do not want to diminish my praise for the movie, but rather, acknowledge the fact that my knowledge of foreign movies is limited. I first saw Francis Ford Coppula's "Apocalypse Now" in a high school literature class after reading Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, the story from which the movie was derived. After viewing the movie the first time, it was clear to me that "Apocalypse Now" was something special, not only superior to the mindless drivel that permeates much of what is produced by Hollywood, but also better than many of the movies that have come to be regarded as classics.
To me, a good movie presents a well constructed plot combined with skilled cinematography. A great movie incorporates a message into the attributes of a good movie. An excellent movie goes further by adding deeper levels of meaning. When I watch a movie which I judge to be excellent, I feel that it can be viewed from many angles and appear seamless from each di...
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...er. Like most viewers, I had a physical reation when the tiger jumps out. Because the timing of the tiger's attack is done so well, a viewer, such as myself experiences the reaction even when they know it will occur. The element of surprise horror is used by Coppula to force the audience to share the primordial fear of being the prey of a large animal with the characters of the film.
Some once said art was defined by the creator's ability to impart a desired emotion. Nothing exemplifies this principle better than horror. Horror occurs when a scene forces the viewer to experience certain emotions that the producer deserves. The type of horror used to determines the emotions and the part of the human mind effected. As Apocalypse Now demonstrates, a skillful director can incorporate each distinct brand of horror in his movie to convey a desired atmosphere or reaction.
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