Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" is, for my money, the greatest (anti-) war film ever made. It also broke new ground in film sound mixing, and the newly remastered three-disc version, "Apocalypse Now: Full Disclosure" sounds substantially better on Blu-ray than it did on the previous "Apocalypse Now Redux" DVD.
The 1080p transfers were supervised by the director, and the new Blu-ray is the first disc release in the original wide-screen theatrical aspect ratio (2.35:1). The "Full Disclosure" set also includes "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse," a feature-length documentary (with optional audio commentary from Eleanor and Francis Ford Coppola) that was originally released in 1991.
I'm not going to review the Blu-ray's video quality, other than to say it looks great. The DTS Master Audio sound is truly exceptional; I directly compared it with my "Apocalypse Now Redux" DVD that was remastered in 2006 in Dolby Digital sound.
The first thing I noticed about the Blu-ray's surround mix was that it was bigger and more expansive than the DVD's. The film's sound mixer/designer, Walter Murch, produced a remarkably layered landscape. The jungle scenes are populated with a vast array of insects and birds, the sound of wind is sometimes subtly mixed with a vocal chorus, and the far away rumble of bombs exploding will test your subwoofer's stamina. Returning to the DVD's duller and muddled soundtrack was a big letdown.
The "Apocalypse Now: Full Disclosure" set is jam-packed with nine hours of extras, but two short featurettes, "The Birth of 5.1 Sound" and "The Final Mix" were the standout attractions for me. The "Apocalypse Now" sound mix was so complex the engineers were required to work 12-hour days from November 1978 to August 1979 (that's about three times longer than it takes to mix the average big budget feature film). "Apocalypse Now" was the first film with stereo surround channels, which is one of the reasons it sounds so much better than other films of the 1970s or 1980s. … Read more