.. either journey no matter where it was located, the natives clearly felt the loss of a man they cherished and revered. Although the journeys that Marlow and Willard make are similar in the fact that they are both looking for Kurtz, the motivations for the journeys are different. Marlows expedition through Africa at the time was to find Kurtz, who had been searching and accumulating ivory, gold, and slaves. The main reason for Willards expedition is to look for a general named Kurtz who has gone crazy, one who is waging a war different from the one intended to keep communism out of parts of Vietnam. Willard and Marlow are both on the same journey, but they are fueled by different motivations and located on two different continents.
There may be many minor differences between Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now; but there is one major difference. In Heart of Darkness Marlow assumes that he will return to civilization after finding Kurtz. This was always understood since the company he works for wants to know where all the ivory was. In Apocalypse Now it is a different story, it is assumed that the mission is one in which Willard was not expected to return. The scene in which Willard meets with the generals to discuss the assassination of Kurtz, there was no discussion of whether Willard would return or not. These two different mentalities are portrayed and tested throughout each characters excursion to find Kurtz.
On his tiresome journey, Marlow changes from a man looking for Kurtz, to a man closely obsessed to meeting the man behind the hype: In the interior you will no doubt meet Mr. Kurtz. On my asking who Kurtz was, he said he was a first-class agent; and seeing my disappointment at this information, he added slowly, laying down his pen, He is a very remarkable person. (Conrad 84) This conversation with the accountant obviously sparks Marlows interest in Kurtz. At the central station some two hundred miles later, Marlows interest grows even deeper.
A conversation with the manager leads Marlow to believe that Kurtz is a remarkable and distinctive man, who is very ill at the time. Marlow is now impatient and cannot stand the wait for the rivets to come for his ship, so he can finally meet Kurtz. When Marlow finally meets Kurtz, he is truly amazed at the type of man Kurtz is. Marlow desires to kill Kurtz at first, but as he converses with Kurtz his mindset is changed. Kurtz appears to be an intelligent man, whose soul had gone mad.
Marlow sees this, and now feels as if he must take care of Kurtz, to save an extraordinary human being. This is the exact opposite of how Willard feels in the movie. Willard is almost the exact opposite of Marlow, and he shows it from the beginning to the end of the movie. Willard begins the movie in a hotel room drunk, exploring the depths of his sorrow. Willard is experiencing with drawl from not being out in the jungle, fighting for democracy. Willard wishes to return to action, and soon his wish is granted.
He is given a secret mission by the army to assassinate Kurtz. Willard does not seem up to the idea of being an assassin as he begins his journey, but by the end he has transformed into a full-fledged killer. Meeting Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore definitely has an effect on Willard. Kilgore shows Willard that life is difficult, and to be an American means being the best at everything. This is shown in the scene where Kilgore and his men are bombing a Vietnamese town, while playing music in the background.
The music symbolizes American superiority and a feeling of invincibility. Willard and his crew are now making their way upriver, and they spot a Vietnamese fishing boat. Pulling it over for inspection, the situation drastically changes and they kill innocent people, but save a puppy. Willard is shown sitting on the opposite side of the boat observing as the event unfolds. Willard seems to notice the recklessness that life brings, and the utter disregard for life that the crew seemed to display. The only member who shows some sympathy is the Chef, who cries, but is ignored by the rest of the crew as if nothing had happened. It seems as if Willard suddenly cares less and less about the lives of others as he saw how fragile it was and how it easy it was to take it away.
Willards conscience breaks when Lawrence Fishburnes character died. A child had died to fight in a war that made no sense, and now Willard is finally set on his mission to kill. As he pulls up into Kurtzs base, Willard sees the sickness and decided to rid of it. Meeting with the madman Kurtz only makes things worse, Willard is disgusted at what was going on. After he kills Kurtz, Willard seems confused on what he would do next, weather to give the order to bomb the village or let the innocent followers live.
It was a major difference from Heart of Darkness, where Marlow goes back to England a more educated person, but not necessarily a mentally scarred person such as Willard. Though there are various differences and slight similarities, Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now both portray the same journey into the jungle and inescapably into each characters self. Although located in different regions of the world, in different time periods, with different factors, each character faced many different events and situations that inevitably changed their perspective. Marlow ultimately learned of the value of a life, and the effects one man can have on another. On the other hand Willard had gained a total disregard for human beings, and will probably stayed in the assassin mindset for a long period of time after the Vietnam War was over.
Whether book or movie the ending was the same, the entertainment came in the subtle differences one could notice.