Books and movies present stories in different ways because the medias are incredibly different. In the story Heart of Darkness, the author takes the motif of the journey and presents it in the third person in a way that people could understand with the topic of the spread of culture in the "third world." Apocalypse Now shows the journey in a completely different way. It is made into a first person narrative and is changed from colonization to the modern day equivalent of the Vietnam War. Both ways of showing the story keeps the main idea of the journey both inside and outside, but the way of presenting it is very different. The story Heart of Darkness is presented to us in the third person. From the beginning, the story is shown as someone telling a story about something that's already happened and it goes back and forth between the "present" and several times which make up the past.
The story starts with the narrator telling his fellow boat-mates about a man named Marlow and his adventure into the wild to find a man Kurtz. The whole time the story goes back and forth between the narrator and his telling the story and Marlow driving the action. This is an interesting way of narrating the story because we really do not hear much from the actual speaker but most of the action takes place through Marlow. In the movie Apocalypse Now, the entire story is presented to us from one persons point of view. The Marlow figure in the movie is Captain Willard who is sent on a mission similar to the book to find Kurtz. The different way that the story is presented is very important because it gives us a different feel for the story at hand.
The book version of the story makes sense having the almost two-narrator feel because when you read, its easy to go back and forth between things easily. When you see something visually, its difficult to go back and forth between narrators because your mind wants to stay with one thing. It was a good decision by Coppola to change it to one narrator and have him in the action the entire time. Despite the difference in narration in the two ways the story is show, both ways keep the main idea of a life-changing journey into the darkness. Both the main characters, Marlow in Heart of Darkness and Willard in Apocalypse Now, go through basically the same change when they go on their missions. Their missions differ, but as each gets closer and closer to their targets, they find themselves much like the people they are supposed to be stopping.
This is the theme that provides us with the moral value. When the stories begin, we think that Kurtz is not good and we just cannot believe his behavior and the things we hear throughout the story. As Marlow and Willard get closer, we seem them change and become closer to Kurtz in nature, and we start to understand how a person can get to that state. This is the thing that both stories get across very well. We feel, in both cases, scared about how people can become like Kurtz. Reading and watching are two completely different things, but in this case both things get across the message they try to get across.
The main differences between the stories occur because of the difference in media and the way each speaks to a different time period. Both were received in the ways the author / director had hoped and the narration is effective in both.