THE GODFATHER PART III Rating: 4.5/5 stars
REVIEW BY JOHN ULMER
Date of review: 9/15/03
"The Godfather Part III" isn't really a necessary sequel, and to be truthful it's not really one of the best sequels in recent memory, but is it a bad film? No. In fact, had it not been for the extraordinary first two films, I firmly believe this movie would have been hailed as an epic; but due to such a broad expanse of years from the second film (1974) to this one (1990), audiences were given too much time to work up extreme expectations, especially with the major success of the first sequel. Many people just expected another equal sequel. It's just a good sequel.
Al Pacino returns to his role of Don Michael Corleone, much older since we last saw him and with a daughter (Sofia Coppola, Francis' daughter). He is still split from his (ex)-wife, Kay (Diane Keaton), and Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) has since passed to the other side, though rumors have it his character was originally in Ford and Mario Puzo's script, only to be dumped when Duvall turned down the script because he believed Pacino was getting too much attention. (Though I have my doubts over the accuracy of that rumor.)
Michael wants out of the Mafia. He wants to work legitimate. He's been trying to turn his business into legit dealings for a while now, and he realizes that the sins of his past will never completely go away. He decides to hand the reigns of power over to his ex-brother Fredo's son (Andy Garcia), a young, eager soul with energy and excitement. But things do not go so well. Michael tries to be a mentor to his trainee but it is a difficult task. Michael goes through turbulent times, not to mention that he must deal with his daughter falling in love with the future head of the family (they're cousins, which, when you think about it, is just plain nasty).
Michael tries to get his son interested in becoming the head of the family, but he will have no part of it. He is bent on becoming an opera singer, to turn from his family's past and ignore his father's pleads. Michael is left with some difficult choices, and we see that all the power in the world can't control the inevitable.
"The Godfather Part III" has its flaws. One of them is the casting of Michael's daughter with Coppola's daughter - she has, one might say, no acting ability whatsoever. Garcia is bright and talented, and fits the part he is playing. Pacino isn't quite as energetic and powerful as he was in the first two films, in fact he looks pretty tired here, but I believe that's the point.
Some people really hate this film. I thought it was quite good. It's a good continuation, though I do not hesitate to admit it could have been much better. The film seems a bit corny at times, and there are some bad casting choices, one of which I have already mentioned above. But it is an entertaining film, one that no "Godfather" fan should go without seeing. It's a worthy (hopefully) last installment, one that gives more of the same but still manages to hold the audience's interest.
There are rumors flying everywhere of yet another "Godfather" entry, but quite honestly I think it's a bad decision. They should leave the series as it is and move on to other projects. Puzo is dead. Coppola hasn't made a good film in years - heck, he hasn't even produced a good film in years. Al Pacino's character would be hard to bring back, and if you've seen this film you know what I'm talking about. A prequel would just be messy and unexplained, not to mention confusing. To follow Andy Garcia's character would seem pointless - some things should be left to our imagination. I doubt as to the importance of another sequel, as it would, at this point, just be a cash-in.
The script by Coppola and Puzo is interesting, but it seems too try a bit too hard to be an epic at times. It just serves as a reminder that this film was not needed as an intallment in the series. "The Godfather Part" was great, "The Godfather Part II" was superb, "The Godfather Part III" is probably the best film of 1990. Which, looking back at twenty years from now, probably won't amount to a hill of beans. But it's a start.
- John Ulmer Webmaster of The Movie Portal http://www.wiredonmovies.com/
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