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Though the unbelievably bad Sofia Coppola received the bulk of the criticism, the main fault with this hugely disappointing epic is the plot. The concept of a known gangster being embraced by the Vatican just didn't seem plausible & the direction compared to the previous two instalments is lifeless and formulaic. Coppola states in the DVD commentary from the first movie, that it's strength came from the quality of the cast - not just the big names like Marlon Brando & James Caan, but also people like Abe Vigoda in smaller roles. In Godfather 3, that kind of ensemble performance is missing as the whole enterprise degenerates into a tacky star vehicle for Al Pacino & Andy Garcia. I personally thought Garcia was dreadful, but again it wasn't all his own fault. At the start of the movie he's an uncontrollable psycho who chomps off ears - a trait which he miraculously loses by the end of the movie. Bridget Fonda makes a fleeting appearance and one wonders why she could not have been cast in the role of Mary instead of Sofia Coppola. In terms of talent, Sofia is obviously the 'Fredo' of the family and Don Coppola should have made her an offer she couldn't refuse!. Even when levelled against other lesser films of this genre I feel Godfather 3 is a poor movie, but compared to the previous two it's an unforgivable disaster.
I finally saw this the other day, and I did find it much easier to follow than the first two, but one problem with this movie was Coppola's choice to put his daughter(Sofia Coppola) in the film, she's not bad looking, but she had hardly any prior acting experience, and her bad acting took away from the films quality. Everything else about the movie is great. ***1/2 out of *****
This movie is not in the same class as the first two, and this is not
because of poor Sophia Coppola, who actually does a decent job as a naive
Mafia princess in denial. One of the strengths of the first two movies is
that they stuck to events that actually could have happened. The helicopter
machine-gunning of the penthouse meeting of Dons would never happen.
Especially in Atlantic, where mobsters are at pains to be inconspicuous.
The very public struggle of Michael for control of the Vatican-owned
conglomerate would have been carried out by WASPy proxies, not a
George Hamilton is surprisingly good as the mob mouthpiece. Diane Keaton is surprisingly irritating as the liberated Kay. Eli Wallach is absolutely awful as the deceitfully fawning Don Altobello. Coppola ought to be horse-whipped for allowing this veteran character actor to become a huge and unbelievable HAM in this picture.
Had there not been a I and II, this movie would have been mildly tolerable, but even the great performance by Pacino here cannot save this film from suffering severely by comparison to its two excellent ancestor films.
Good drama that is vastly inferior in comparison to the first two GODFATHER films due to weaker story and below average screenplay.The directing is also average which is weird because we expect much more from such a top notch director.Coppolla seems to have lost a lot of his directorial instincts since APOCALYPSE NOW for some reason.Good performances from the actors here and I still recomend this movie for all GODFATHER fans,drama/action fans and big fans of the lead actors........
What the hell happened to Francis Coppola? How could the man who made I
and II be the same guy who dropped this stinkbomb? Every movie he's
made since Apocalypse Now has reeked of a guy who has lost his grip on
reality and who is so powerful, and surrounded by so many people who
kiss his butt all day, that he is doomed. It's the same thing that
happened to Oliver Stone and George Lucas.
I hate this movie, because it tries to change the way we think about characters from the first two films, because it resorts to weird '90s crap like the helicopter attack, because the ending plays like it was written in 15 minutes and filmed in 20, and because, worst of all, it's boring.
So much could have been done with this. Michael's son an opera star, who berates his dad with corny speeches? C'mon, in II the kid was practically a clone of Vito, the sins of the father being visited on the son. George Hamilton? Puh-leeze. The pope? Who exactly was Coppola trying to impress?
Almost the only thing I like about this movie is Sofia Coppola. She can't act, but she's gorgeous. And Andy Garcia proving whose son he is by wiping out the two hit men, that's at least entertaining. Otherwise, as Roger Ebert once said about another clunker, this film should be cut up and distributed to the poor for use as ukelele picks.
After making The Godfather, Part II, Francis Ford Coppola made a string of
movies that flopped at the box office (One From The Heart, The Cotton
Tucker, etc.) and some that were much more lower scale (The Outsiders).
all was pretty for Coppola, who went bankrupt. But he got himself out of
hole. How?, you ask. Well, by half-assing his way through another
Okay, I've been a little rough. Part III wasn't half-assed. If you put it against other mafia movies like The Sicilian, it's a freakin' masterpiece. But against the first two, it's a good movie, but miles away from their quality. Al Pacino returns as Michael Corleone, who is now pretty old. Old enough to warrant that he has to find a successor. Logically, it should be his son who takes the family business in his hands. But Michael's son, Anthony, doesn't want to hear about it. He wants to be an opera singer. (...) His daughter is more or less interested, but it would break the Mafia code (I guess). So Michael goes to the next logical step. He has in mind his dead brother's illegimate son. (He was concieved by Sonny and Lucy Mancini in the opening scenes of the first movie; Sonny was shown having sex with a woman. This is it.) Vincent is a little trigger-happy, but that's not a bad thing, is it? Michael and his family go to Italy to attend Anthony's premiere and get embroiled in a complicated cat-and-mouse game with the pope.
Pacino is very, very good here. If Marlon Brando stole the show in the first one, and Robert DeNiro in the second one, then surely this is Pacino's movie. He plays the role under excellent makeup effects that make him look old. He has taken the character of Michael Corleone and crafted it over 18 years, making it tight and focused, molding it into a real person. Andy Garcia, as Vincent, is charismatic and has his moments, but he's really overshadowed by the much cooler Al Pacino. Diane Keaton plays the role she has played before, there's nothing new about it. But she isn't as bad as Sofia Coppola. Coppola (the director's daughter) plays Pacino's daughter. It's obvious (to everyone) that she got this part because she is the director's daughter. (In the interviews that precede the film, Coppola claims it was to make the feeling of "family" even greater. Sure, Francis. Sure.)
The story is adequately suspenseful and religion-themed and keeps the theme of family from the other two films very well. The movie feels a little hacked up, it just seems to have been rushed out of editing. Bridget Fonda's character has about 3 scenes and then inexplicably disappears. There are all kinds of little problems like this that pop up. They're not really huge problems, but it can get confusing when characters disappear in and out of the storyline.
As a movie, Godfather Part III holds up pretty well. But as part of a legacy, it's pretty much routine. I recommend you watch all three movies in a row. 8/10
Let me be a bit more precise: If you were to see this movie without having
seen or known much about the first two (and why would you do that, pray
tell?), you might find it a mildly entertaining Hollywood production, marred
by ham acting, a script that covers a lot of ground to no good effect, and
egregious Italianamerican stereotypes. Coming to it with a knowledge of the
first two films, what I saw was a travesty - a totally unnecessary film that
unintentionally parodied most of what was great about its
The critics were pretty kind to Godfather III when it came out, no doubt out of the respect for I and II. But the truth is quite dismal.
Where to even begin? In place of the powerfully minimal, understated performances he gave in I and II, Al Pacino gives yet another of the scenery-chewing exhibitions he's been prone to of late. The part where he chauffeurs Diane Keaton around Sicily looks like it was accidentally thrown in from a bad cable-TV travelogue. Talia Shire's performance is a kitsch-fest of Italianamerican cliches. Although perversely entertaining, it has nothing to do with the character she created in the first two films. George Hamilton as the consigliere instead of Robert Duvall? What were they thinking??? The only reason Sofia Coppola isn't laughed off the screen is because all the other performances here are so broadly awful that she actually comes across as somewhat understated (although her Valley Girl intonations are pretty hopeless).
One of the great things about Godfathers I and II was the way they avoided cliches and gave dignity to Italian American characters in a setting that's usually been used to stereotype them, and in fact used them to comment not on mafia corruption but on the corruption of America itself. Not here! The penultimate scenes with the poison canoli at the opera are Italianamerican kitsch to the Nth, and the killing on the opera house steps that follows is just bad Verdi.
It's clear this movie was made entirely for the bucks. Coppola and Puzo had nothing left to say about these characters. Let's just pretend it doesn't exist, shall we?
The first time I saw this movie, I fell asleep in the cinema and woke up with a half hour to go not having a clue what was happening. I later saw the movie on video and when it came to the original part where I woke up,I still did not have much of an idea as to the proceedings despite being totally awake.This movie is nearly a Turkey and is only saved from being so by high production values and a mostly good cast. Not on a par with the first two Godfather movies. Made solely for the money and it shows. When will Francis Coppolla make another good movie? We can only wait and hope that he gets motivated. There is no doubt he is capable
What definitely personifies best the separation of the first two films
in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather" trilogy and the third and
final entry is the Hollywood Greed Syndrome, which was spawned in 1977
following the release of "Star Wars." The first two movies were made
before this event, in which Hollywood allowed ambitious directors to go
after making the next big American movie. But "The Godfather: Part III"
was released post-"Star Wars," from which the movie industry has yet to
escape, in which the sole concern is making the next big American hit.
Nevertheless, even though it is a lackluster companion piece to its
predecessors, "The Godfather: Part III" does work as a crime drama. Its
dicey and uneven, but it does work.
Quite some time has passed since the end of the second movie. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino, still great) is now an old man, his family's empire has lost a lot of power, many of his old friends have gone, and a lot of his own family has distanced themselves from him. As he attempts to mend fences in his personal life, Michael also tries to control his temperamental nephew (Andy Garcia) and prevent another mafia war from erupting.
The strongest aspect of "The Godfather: Part III," I think its general function as a nostalgia trip. It almost seems as if Coppola realized that he wasn't going to be able to make a third masterpiece and the best way to preserve as much of the original power is to remind us of the first two movies, but in a way that isn't shoddy or consumed by (too many) flashbacks. It is fascinating to see how the remaining principal characters have changed since the last two movies. How Michael has become worn down by his age and personal life. How his sister Connie (Talia Shire, very good in this movie) is still attempting to maintain a good relationship with the brother she once hated. We see some of the supporting faces, such as Al Neri (Richard Bright) and it becomes very fascinating, even though it is really more of like a history lesson than a character study.
There are also some good story elements, too. For example, the relationship between Michael and his ex-wife Kay (Diane Keaton). First of all, seeing how they've changed physically and psychically is fascinating and uncovering the fact that they still love each other is a powerful element. Most interesting however is the doomed relationship between Andy Garcia as the aspiring new don and Sofia Coppola as Michael's spunky, independent daughter. Director Coppola and his two young performers take a relationship that is, without giving too much away, sort of taboo or unnerving, and makes it quite moving in its own unique way. They are interesting. Much more interesting than the villains.
That is the core flaw of this movie, I think. There are no interesting antagonists. Nobody here is quite menacing or developed enough to really leave an impact. Great as Eli Wallach is in the movie (and let's admit, he was destined to be in one of the Godfather movies sooner or later) he frankly doesn't have much material to work with. Joe Mantegna, who overacts his part, is also dull. It does sound paradoxical for a movie that clocks around three hours in length to seem rushed. But it does. There is even a moment where Coppola's craft breaks in a scene where Michael suffers a stroke and we get a horrendous jump cut that stands out quite painfully, like a sore thumb. And a massacre scene in the middle of the story only reminds us how much better the climaxes of the first two movies were. Whereas those seemed brutal and terrifying, this one really seems staged with an overuse of cartoonishly-lit blood and rapid cuts between camera angles.
And then there comes the problem with the ending. The emotional climax of the movie works quite well. Without giving it away, I'll just say it reminded me of a great scene from an Alfred Hitchcock movie from 1956 in terms of dramatic tension and suspense. At this point, I was almost willing to forgive the movie for all of its flaws. It was going to be a great ending to a magnificent saga. Then came those two final, unforgivably awful shots and a poor decision to finalize the story with a cut to black as opposed to a slow, dramatic fade.
Yes, it does feel more like a coda to a big musical orchestra rather than a third act to one of the grandest stories ever told, but "The Godfather: Part III" does work as a whole. There are some great dynamics here, even if they aren't fully realized, and the movie does, again work primarily as a nostalgia trip. No, lightning did not strike a third time. This time it just brushed it and some sparks made contact. Well, those sparks were strong enough. "The Godfather: Part III" takes a while to get started, but it did leave me satisfied, if a little empty.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Like, I suspect, many others, I saw this when it came out and years
later rewatched it thinking " it's a probably better film than I
remember. I was probably expecting too much" .
Indeed, many great films would suffer by comparison to the Godfather. It is sad then, that a sequel to what is generally lauded as one of the 5 best films of all time, should suffer by comparison to Adam Sandler movies.
And don't believe the popular myth that Sofia Coppola ruins this movie, it's so bad on so many levels that her performance is irrelevant. So bad is it, that like the Matrix sequels, it seeks to infect its illustrious predecessors with its shiteness.
Mostly the problem seems to be the writing, I double checked to see if Puzo was involved, unbelievably, he was. Here's an example:
Do you remember the "you'll never take my children" scene in II? Did you want to know that shortly after the credits have rolled, Michael has a rethink and sends the kids off with mummy?
Oh the horror! This, and so many other torments lie in store for you should you watch this movie.
But, maybe it's not all bad, Pacino shows amazing versatility by looking, sounding and acting nothing like the Michael. And, if you're the kind of person who thought the first two lacked exploding helicopters, horseback gangsters and martial arts, then you may find it a welcome improvement on the originals.
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