Follows Michael Corleone, now in his 60s, as he seeks to free his family from crime and find a suitable successor to his empire.Follows Michael Corleone, now in his 60s, as he seeks to free his family from crime and find a suitable successor to his empire.Follows Michael Corleone, now in his 60s, as he seeks to free his family from crime and find a suitable successor to his empire.
(Excluded passage due to word limit; concerning how Coppola did the film for the money, and that it actually makes the film a little easier to appreciate)
I think the film really, on a whole, is perhaps not 'bad', certainly not horrible, but definitely a failure. The plot is underdeveloped and not engaging - Michael Corleone suffers from guilt. Its not unreasonable to say he did that at the end of Part II already. Where does his search for redemption lead him? Do "they" really pull him in again? Does his character do or say anything really memorable? Once or twice. But the script really is a long filler-session. And while everybody seems to just automatically praise Pacino because, well, he's Pacino I don't think his performance in this film is particularly good either, at least not by his merits. He's a great actor, and this is as fine a performance as any other he's made, but when you consider how truly versatile Pacino can be (compare Godfather part II with Scarface, with Serpico, Devil's Advocate, you name it, he's right there in character) its a disappointment that the aged Michael Corleone has turned into... well, Al Pacino. Obviously the character is not the same man that he used to be, but I never once really believed that I was watching Michael Corleone. He looked, and acted, too much like Al Pacino.
Not to mention Andy Garcia being nothing more than Andy Garcia, Joe Pantanglio, Eli Wallach, Talia Shire in a strangely awful performance (she's not a bad actress at all, but whatever happened here?). And of course Sofia Coppola; she isn't the crucial problem, but in the end she does become responsible for a lot of misfiring. The only one still doing a prime job is Diane Keaton as Kay - truly an unsung hero in these films, and to me one of the main reasons the drama work - and the film's best scenes were the one's she shared with Pacino. Why? Because then I felt like I was even watching a Godfather movie.
Much of everything else simply doesn't work. Whereas the original films were subtle and ambiguous, part III filters the story with melodramatic punches that are un-inspired and obvious. Michael's son, played by Franc D'Ambrosio, seems taken from Days of Our Lives and so many of the questions we ask ourselves - what does he remember from his childhood? What does any of the characters feel about Michael's marriage in Sicily? Did Tom Hagen ever move to Las Vegas? etc - are left completely by the road, as if Coppola truly isn't interested in telling this story. There are instead near-insulting reminders to the audience that the other two movies still exist (like the pointless scene where Michael have kept the drawing Anthony left at his pillow when he was nine or so; "I remember this" he smiles, though I'm not sure if we are to understand this as "I also remember they shot up the bedroom that same night"; once again, it seems Coppola simply forgets his own story). There are also awkward attempts at creating dramatic highlights in line with the horse-head scene and that very shooting in the beginning of Part II, involving a shooting during a parade in Little Italy and a stupid and ugly scene involving a helicopter. Making a Godfather sequel formulaic is truly a depressing insult to the originality of the first two films. The attempts Coppola takes on the Vatican are also pretty flat when you think about how Italian cinema has been doing this for half a century.
There's no reason to watch this film have you not seen the first two. And there's really no reason to watch it if you have seen them either. When you think about it, I don't see why the film's few merits are worth talking about. Movie newbies having seen Part I and II will naturally see III too, and I think many of them will come to the same conclusion. It's not all bad, but so what. It simply doesn't work very well.
- Dec 23, 2011