This final statement truly delivers what Coppola wanted with an outstanding finale for a terrific saga.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Francis Coppola makes modest but profound changes to his flawed but still absorbing coda to the most extraordinary movie story ever told. Although some of the changes aren't obvious, tightening and reassembling the order of scenes helps recalibrate the movie and tilt it towards greatness. And the restoration of the film is itself a beautiful work of art. Al Pacino gives a magnificent performance as the aging Don Corleone, and his confession to Cardinal Lamberto (Raf Vallone) is one of the highlights of his brilliant career.
Rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars
I was sold a movie based on the trailer that didn't match my expectations, and now that they've reeled me in, I can't get back my $4.99 (plus tax). Although I agree that the story is clearer and overall pacing, which is mainly because they dumbed down or simplified the dialogue in terms of story, the ending isn't different enough and I honestly wanted them to make a cgi robert duvall, add in winona rider, maybe even add in new actors, make them throw you in the damn asylum for what you did to this movie, and add in the original script for good measure. And even if they did all that, there would be people up in arms, disgracing the late robert duvall who told them to take a hike over the pay, and winona bowing out to go play make believe with Johnny, maybe it still wouldn't have been as good. Overall the character just like the fate of any movie after a part 1 and 2 would become what it became, it's there now for all time. The peoples who's opinions like the director and the cast enjoy it, as they should, but I'm someone who grew up on this and won't take the bait the next time a director decides to reimagine their films, even if it makes it better, the marketing of this really disappointed me, they made me and offer and I should have refused to watch this. If I one day have my own crime trilogy, you can bet I'll morgage my vinyard just to make this the best it can be, and instead they worked with what they had.
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
A lot of people say that it's not fair to compare Godfather III to its predecessors, which makes no sense at all, since it's a Godfather film. Weighing it relative to other Godfather films is absolutely fair and appropriate; if Part II sucked, would they have said it isn't fair to compare it to Godfather? I don't care for this precursor defense mechanism, this attempt to soften expectations – ‘I haven't worked out in months, it'll be a miracle if I can lift this'… then don't try, jackass. Commit to what you're going for, do it. Unfortunately, neither Paramount nor Francis Ford Coppola seemed committed to anything besides releasing a product that just barely resembled what audiences knew as their favorite crime family. Thus, it is an absolute necessity to see this as the third part of a mechanism in relation to it's greater whole, and what effect it has on the full structure. For all the frivolous mistakes made by a studio, it is not the job of the reviewer to be sympathetic and understanding, but to call them out on bad decisions. I'm not reviewing a student's first crack at making a movie; this is the third part of a well-oiled, successful mega franchise, and it deserves to be scrutinized as such.
The first thing some people get wrong when being easy on Godfather III is understanding that Coppola wasn't given enough time. While that isn't entirely his fault, except for the fact that he took the job, it is still the studio presenting this picture, and they deserve all the condemnation in the world for expecting a film to be written, cast, designed, produced, directed, edited, and delivered in a single year's time. We can't just say, "for what they had, they gave it their best effort." It's the fucking Godfather, there's no fucking E for effort. The audience isn't giving the production team a pat on the back for a simple day's work, they are waiting for the final leg of a story they've invested their lives in. As a result of not having the time to iron, contrived kinks are left rumpled, leading to embarrassing, often cartoonish moments. The assassins have a costume/weapons closet ready for any available situation – Mission Impossible? There's a lucky run-in Don Tommasino has with the assassin – why is the assassin already in his costume days before his hit? Michael romancing Kay for old time sake – cringe. The pope has a tray of orange juice and chocolate ready as soon as Michael requests it for his diabetes attack, because everybody has those two things conveniently sitting on a tray nearby when a random event like this occurs. Also convenient is the ringing of a bell each time Michael confesses a sin to him (insert laugh face). It really gets brutal with the infamous Vincent Corleone, who receives a caricature christening as godfather, then echoes previous death montage voice-overs Michael used to deliver with the goofiest voice. I can just hear George Lucas nearby influencing Coppola, "everything should rhyme with the previous movies, each stanza – it's poetry." And then there's the top dog, the biggest Don in the world - Luchessi - who stupidly allows his enemy to whisper something in his ear so he can be stabbed by a pair of glasses in the neck!! No, you didn't read that wrong: glasses. All of this is a result of an artist who doesn't have the time he needs, making quick, thoughtless solutions on the go to merely get the job done.
A film without gravity brings me to the surface, and I start asking, why are we watching this? Something is quickly off, and I realize I'm stuck disengaged for an exhausting three hours. When we watch The Godfather with provenience, we appreciate it as an opening to 1970s cinema and relish in the realistic effects of its time. But by 1990, we aren't shocked by this base violence anymore. Coppola is on one end of the spectrum playing violence as classical melodrama, but Martin Scorsese is on the other end experimenting with a novel approach that would dominate the 90s: dark comedy. GoodFellas opened a new wave of violence that would inspire the likes of Quentin Tarantino, P.T. Anderson, and the Coen Brothers as they set out to explore submissive laughter to human brutality. Gone was the shock of a dramatic violent hit, which is perhaps all Paramount understood about any Godfather film in the first place. The silliest death is Eli Wallach, who not only is surrounded by opera, but by an extremely emotional Connie – why? Like previous films, the climactic death montage has loud music playing over it, but this time it's louder, ostentatiously hiding the embarrassment of poorly staged hits.
But let's get to the meat of it: characterization. Many have rightly claimed that this simply isn't Michael Corleone. Coppola would defend that this is a changed Corleone, someone who has aged and realized the error of his ways and yada yada. What exactly led to this change? Mary and Anthony seem like perfectly fine, normal young people; they aren't the kids of a vicious mob boss. But they were of age to witness all of Michael's crimes, most especially Freddo's murder. The offspring are an opportunity to characterize the patriarch in the way Vito's characterized him, and this is the first thing that's off. Vito's kids were complicated, especially conflicted young Michael. Mary is a coddled Italian girl who, at best, would be associated with the mob by heritage. Anthony is not even Italian; he's a complete joke and not at all derived from the actor who played him previously. His soft, whiny, stale approach to the character, and Mary's horrendous performance by Sofia Coppola, already detract any character development. The only thing that seemed to give Michael any of his status was Kay, who "dreads" him and starts off with a good performance by Diane Keaton, before thrust into fruitless rekindling. Then there's the problem of Michael himself, played by a tonally different Al Pacino. Not only is he taking on this mentor role, like he's an AA sponsor or something, but he's doing it in a way that makes the character unrecognizable. Michael plays for sympathy, becoming a protagonist who has lost all trace of cold, calculating behavior, which the audience has no reason to believe should suddenly disappear. To further this, he seems to be a devout Catholic, which the movie itself plays along with as though we're all Catholics bowing our heads in faith. The first two were existential, but now we're believers in the church reclaiming our good name by ridding the bad guys. Kay thinks he's just using it for status, which is a great angle that should be explored with his faith teetering. Instead, Michael is trying to save the good, honest, spiritual pope from the bad guys. Not one aspect of this character convincingly picks up from a man who killed his brother, thus nullifying the film entirely as an accurate chapter in the story. It should be de-canonized because of this. A movie that challenges Michael's faith, hiding behind it at such expense as to buy his way into the Vatican, that's the movie we needed to see. Coppola wanted to emphasize that more in the new cut, but there was never a payoff to this setup.
I'm very sad to see that critics fell for Paramount's attempt at reclaiming the name of Godfather III so the franchise could at last stand as one of the great movie trilogies of all-time. They all drank the Kool-Aid of its campaign, recklessly altering history. This is hardly a new cut, and it makes no improvements where opportunities arose. There's still all the cringeworthy ‘love' scenes between Mary and Vincent, as well as Kay and Michael in Sicily. There's still Andrew Hagen, who pops in and out pointlessly to merely represent the Hagen name. There's still all the lingering around so we can pretend this is some nostalgia experience. All the moments occur exactly as we remember them. All the pointless cameos of smaller characters we don't remember are there. Even the same ending is intact, despite being told otherwise, fading out a few seconds sooner, negating the title Death of Michael Corleone – wink, joke's on us. So, officially, Michael could still be alive, setting up a potential Godfather IV – how convenient. There's even this cheap title card to close the picture, something totally uninspiring about how Sicilians never forget or forgive; it looks quickly thrown in from an iPhone, and further dehumanizes the whole piece.
Before closing, I want to make some honorable mentions. 1) Al Neri pets his gun as if he kills for fetish, which is not Al Neri at all. 2) There is yet another pointless character who makes a donkey sound and serves no purpose besides honking when Mary is killed, which couldn't have been a necessary distraction since the assassin was already in position. 3) There is one aspect of this movie that does work, though completely unintentional: it's pretty funny. For a series that struggles with humor, there are moments of uproarious laughter, despite that we are laughing at it. Green Sofia Coppola is so Razzie-worthy that it plays off professional Andy Garcia like gold. Garcia is anxious to show he has acting chops, playing through pantomime motions off of a complete dark cloud. While his performance is far from good, it is only worsened by his attempt to show any serious emotion towards the marionette doll puppeteered by her father – hey, isn't that the first film's logo?! Hm. Our distaste at Garcia's bad acting is vindicated by the moment Michael tells him to shutup, which gets a good laugh.
People love to say, "it's good for what it is." Sure, I applaud my high school efforts too. But I must reiterate: this is the fucking Godfather! Which directly negates that statement entirely; it's The Godfather, that's WHAT IT IS, and it's certainly not at all good for it.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Great disappointment. Fragmented scenes, almost none with emotional grip...just chopped up plot lines. Sofia is still a dead spot.
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Can we just not have the cousin boinking cousin thing?!?!? It doesn't even contribute anything to the story. They should have just stopped at 2 movies!
When it says "The death of Michael Corleone" where's the death? No worries folks nearly everyone else BUT Michael Corleone dies.. what complete and utter nonsense.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Ultimately nothing has been added of value, which is why it goes from three stars, to two for me; i was perhaps expecting too much. The first 20-30 min is still boring. The movie lacks the intensity of its predecessors. Michael Corleone is a shell of his former self. There are some exceptional action scenes which make the movie almost watchable, however it lacks the quiet, intense, darkly lit conversations that were so compelling in the first two films... In summary: Where's the heart?
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars
The movie only had a few 30 second scenes. It is the same substandard movie. It's amazing that GF 1 and 2 are among the top 20 of all time., and #3 is redundant and shallow. Two cousins falling in love? Where did that come from? Killing the heads of the five families, again? Coppola was desperate to put out a movie. and put little effort into the plot
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
A good ending to a great saga. Two points staying my mind:
1. Pacino is too much Pacino and too little Michael Corleone. In the two previous outings, Michael was careful and deliberate. This Michael was loud and too fast speaking. I'm surprised Coppola didn't slow him down. There were some glints of old Michael, but not enough to draw me in like he did in the other films.
2. Andy Garcia is perfect. He fits right into the family. Intense like Sonny, but more level-headed.
Oh, and he's hot. Like, really hot. Madonna mia!!!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Coda is nearly the same film as the theatrical cut, so I'll give it the same review.
The Godfather tragedy is completed in this final part.
Director Francis Ford Coppola may have only done this third and final part to The Godfather Trilogy for money, but he crafts a solid story with highly imaginative cinematography all the same. Many twists and turning points are telegraphed beforehand with another excellent script from famed writer Mario Puzo.
Notably, actor Al Pacino delivers a highly compelling performance as the aging Godfather figure Michael Corleone. He expresses remorse, rage, and ingenuity even in his advanced years. Pacino's gives you the calm and control focused Michael, while also emoting a sorrowful regret in his acting. It is certainly a respectable farewell to his iconic character Michael Corleone.
Furthermore, the supporting cast is fairly fun and filled with familiar faces. Talia Shire is sublime as Connie Corleone. She gets more screen time than the previous two films, and I appreciate it. Shire nails Connie's loyal and manipulative role. Eli Wallach plays a treacherous old Don with a clear glee that is infectious. Diane Keaton reprises her role as Kay with a sincere attitude of uncertainty as to her forgiveness of Michael's crimes. It is a decent cast with some other minor lackluster performances. However, Shire, Wallach, and Keaton will keep you engaged alongside Pacino.
Similarly, Andy Garcia gives an earnest shot as Sonny's son Vincent. Garcia is clever in his outing as he starts out portraying Vinny as an uncontrollable hothead. He then morphs into the more serious Vincent Corleone to take over as the new Godfather. It is too bad that his character is weighed down with an awkward incest subplot that is so distracting.
Herein lies the problem with The Godfather Part III: Sofia Coppola. She plays Michael's daughter Mary Corleone with a deadpan expression the entire time. Her line delivery is so flat and disinterested. Even with a solid script and competent direction, Sofia's acting is thoroughly underwhelming. Well I do not think she ruins the movie, she is obvious ill suited for the role.
On the other hand, Sofia is gorgeous and looks like she could be Pacino's daughter, but unfortunately she cannot act. The saving grace of Sofia's career as an actress being cut short is that we later get her brilliant films that she directs. Sofia Coppola is truly her father's daughter as she eventually goes on to mature into one of the finest directors in Hollywood. She actually directed some of my favorite films with The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette, and The Beguiled.
At least Carmine Coppola's score is absolutely stunning. He manages to capture the enchanting atmosphere of the original two movies with his lovely compositions. The Italian music playing throughout The Godfather Part III is quite pretty and nicely fitted to the tone of each scene.
Another weakness is the pacing of the movie. Although The Godfather Part III is by far the shortest of the trilogy it feels the longest thanks to its slow pace. The edits linger too long on many shots, making you notice the film's imperfections all the more obvious.
In short, Francis Ford Coppola adequately completed his legendary crime trilogy with this satisfying, if flawed film. I found it a bit long, but well worth the wait. While the acting is a mixed bag, you are entertained by a majority of the cast. The music is so sweet and will keep you entranced all the way to the credits. The Godfather Part III is worth a watch to finish out this series.