The Godfather series and I have a strange relationship. I recognise that the first two films are masterpieces, though I have never been a fan of crime family stories. And despite the third films nominations from the Academy, it never rang felt quite right when compared to the first two films, which admittedly, aren’t my genre.
Director/screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola has returned to the film for its thirtieth anniversary, and worked to recraft it to be more inline with the original vision he had when he first made the film. The picture has been beautifully restored from camera negatives, and has been completely recut, with scenes moved around, restored footage incorporated into the film, as well as a new opening and closing to the tale.
Al Pacino returns as Micheal Corleone, the head of The Family. He’s older now, and is looking to get his own family out of the business, and find his successor… and what follows is a completely new version of the story, which is still recognisable from what came before, but told in a new way, and arguably better, raising the film to a well-deserved new level.
Of particular note is that Sofia Coppola, a wonderful writer/director in her own right, who was much maligned in the original cut of the film fares better this time around, and shines alongside Pacino, Talia Shire, Diane Keaton, Andy Garcia, George Hamilton, Joe Mantagna, Eli Wallach, and Bridget Fonda.
Coppola introduces the new cut of the film, which boasts a cleaned-up sound in addition to its new remastered picture, and with his intro I was able to look at the film the way he talks about it, the way he envisioned it, and the way it plays on the screen.
And I can recognise that it works brilliantly, Coppola has always been a master of the epic (I’m an unapologetic Apocalypse Now Redux fan), and his work of bring the Corleone Saga to the screen over the decades finally has a fitting end.
Which isn’t to say that those who loved the original cut won’t like this new version. I just love that there are two versions of the film now that essentially tell the same story and the viewer can decide which they prefer. I feel a huge epic binge watch of the trilogy coming on.
And while, like I said, I’m not a huge fan of crime families and their dramas, I can recognise masterful filmmaking and cinema, and The Godfather series, which proudly welcomes Coda into its fold, is very much a masterpiece of cinema.
So if you have a Godfather fan in the house, this is the perfect gift for them, a re-imagined interpretation The Godfather Part III.
The Godfather Coda: The Death of Micheal Corleone is available today from Paramount Pictures on blu-ray (and comes with a digital copy as well!) – an offer you can’t refuse.