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The Godfather Coppola Restoration Collection - Very Glad It's on Blu-ray

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#1 of 67 OFFLINE   Cinescott

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Posted May 10 2011 - 05:28 AM

I know this set has been discussed ad nauseum in many locations, but I gotta say after re-watching parts of I and II that this is a pretty tremendous collection of Blu-rays. My display's not the largest (42" LCD), but the experience of watching these restored films on Blu-ray is a revelation for me after the previous video options that have been available. I unfortunately am too young to have seen the first two theatrically:)


OK, III was kind of a stumble, I'll admit, but the crown jewels of I an II more than make up for it. What fantastic pieces of cinema and marvelous Blu-rays!


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#2 of 67 OFFLINE   Shane D

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Posted May 10 2011 - 07:23 AM

i just re-watched 1 and 2 in the past month also on blu for the first time and i agree. amazing experience. i'd forgotten how great these movies are.



#3 of 67 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted May 10 2011 - 08:08 AM

These are two of my favorite films. Parts I & II are film making at its finest. Since I need to watch them once a year, it's wonderful to have such a fine BD transfer available.


Part III isn't horrible -- it just pales in comparison to the masterpieces of the first two movies. In fact, I think that Part III would have actually been a decent film had Winona Ryder been cast as Mary Corleone, as originally planned. Sofia Coppola just didn't cut it in the role.



#4 of 67 OFFLINE   WinstonCely

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Posted May 10 2011 - 08:14 AM

I was just talking about this to a friend of mine about the 3rd film.  Yeah, it's not horrible, in fact it's pretty darn good in some respects, but Sofia (and her character arch in general) are really flat.  I will give her this, she did express the almost inhuman innocence that the part called for.



#5 of 67 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted May 10 2011 - 03:39 PM

My feelings on Part III changed almost completely upon listening to the commentary that Coppola did on the disc -- just hearing that he wanted to call the film "The Death of Michael Corleone" as opposed to Godfather 3 kinda changed my perception of what he was trying to do. Hearing him describe the film as more of an epilogue to the saga, as opposed to an equal part with the first two, had a way of changing and refocusing my expectations.

As far as the restorations go, absolutely brilliant work - I was fortunate enough to see restored prints for I and II projected earlier this year and it was quite the experience.  If they're ever coming to your town for a one-night-only type of screening, and you love the films, it's absolutely worth going (even if you own the Blu-rays).



#6 of 67 OFFLINE   Cinescott

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Posted May 11 2011 - 01:18 AM



Originally Posted by Josh Steinberg 

My feelings on Part III changed almost completely upon listening to the commentary that Coppola did on the disc -- just hearing that he wanted to call the film "The Death of Michael Corleone" as opposed to Godfather 3 kinda changed my perception of what he was trying to do. Hearing him describe the film as more of an epilogue to the saga, as opposed to an equal part with the first two, had a way of changing and refocusing my expectations.

As far as the restorations go, absolutely brilliant work - I was fortunate enough to see restored prints for I and II projected earlier this year and it was quite the experience.  If they're ever coming to your town for a one-night-only type of screening, and you love the films, it's absolutely worth going (even if you own the Blu-rays).


I agree, Josh. I do believe III gets a bad rap, mainly because so much time elapsed between II and III. Coppola was a different person and so were the stars. It feels out of place and truth be told any film would have felt out of place with such a gap. Also, Sofia just doesn't cut it for me. Regardless, it feels pretty complete and it's nice to have the entire collection on such a great Blu-ray set.


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#7 of 67 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted May 11 2011 - 08:15 AM

Sofia doesn't bother me that much; I think part of that is because I kept hearing how terrible she was in it for years before I saw the film, it became a case of "It couldn't possibly be as bad as people have been saying" and against that background of negative hype, it wasn't.  She comes off very much as a naive child in the film, which I think is what Coppola wanted anyway (I'm not convinced Winona or anyone else would have been that much better if that's the performance Coppola wanted).  I can't watch all three movies in a single sitting; the first two, yes, but with the third, I need at least a day's worth of distance to be able to appreciate it.


Part of that may be just a matter of what I love about the films - I think the best parts of the entire Godfather saga are when it focuses on the story of the father and his sons; whether it's DeNiro playing Vito as a young man trying to support his family, or Brando trying to rule his empire and groom his sons into taking over something that he himself built from scratch (trying to teach them in words the things that life experience forced him to learn), those are my favorite parts of the story.  (I'd count Hagen as one of his sons for the purposes of that general description.)  So with The Godfather III, with two of the brothers already dead, and Duvall choosing not to return - the things that I loved most about the original films were already out the window.  I always found Michael to be the least interesting of the characters and in many ways I think that's intentional.  I don't mean to beat a severed horsehead to a second bloody death, but hearing Coppola describe his intention to make the third film not be a direct continuation (as the marketing and promotional materials and poster made it seem), but to make it as a story of "The Death of Michael Corleone", I was finally able to appreciate it as its own thing.

I'm very glad to have this set, and that all three films are included - they did an absolutely beautiful job of restoring and preserving the look of the films.  Even though Parts I and II were shot in the early 70s, at no point does the movie really look or feel like the 70s - it truly does feel like it's of the era it takes place in, and that in and of itself is one hell of an achievement.



#8 of 67 OFFLINE   Cinescott

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Posted May 11 2011 - 08:39 AM

Part III was definitely marketed wrong. Taken by itself, it's not so bad. I like the sections where Michael goes back to Sicily with Kay and kind of reflects on his life and the "family." I also like


how he dies at the end in the yard where Appolonia died many years ago, kind of broken.
That's interesting to me and I could see how it would complete the story arc for Coppola. The first two just shine so bright that it is hard not to compare, but when you look at it as a movie in and of itself, it's certainly watchable and interesting, at least to me. The commentary is very interesting on all three as well.


The whole story is really a big investment in time, but well worth it.


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#9 of 67 OFFLINE   SD_Brian

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Posted May 11 2011 - 09:26 AM

Sofia Coppola's performance never bothered me.  I was possibly feeling more forgiving because it was her first film and she was dropped into what, I can only imagine, had to be an extremely intimidating  situation (replacing Winona Ryder at the 11th hour; sharing the screen with Al Pacino, Diane Keaton and Andy Garcia; performing love scenes for her father; critics and fans with their proverbial knives sharpened, etc.).


No, the performance in Godfather III that has always been like fingernails-on-a-blackboard to me is Andy Garcia's.  I know he got an Oscar nod and I can see what they were trying to do with the character, but he was wildly overacting, particularly during the first 1/3 of the movie.



#10 of 67 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted May 11 2011 - 09:33 AM

The first Godfather film I saw was number 3, so I've always liked it. I actually give it a small edge over 2 while the first film is my favourite. Blasphemy I know, but as good as 2 is, it always feels a bit long to me. :)



#11 of 67 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted May 11 2011 - 12:24 PM

What is this, the "Godfather III" apologist thread? Posted Image


I agree that it'd be regarded better if it wasn't a "Godfather" movie.  Can't agree with the defenses of Sofia, though - she was utterly awful.


Actually, most of the acting in "GF III" was bad, and that goes double for Pacino.  The Michael of "GF III" bears absolutely no resemblance to the one seen in the first two movies.


"GF III" is a mediocre film on its own and a terrible conclusion to the "Godfather" series...


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#12 of 67 OFFLINE   SD_Brian

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Posted May 11 2011 - 03:44 PM



Originally Posted by Colin Jacobson 

What is this, the "Godfather III" apologist thread? Posted Image


Yes.  We'll be turning our attention to Joel Schumacher's wildly under-appreciated gem, Batman & Robin next!  Posted Image


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#13 of 67 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted May 11 2011 - 03:59 PM



Originally Posted by Colin Jacobson 

The Michael of "GF III" bears absolutely no resemblance to the one seen in the first two movies.




I would argue that that was the point of the movie: in The Godfather Part II, as we watch DeNiro assembling his empire in the turn of the century scenes, we simultaneously witness Michael dismantling his soul, piece by piece.  It was bad enough (in terms of what happens to his character) that at the end of the first film, he's taken over his father's business, struck back against all his enemies with a kind of vengeance we never saw Brando display.  The first film ends with him killing his brother-in-law (who, admittedly, did have it coming), but far worse, looking his wife straight in the eye and lying to her face.  (The Michael we see at the beginning of the film would never have done such a thing.)  But his trespasses in the second film are far, far worse - and at the end of it, he's lost his wife, we can see that while he may have custody of the kids, they seem completely uncomfortable and maybe even terrified of his presence, and of course he murders his own brother.  I'd argue that whatever bit of conscience Michael may have left, whatever fragments of his soul might have remained, were completely annihilated by the film's final moments.  The cold, calculating rage that became part of his character may have enabled him to commit those acts, but it doesn't help you live with them.  The Michael we see in Part III, even from the beginning, is someone who is completely destroyed; he's a shell of a man, his body beginning to be ravaged by the cruel passage of time, his spirit completely broken by the events of his life.



#14 of 67 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted May 11 2011 - 10:14 PM



Originally Posted by Josh Steinberg 





I would argue that that was the point of the movie: in The Godfather Part II, as we watch DeNiro assembling his empire in the turn of the century scenes, we simultaneously witness Michael dismantling his soul, piece by piece.  It was bad enough (in terms of what happens to his character) that at the end of the first film, he's taken over his father's business, struck back against all his enemies with a kind of vengeance we never saw Brando display.  The first film ends with him killing his brother-in-law (who, admittedly, did have it coming), but far worse, looking his wife straight in the eye and lying to her face.  (The Michael we see at the beginning of the film would never have done such a thing.)  But his trespasses in the second film are far, far worse - and at the end of it, he's lost his wife, we can see that while he may have custody of the kids, they seem completely uncomfortable and maybe even terrified of his presence, and of course he murders his own brother.  I'd argue that whatever bit of conscience Michael may have left, whatever fragments of his soul might have remained, were completely annihilated by the film's final moments.  The cold, calculating rage that became part of his character may have enabled him to commit those acts, but it doesn't help you live with them.  The Michael we see in Part III, even from the beginning, is someone who is completely destroyed; he's a shell of a man, his body beginning to be ravaged by the cruel passage of time, his spirit completely broken by the events of his life.


I agree with this. I liked the third part. I thought Pacino's performance was haunting. You start out liking him in 1, you hate him by the end of 2, he tries to redeem himself but can't in 3, and just when I didn't think I could feel for him again I did.




#15 of 67 OFFLINE   Cinescott

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Posted May 12 2011 - 12:29 AM

II is without question my favorite. It's the darkest of the three and the structure is so different that it's fun to re-watch. I like the simultaneous story lines and the time jumps. I also liked how Pacino evolved (or devolved) into a monster. He's all sweetness and light in the first film (even though he does murder a ton of people by the end), but gets very mean by the time II rolls around. He has the whole "my family is the most important thing" going for him, but the decisions he makes to protect the family are, shall we say, questionable? Wanna go fishing, Fredo?


There's a hilarious part in the special features where people discuss their favorite lines from the three films. My favorites:


"Leave the gun, take the cannoli."


"Look how they messed with my boy."


"I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!"


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#16 of 67 OFFLINE   Brian Borst

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Posted May 12 2011 - 04:23 AM



Originally Posted by SD_Brian 




Yes.  We'll be turning our attention to Joel Schumacher's wildly under-appreciated gem, Batman & Robin next!  Posted Image


Well, Elliot Goldenthal's music for both Schumacher movies has always been underrated, I think Posted Image.


Anyway, to The Godfather, I truly believe The Godfather Part III isn't a bad film. It's just that, since the two before it were so incredibly good, it just suffers in comparison. Of course, the second part had to deal with the same, since The Godfather was an incredibly popular movie, but there's a difference between a sequel coming out two years after the first, or a sequel coming out twenty-six years after a movie. The movies get appreciated (and/or hyped) in such a long time. I also felt Sofia Coppola wasn't that bad in the role, but I think that with Winona Ryder and Robert Duvall in it, the movie would've been better. Or would have been received better.



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#17 of 67 ONLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted May 12 2011 - 05:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian Borst 

Well, Elliot Goldenthal's music for both Schumacher movies has always been underrated, I think Posted Image.


Anyway, to The Godfather, I truly believe The Godfather Part III isn't a bad film. It's just that, since the two before it were so incredibly good, it just suffers in comparison. Of course, the second part had to deal with the same, since The Godfather was an incredibly popular movie, but there's a difference between a sequel coming out two years after the first, or a sequel coming out twenty-six years after a movie. The movies get appreciated (and/or hyped) in such a long time. I also felt Sofia Coppola wasn't that bad in the role, but I think that with Winona Ryder and Robert Duvall in it, the movie would've been better. Or would have been received better.



What I had heard, and I'm not certain that it's totally correct, is that Ms. Ryder arrived on set direct from her last shoot, totally exhausted from overwork.  Everything and everyone was in place to begin shooting, and with something like 48 hours notice, Ms. Coppola was substituted with no prep.  A possible matter of the show having to go on.  Her background and parentage was perfect for the role as her parents' backgrounds match that of Michael and Kay.


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#18 of 67 OFFLINE   Cinescott

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Posted May 12 2011 - 06:15 AM



Originally Posted by Robert Harris 

Quote:


What I had heard, and I'm not certain that it's totally correct, is that Ms. Ryder arrived on set direct from her last shoot, totally exhausted from overwork.  Everything and everyone was in place to begin shooting, and with something like 48 hours notice, Ms. Coppola was substituted with no prep.  A possible matter of the show having to go on.  Her background and parentage was perfect for the role as her parents' backgrounds match that of Michael and Kay.


RAH



If I remember right, FFC's commentary on Part III mentions this. I believe they were shooting in Rome, she arrived there totally spent and Ms. Coppola was brought in at the last moment. I do miss the presence of Robert Duvall, however. There could have been a very interesting continuation of his character in III.


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#19 of 67 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted May 12 2011 - 07:34 AM



Originally Posted by Cinescott 

I do miss the presence of Robert Duvall, however. There could have been a very interesting continuation of his character in III.


Indeed. A higher paycheck for Days of Thunder was waiting, which is a shame in more ways than one.




#20 of 67 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted May 12 2011 - 07:58 AM



Originally Posted by Cinescott 

If I remember right, FFC's commentary on Part III mentions this. I believe they were shooting in Rome, she arrived there totally spent and Ms. Coppola was brought in at the last moment. I do miss the presence of Robert Duvall, however. There could have been a very interesting continuation of his character in III.


That's what I remember as well.  I think RAH also makes a good point, that Sophia's personal background matched what the character's was supposed to be (so long as you substitute "filmmaking empire" for "crime empire").  I think Duvall is by far the biggest loss in III, and looking back on it now, it seems silly that they couldn't agree on a salary.  I think the George Hamilton character was invented to take his place, but it's just not the same - one more familiar face around the table would have made a big difference in the final result.


For me, Part III is really interesting because I see it as a story about mortality.  Kay was right in the second film when she accused Michael of being blind to what was right in front of him; Part III shows the consequences of that.  Michael tried to control his empire with the same mentality of people who hoard their money and possessions as if you could take them with you to the next life.  Part III is the repudiation of that; death comes to us all, it's equally unforgiving regardless of the kind of lives we lead - Michael may have escaped jail, may have escaped being killed, but he can't outrun death.  In the second film, he acts like he's going to live forever; in the third, we see how pointless that kind of thinking truly is.  I always liked that the film cut from Mary's death right to Michael's death -- by the time he confesses midway through the film about Fredo, we see how how suffers, and we can tell that he knows he deserves to be in agony.  But it's one thing to know you deserve to be in pain, and then it's another thing to experience the kind of pain losing a child (especially in the way Mary died) for the rest of your life.  At that moment, his life is truly over; whatever reconciliation he had tried for with Kay and with Anthony, you know that's over, that they will never, ever forgive him and probably never spoke to him again.  He's a man that's truly lost everything.  I think at the end of the second film, we as the audience understand that, but Michael as a character does not - Michael thinks he's won at the end of the second movie, we know he really didn't, not by any standard I'd choose to live by.  It's a brutally unforgiving ending to a film that has very few moments of joy in it.  It probably is the fate he deserved; that doesn't always make it fun to watch.


I really respect Coppola for making the film the way he did; I'm sure he must've faced all the pressure in the world to do another film where Michael "won" at the end, where he's still in the crime life at the beginning, a film where he was a gangster from start to finish.  Instead, he made a film about the consequences of all of Michael's life choices, a film about the cruel yet just end to an awful life.  Part III doesn't let Michael off the hook, and it doesn't really let the audience off either.







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