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Godfather III - inferior sequel or just misunderstood? (MERGED THREAD)


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#1 of 72 David Oliver

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Posted August 14 2001 - 09:45 AM

I have noticed a lot of complaints (not necessariily here, mind you) about how "bad" Godafther III is. I read on another forum someone refer to it as an abortion, I recall the Simpsons making a joke about it ("That was worse than Godfather III" "Hey, hey let's not say things we can't take back") and just the general impression that it was not a good movie.

It has been a while since I have seen it but I don't recall it being particularly bad. In fact I thought it was quite good. But I will grant it is lacking desperately when compared to I and II. Is the negativelty because folks honestly feel it is a bad movie or because it failed to maintain the high standard of the first two, creating a "blemish", so to speak? Or am I wrong altogether and folks don't see this as a failure?
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#2 of 72 Kevin Leonard

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Posted August 14 2001 - 09:56 AM

It's not bad at all...except for one huge problem called Sofia Coppola. She stops the movie dead whenever she shows up.

Also, despite fine writing, directing, acting, editing, music, etc., it just doesn't have the same feel to it. The previous two films covered a lot of ground and had a lot of tricky edits to accomplish, which they did with flying colors; I was 13 when I first saw The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, and everything made sense to me.

Godfather III just feels choatic, somewhat unshaped...like Coppola padded the running time out to match the scope of the previous Godfather films. It just kinda rambles on for about 3 hours and fades to black. Roger Ebert said it best: the movie only really comes alive during moments of violence. That's not the type of reaction you'd want for an epic like this.

Plus, the final death scene has been known to bring laughter from viewers. I didn't laugh, but left the movie feeling the last few minutes felt like a cop-out.

But I'd still reccomend it...despite its flaws, it's an enjoyable way to kill 3 hours.

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[Edited last by Kevin Leonard on August 14, 2001 at 04:59 PM]
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#3 of 72 Damian

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Posted August 14 2001 - 10:04 AM

I actually loved it. Sofia wasn't all THAT bad in my opinion. But I still wonder what the movie would have been like had Wynonna Ryder taken the part, and not checked herself into a mental institution instead. (She had to do, what she had to do)

I love all three Godfather movies, but number III is the only one I was able to see in the theater since I was a little young at the time of the release of I and II.


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#4 of 72 Michael Reuben

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Posted August 14 2001 - 10:08 AM

It's best on first viewing, when you can be a little surprised by some of the plot developments. But it doesn't age well, and subsequent viewings don't reveal the depth or refinement that can be found in the first two.

I agree that Sofia Coppola (a last-minute replacement for an ailing Winona Ryder) is a big part of the problem. Too bad, because Andy Garcia's work in G3 is some of the best he's ever done. The sequence with Bridget Fonda in his apartment is still one of my favorites.

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#5 of 72 Richard Travale

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Posted August 14 2001 - 10:25 AM

I agree that G3 is pretty damned good.

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#6 of 72 Jon Bell

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Posted August 14 2001 - 11:34 AM

Sophia Coppola is terrible in this movie, and by herself, she does it in. The ending looks like a Monty Python skit. It, like Fredo, is dead to me.

#7 of 72 JonZ

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Posted August 14 2001 - 12:40 PM

I dont think its a bad movie, but disappointing because the first 2 were so stellar.

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#8 of 72 Carlo Medina

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Posted August 14 2001 - 01:17 PM

My vote is relatively bad. I think that on its own, it's an average/good movie. But you can't follow up GFI & II with this effort.

My main beefs:

1. Sofia Coppola
2. Lack of Robert Duval
3. Attempt to replace Duval with George Whatsisname
4. Connie having to become the counterpoint to Michael because of no Duval (no strong 2nd lead, and I'm not counting Garcia's character here) - it's simply unbelievable especially when you think about the last time we saw Connie before GFIII...

#9 of 72 Paul Markey

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Posted August 14 2001 - 01:23 PM

"Godfather3" should have been made within a few years of "G2" to maintain the momentum built up by Coppola and the cast in the first two films. It could've been set (and filmed) in the seventies, with minimal aging of the characters and had a more natural succession and conclusion to the Corleone saga.

Coppola is on record as saying the only reason he made "G3" was for the money. If he wasn't broke he never would've agreed to do it. Everybody was in it for the money. Robert Duvall did not appear as he wanted a bigger paycheck and they wouldn't agree to his price. He is notable by his absence and George Hamilton a poor substitute. Sofia Coppola's performance (or lack of it) sticks out like a sore thumb when surrounded by such heavyweights. The fact that Coppola chose her to replace Winona Ryder in the first place I think is a reflection of how, in his heart of hearts, he really cared about "G3", which was "Play it safe. Do a solid commercial job. Don't even TRY to match the others!"

As it stands "G3" is by no means a bad film. It's facinating to watch, for all its faults. It has its moments which are of Corleone vintage. Like everyone else here I regard Parts 1 and 2 as American cinema at its most brilliant. Those two films are the holiest of the holy! An impossible act to follow so late in the day (1990). Ultimately, I take "Godfather Part 3" as just an epiloge to Parts 1 and 2.

Waiting patiently for the DVDs, perhaps Coppola will shed some new light on it in retrospect.



#10 of 72 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted August 14 2001 - 05:42 PM

Actually bad. I know I'm in the vast minority in this, but I wasn't a big fan of the first two, either.


#11 of 72 Kirk Tsai

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Posted August 14 2001 - 06:47 PM

I would consider it relatively bad as well. I've seen it twice, but there are some plot points in which I don't totally understand. Now, it could be my problem, but I had no problems with either of the first two films. As others have said, Sofia Coppola and the missing of Duvall sure hurt the film. And on my second time watching the film, the absense of Duvall seemed even a bigger problem than Sofia's poor acting. Why? Because there's no one in the family. Al Nerie (sp.) is still just a right hand man, and Connie had never been part of the family business in the previous films. However, even if Coppola had made the movie just for the money, I feel it is a logical continuation of Michael's story. If the first film was his rise to power, the second being his evilness peaking, then the third film is his search for redemtion. Some people might have laughed at the end of Part III, but I felt my heartaching for him. Maybe the first two films already did most of the work, but I still find the third film engaging.

#12 of 72 Dome Vongvises

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Posted August 14 2001 - 08:25 PM

When you consider the caliber of the first two Godfather films, The Godfather Part III by your question is relatively bad. Yes, Sofia Coppola was a bad choice, but her performance is forgivable, seeing how she wasn't the first choice. From what I've heard, she's more like her father, a director at heart (every person I've met has said that The Virgin Suicides was pretty good). It also didn't help that Robert Duvall wasn't in the movie either (George Hamilton didn't bother me, but the use of Tom Hagen's son did). On its own, it's a pretty good flick. There are at least three moments in the movie which I consider to be pretty good. One is the "They pull me back in speech" which I thought was pretty cool. Two is the whole Callavera Rusticana scenes (is it just me or do Italian directors like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola love this work?). The third is the ending. I only have this movie because I think it's decent, and I'm a obsessive compeletist.

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#13 of 72 Scott Calvert

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Posted August 15 2001 - 02:34 AM

Worse than Sophia, worse than the lack of Duvall, worse than that hilarious ending, is Talia Shire's line:

"Now they will fear you."

I dunno why, but I just about shot pepsi through my nose when I first heard that line.

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#14 of 72 Rich Malloy

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Posted August 15 2001 - 02:44 AM

Quote:
Coppola is on record as saying the only reason he made "G3" was for the money. If he wasn't broke he never would've agreed to do it.

I think that might also explain Apocalypse Now Redux.
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#15 of 72 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted August 15 2001 - 03:48 AM

The shorter theatrical cut had less Sophia in it and played better than the extended versions that have appeared on every home video release.

Godfather II had some casting problems as well. Richard S. Castellano would not agree to terms to reprise the Clemenza role, so they had to create the Frankie Pentangeli character and deliver his backstory through expository dialog. Gazzo did a good job with the character, but the story and its parallel structure would have resonated even more profoundly if it had been Clemenza. Pentangeli's working into the story was just as awkward, but he was given a lot more to do than George Hamilton.

I think the previous poster probably had it right that most of the hefty scenes that Duvall would have had were shifted to Talia Shire. On the other hand, I though Talia Shire was one of the highlights of the third film, so I won't complain too much.

Suffice it to say that my two favorite gangster movies of all time were GF1 & GF2. GF3 was my third favorite gangster film of 1990 (behind Miller's Crossing & Goodfellas).

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#16 of 72 Carlo Medina

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Posted August 15 2001 - 04:18 AM

Oh man, Clemenza was still alive?

I always figured that the reason he wasn't in the movie was that the actor had died. Yes, the lack of Clemenza is, to me, almost as big as the lack of Duval.

1. Didn't Duval just want the same money as Pacino? To me, that would have been a fair demand. If he wanted more, then I could understand why the studio wouldn't pay him.

2. Wasn't Sofia replacing Winona because Winona had collapsed from exhaustion on the set? She had just finished, what was it, Dracula? And they wouldn't hold up production to let her recover? That's the story I heard...

How much more moving would the story have been if Tom Hagen were the Connie character...i.e. taking over the ruthless side of the family business since Michael wants out, a very good reversal from GFII where Michael tried to protect Tom from the dirty side of the business. If Winona had just brought ANY respectability to the duaghter role. If Clemenza (the Corleone's oldest and dearest caporegime) had turned traitor on Michael, but then realized his error and committed suicide?

I shudder to think what could have been.

#17 of 72 Kevin Leonard

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Posted August 15 2001 - 04:29 AM

Quote:
2. Wasn't Sofia replacing Winona because Winona had collapsed from exhaustion on the set? She had just finished, what was it, Dracula? And they wouldn't hold up production to let her recover? That's the story I heard...
Er, Bram Stoker's Dracula was shot in 1992...by Francis Coppola. I believe Ryder had done something like 4 movies back-to-back; I think she agreed to the part then dropped out a couple days before production started, during rehearsals.

I read that Madonna was also considered for the part originally before Sofia Coppola took over. *shudders violently*

Even weirder, Francis Coppola considered putting Robert De Niro in the Andy Garcia role! Now that would've been interesting to see.

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#18 of 72 Tim Gerdes

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Posted August 15 2001 - 09:39 AM

I view the Godfather Parts I and II as masterpieces. I view the Godfather Part III as a flawed masterpiece. It isn't nearly the film that the original was, but I don't think it's bad, even relatively, just flawed.

Sophia Coppola's acting does make me cringe a little, but I don't think Winona Ryder would have been right for the role either. Another actress that was considered for the role, who I think might have done the part justice, is Laura San Giacomo.

I think perhaps one of the reasons the film is poorly regarded is that, like the first two films, it is slow and deliberate and most of the action takes place in dark rooms.

By 1990, when the third film was released, perhaps audiences were accustomed to the faster and bloodier nature of modern cinema, and thus more interested in a film like Goodfellas, which was much more a product of its time than The Godfather Part III was.

My only real problem with Part III, apart from Ms. Coppola's performance, was the addition of the character Don Altobello. Like Frankie Pentangeli, he seemed misplaced.

In both of these cases the family needed an antagonist from within their history, but because these characters were not seen, or even mentioned earlier, they seemed to be tacked on.

The character of B.J. Harrison, as a replacement for Tom Hagen, seemed more plausible to me. Michael had left the old world behind, and in his management of mega-corporations and dealings with the Vatican, a slick lawyer seemed appropriate.

As an aside, I believe the sticking point in contract negotiations between Paramount and Richard Castellano for reprising the role of Clemenza in Part II was Castellano's insistence that he also play Clemenza in the flashback sequences of the film.

#19 of 72 Paul Richardson

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Posted August 15 2001 - 06:42 PM

Actually bad. Some reasons why:

1. Sofia Coppola. Nepotism gone horribly wrong.

2. Part 2 ended perfectly. No other movie was needed.

3. This film didn't do anything that the previous films didn't already do...and better.

4. Too many new characters who we don't care about and who are thin rewrites of other characters in the earlier films.

5. Terrible script and dialogue. All other aspects of the film are mediocre at best (except for the cinematography, which is pretty good from what I remember).

#20 of 72 bill lopez

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Posted August 16 2001 - 07:41 AM

It's bad in the way ALIEN 3, SUPERMAN 3 and STAYIN' ALIVE is bad that it changes the tone of the original great movie.

Had GODFATHER 3 been any other movie it would be o.k. like say CARLITO'S WAY or KING OF NEW YORK.





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