Written by Francis Ford Coppola & Mario Puzo, based on the novel by Puzo
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Starring Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, John Cazale
- Running audio commentary by director Coppola
- Theatrical trailer
Released by: Paramount.
My Advice: Nice, but just buy the bigass boxed set instead.
[ad#longpost]We join this story already in progress. Michael Corleone (Pacino), head burrito of the Corleone family, looks to the day when his business dealings can be completely legit. He’s trying to do this by expanding his empire into Vegas and Cuba without losing the foundation he’s set for himself: his existing empire and his family. While these twisty dealings are taking place in the present day, we get a flashback to Michael’s father, Vito (played in the original film by Marlon Brando, here played in his younger version by DeNiro), and how he came to America and built himself up from nothing.
The original film is one of the best ever made, in my opinion. The thing that’s most startling here is that the sequel keeps pace with it to be just as dramatic, thought-provoking and intense. Part of what makes the film feel incredibly massive and dense is the fact it’s cut in half. And really, I find it impossible to determine which of the two stories is the better…they’re so perfectly woven together you can’t take one without the other. This is nowhere more evident than when we fade out of Pacino’s character suffering a crushing blow regarding family and in on DeNiro in a similar pose, also dealing with a family crisis. Coppola makes it all work.
And it’s because he has just great stuff to work with. You get pretty much everyone back from the first film, plus DeNiro doing a young Vito like he was channeling Brando. Pacino is in fine form as always as his character struggles to maintain his father’s legacy and keep both the business and the family afloat. Talia Shire keeps on her fascinating character arc, and John Cazale has some incredible moments as Fredo. I think everybody knows what I’m talking about. And it’s also because this film takes the internal epic of Michael’s rise, from the first film, and sets it on an epic scale, making it about both father and son and the clan they spawned. It’s amazing stuff.
This is a movie-only version that is taken straight from the Godfather Trilogy Boxed Set. What you do get as far as bonus features go is the audio commentary from Coppola. Coppola’s commentary is heavy with information, including details about cast members, insight into the story and also the behind-the-scenes bits you really want from a commentary. Beyond that, you get the theatrical trailer.
While this release is nice enough for a movie-only version, there’s really no reason I can think of to avoid springing for the full boxed set. I mean, let’s face it, the third movie is on there and nobody wants to acknowledge its existence, but the bonus disc has nice features that you can’t get otherwise. So just grin and bear it and go for the boxed set. You won’t be sorry you did.