Written by Francis Ford Coppola & Mario Puzo
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Starring Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Andy Garcia, Eli Wallach
- Running audio commentary by director Coppola
- Theatrical trailer
Released by: Paramount.
My Advice: This movie never actually happened.
Michael Corleone (Pacino) has almost–almost–gotten out of the illicit businesses that his family used to rely on and gone instead down the path of the straight and narrow. Of course, it’s only cost him his marriage to Kay (Keaton) and quite possibly his soul. Other criminals (Wallach and Joe Mantegna) are after his ass and a young turk of a relative (Garcia) will either be the family’s salvation or another cog in the machine that will destroy it. Some choice, huh?
[ad#longpost]This film is a train wreck. The writing, which was spotless in the first two films, is here deplorable in the extreme. Was this because it was an original story and not based on the novel that spawned all this? I don’t know. It just doesn’t work. It tries to ape the best parts of the first two films and can’t even come close. It starts out meaning well but is ultimately fragmented and just gets worse as time goes on. I’m thinking specifically of the forced-with-a-sledgehammer tragic ending and the just flat out pathetic coda.
With the writing so weak, it’s hard to blame the actors, except maybe for signing up in the first place. Pacino has some great scenes, as does Keaton and especially Shire (whose character has the best arc out of the whole trilogy, from hapless victim to now scheming internal family politician). Garcia, who would have been the logical person on whom to hang the extension of this franchise, is woefully underused and misused. Sofia Coppola, whose performance has been much maligned, is bad, true. But her badness is the least of the concerns with the film and she’s been forgiven a few times over for becoming a great director and giving us some incredible work in that arena.
As with the movie-only version of the second film, this is taken straight from the Godfather Trilogy Boxed Set. The only real bonus feature is Coppola’s audio commentary. Whereas the first two films’ commentaries have been insightful and chocked full of information, here Coppola’s in entrenched defense mode, trying to rationalize and justify this weak ending to the series that he created. He also defends Sofia a lot–which is natural, because she’s his daughter, after all–but it all gets old after a while. Some people actually like the film, amazingly enough, so they’ll commiserate with Coppola as he goes on and on and on about it. But the rest of us sane people will want to give it a pass. Otherwise, there’s a trailer.
This movie isn’t worth owning, regardless of features. However, if you are one of those weirdos who liked it (an early outbreak of ROTSith Syndrome?), then do yourself a favor and grab the full boxed set. It’s got more bonus material and it just doesn’t make sense not to own it.