Not as perfect as I and II, but wraps it up nicely
mdtinney - wrote on 09/09/09
Flawless like the first two Godfathers were? No. Worth your time watching? Definitely yes. In fact, this is the most intellectual of the Godfather movies; this movie must be watched carefully and intuitively to grasp the full meaning of the complex story told here by Coppola, which is one reason why so many viewers put it down. Okay, let me get the negatives out of the way. Sofia Coppola was not a good choice for Mary Corleone; she was stiff and nervous throughout. I do understand that she was not the first choice though (Winona Ryder and Julia Roberts were in line for casting but both turned it down), so this was not a total example of director boldly flaunting mediocrely-talented daughter in a movie. Also, the presence of Robert Duvall and his Tom Hagen character is sorely missed, replaced by a stale new consiglieri played by George Hamilton. But these complaints only scratch this movie on its otherwise fine surface. Al Pacino should've won Best Actor Oscar in 1990; his performance in this movie was easily one of his most phenomenal ever. Andy Garcia, as Sonny Corleone's illegitimate son Vincent Mancini, was also awesome, and if it wasn't for Joe Pesci's performance in Goodfellas that same year (which was marginally superior), Garcia would've won Best Supporting Actor hands down. Garcia mimicked Caan's mannerisms in a way that is sure to arouse a sense of familiarity. Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Eli Wallach, and Joe Mantegna also all turned in top-notch performances, as usual. Surprisingly, Franc D'Ambrosio was adequate as Anthony Corleone, even though his purpose was to provide the operatic voice needed in the opera sequence. Warning: don't watch this movie until you've seen Part II; it starts with a spoiler to that one. And there may be minor spoilers ahead in this review. Then comes the party sequence, where viewers of the first two Godfathers will recognize the familiar faces, as well as notice the seeds of the intricate plot that lies ahead sown. Then comes into motion Michael Corleone's quest for redemption and legitimacy. Little does he know until later how past associates, corruption among his partners-to-be (including the Roman Catholic Church), other members of his family, and his own sins of the past will make his trail rockier. Several powerful moments are presented: forbidden relationships, near-death experiences, untimely deaths of friends, repairing of family bonds, and Michael Corleone's confession in the garden which almost brought tears to my eyes. Amidst this drama, as powerful as you'd expect from the Godfather series, there lies a sinister plot. Soon the many threads of this intricate and well-written story all come together in the climatic opera sequence, one of the greatest moments in film history and ranking among the baptism sequence from the first movie. The ending is shocking and tragic, and a fitting conclusion to the movie and the trilogy. The Godfather: Part III, though not perfect like I and II, still has a deep story, which is even more intricate than its predecessors and must be viewed intellectually, powerful scenes and sequences, and, for the most part, good acting. If you've avoided watching it due to other's negative comments, try watching it for yourself. If you didn't like it at first, look at it again, look past the minor faults, and pay attention to the intriguing plot. A great movie in it's own right.