This December is the 30th Anniversary of The Godfather Part III's original release in theaters. In celebration of the milestone, legendary director Francis Ford Coppola spent months working on a new edit of the film now titled, The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone.
The film is clearly the weakest of the trilogy but still managed to get nominated for six academy awards including Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Actor. Yet, on Rotten Tomatoes the film holds a score of only 68%. My biggest issues with the film had been two-fold: it relied too much on the viewer already being invested in the previous films to understand what was going on and who to root for as well as the talented but completely miscast Sofia Coppola, the director's daughter as Mary Corleone.
For those who know the original film well, you will see a trim here and a trim there, throughout the movie. However, the largest changes were saved for the opening and closing of the film. While the new opening does not contain any new footage or meaning, it does help clarify the proposed partnership between the Church and Michael Corleone as they moved a major plot point to the beginning from its previous location later in the story. Therefore, you are reminded right off the bat this is not personal, it's strictly business.
The second biggest change is the ending of the film. I don't want to give too much away but, while the outcome remains the same, the small change they do make sums up the life Michael had chosen, as well as, the past of the first two movies and, most likely, whatever the future might bring for Vincent Corleone.
The aforementioned trims and repositioning of scenes throughout the film really do help the pacing of the movie and does clear out some of the wasted space. My only disappointment is that I don't think it goes far enough. There are a couple of scenes that are borderline cringe-worthy from the original film that I hoped would be on the chopping block but, unfortunately, they are still there.
This release, however, is not just a re-edit. The production team worked for over six months restoring the movie frame by frame from a mixture of over 300 cans of the film negative. as well as a remix of the original 5.1 audio. The end result is an enhanced version with excellent video quality and even better audio. It makes me wonder if there might be a UHD version released in the next few years. Sadly, other than the Digital HD and an optional, new introduction by Coppola, there are no other extras included with this release.
Both the book and the original film, The Godfather, have become synonymous with the stereotypical view of a Mafia Don and has made millions of fans worldwide. With the popularity of the novel and the first film, I can understand why there were two sequels made. However, as per usual, they weren't as good as the original. This re-editing helps the third installment seem more coherent and offers better pacing and flow. If you are one of the many fans of the books and the films, you will definitely want to add this release to your home entertainment collection (until they decide to release a box set of all three movies and this re-edited version).
The film stars Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Andy Garcia, George Hamilton, Joe Mantegna, Talia Shire, Eli Wallach, Sofia Coppola, and Raf Vallone. It was written by Mario Puzo and Frances Ford Coppola, and directed by Frances Ford Coppola.