The Godfather - Part III
I was given the trilogy on DVD a couple of years ago, and although my wife and I watched parts I & II right away, we were a bit Corleoned out and waited to watch this one. It caused quite a bit of controversy back in the day, as it people's expectations were so high that it was almost bound to fail. Sofia Coppola took most of the heat, and
As a standalone film - it's not bad. It's not great - but it would have been seen as a decent, elegantly shot mob family film. In comparison to Parts I and II, it comes across as disjointed, meandering and poorly written.
Sofia Coppola seemed to take the brunt of critisims on her shoulders - and although she is certainly not Olivier, the movie has enough flaws that they can be shared amongst the principals. Her Dad is mostly to blame as he is the architect for this slowly paced, highly repetitive story. The first two films were tightly woven, with a feeling a menace in almost every scene. So many scened in Part III make the viewer feel as though they are eavedropping on a boring family conversation.
While Ms. Coppola may not be much of an actress, she can hardly be faulted as she was just starting out. What excused does Eli Wallach have for his almost laughable job as Don Altobello. Honestly, my wife and I were giggling during the scene in which he chases after Joe Mantegna after he's left the boardroom. Trying to compete with him ham for ham are the rest of the principals, most notably Talia Shire - whose role was augmented here with fewer and fewer of the Corleone siblings still alive. It's a big shift from Brando, Caan, Duvall and Cazale to Wallach, Shire and Mantegna.
All of that being said, there as some decent moments - even if some of them (the opera 'excecutions across Europe' scene) echo scenes from the earlier films - but nothing really brings it all together. The found the entire Vatican business deals angle is really convoluted, and I used to work as an M&A lawyer!
I really wanted to like this film, as I don't mind being contrarian. I certainly didn't hate it, but I am really glad I didn't watch it immediately after the first two films, as I really think the flaws would have jumped out even more.