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20 Godfather Part II, The 1974 
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Post 20 Godfather Part II, The 1974
See James review


Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:36 am
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Post Re: 20 Godfather Part II, The 1974
After reading the recent fracas between Rob and Ragna, I have to admit that Rob might actually have a bit of a point. We have let ourselves slip a little. Or, at the very least, there's nothing stopping us from holding ourselves to a higher standard. So to do something about it, or at least expurgate my own guilt a little bit, I think I'll make comments on some of the "great movies." Feel free to ignore these, but I'd love to get into a bit of a discussion about some of these.

The Godfather Part II (1974) ***

Could this be the most overrated movie of all time? Hard to say. It's at least a decent film, but the gulf between the movie that it is and the movie that people claim it is is massive. It has its good scenes, but the flaws are legion.

1. This is the very definition of an unnecessary sequel. The entire story was told in the first film. In the second we get two threads that are of no relevance and have no real connection to each other. In one thread we see a young Robert DeNiro (very fine until he starts doing a bad Brando impression) taking power in turn of the century New York. This is literally leftover material from the book that Coppola decided to film, apparently for the heck of it. In the other thread we see Michael dealing with his families in the present, in a story that's so completely unnecessary. HE ALREADY TURNED COLD AND EVIL IN THE FIRST FILM: WHAT'S THE POINT OF SHOWING THE SAME ARC AGAIN?
2. Without Brando, Caan, and Castellano (Clemenza) the movie really suffers for interesting characters. Robert Duvall has no role, Pacino is a robot, Keaton is ridiculous, etc. Thank God for Gazzo and Strasburg, who provide the only real sparks.
3. Several scenes, most notably the agonizingly bad sequence in which Kay reveals to Michael that IT WASN'T A MISCARRIAGE IT WAS AN ABORTION, showcase some really weak writing. Perhaps the natural result of a movie that didn't have any need to be made.

So while I like a lot of things about the movie, I am offended by its very existence and can't believe people could POSSIBLY esteem it higher than the original. Thoughts?

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Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:34 pm
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Post Re: 20 Godfather Part II, The 1974
Not a bad idea to BUMP some of these threads. M should be revived by me soon (I tried watching it tonight but my concentration faded after 20 minutes... not the movie's fault but the general climate of things today).

The Godfather Part II isn't just a study of Michael descending but Michael being left completely alone -- one might be tempted, maybe persuaded, into to thinking that Michael is right where he'd like to be at the movie's closing shot.

The movie, flaws and all, is a great piece of entertainment -- it enriches the first chapter while not, as legend may have it, eclipsing it. The entire story has been edited into one film under the title The Godfather Saga (broadcast on NBC some decades back) and this is probably an ideal film if Kunz is correct in stating that the sequel is unnecessary. I see it as more of the same -- hardly a bad thing if the same is 90% the quality of The Godfather.

It's been too long for me to contribute any more meaningfully -- several years have passed (5?) since I've seen it -- but I always liked watching the first two films back-to-back (at least in spirit) over a weekend.

Lousy post.


Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:04 am
Post Re: 20 Godfather Part II, The 1974
1. The two arcs are complementary. The rise of the father-king from obscurity and the assembling of his clan, versus the fall of the son-king and the dissolution of the clan.

2. Jim Emerson has contended something that I hadn't thought about before: The Godfather, Part II is what makes the original The Godfather a great movie, as opposed to a merely good one.


Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:35 am
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Post Re: 20 Godfather Part II, The 1974
Ken wrote:
1. The two arcs are complementary. The rise of the father-king from obscurity and the assembling of his clan, versus the fall of the son-king and the dissolution of the clan.


That would make a lot more sense if Michael actually "fell". If anything, by the end he's consolidated his power to the point where he's a stronger king than ever before. It would also make sense if Vito's rise to power somehow contrasted Michael's leadership, showing one to be better than the other. But they're both kinda ruthless and violent. So not so much there either

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Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:46 am
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Post Re: 20 Godfather Part II, The 1974
The Godfather, Part II always seemed like two movies that never quite fit together story wise for me. Michael's story more interesting on a "man who gained the world, but lost his soul" level but his father's more interesting on a story telling level. I don't quite agree with Emerson (nice to see him getting attention on the forum) in that I think the first Godfather was a masterpiece that stood up well on its own, and the third... well it was well-made and mostly well-acted (you're lucky you went on to make good movies Sofia cause your acting damaged the films most emotionally crippling scene, goddamn you) but The Godfather or even Part II it was not.


Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:15 am
Post Re: 20 Godfather Part II, The 1974
JamesKunz wrote:
1. This is the very definition of an unnecessary sequel. The entire story was told in the first film. In the second we get two threads that are of no relevance and have no real connection to each other. In one thread we see a young Robert DeNiro (very fine until he starts doing a bad Brando impression) taking power in turn of the century New York. This is literally leftover material from the book that Coppola decided to film, apparently for the heck of it. In the other thread we see Michael dealing with his families in the present, in a story that's so completely unnecessary. HE ALREADY TURNED COLD AND EVIL IN THE FIRST FILM: WHAT'S THE POINT OF SHOWING THE SAME ARC AGAIN?


I must say that I couldn't disagree more. For me, Part I is about the passing of the torch from Vito to Michael Corleone, who cannot or will not change his destiny and chooses the family (or clan) over an all-American lifestyle. Part II is about how Michael Corleone tries to hold the family together, just like his father did, but failing terribly with catastrophic consequences. This is contrasted nicely with Vito Corleone's rise to power, who is a much warmer character than his son. Whereas Michael resorts to violence relatively quickly, despite of trying to go legitimate (or at least claiming to do so), we only see the (young) Vito Corleone in a single violent act (the killing of the Black Hand don) and rather using intimidation concealed by joviality.


Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:39 am
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Post Re: 20 Godfather Part II, The 1974
Unke wrote:
Part II is about how Michael Corleone tries to hold the family together, just like his father did, but failing terribly with catastrophic consequences.


But he already did this in the end of Part I. He kills Carlo, essentially a family member, despite the wishes of his wife and sister. He kills Tessio. He kills the heads of the Five Families as he sits emotionless in the Godfather ceremony. His wife asks him about it. He yells at her and then promises to tell the truth, but lies. She looks at him distantly (great camerawork by Coppola, incidentally) from the other room and sees the cold-hearted bastard that her husband has become. AAAAAnnnnnn cue the credits, what a movie.

All of this happened in the first film, completing Michael's transition from family outsider to cold-blooded ruler of the family with nothing human left. And then it happens AGAIN in the second film. So redundant

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Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:46 am
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Post Re: 20 Godfather Part II, The 1974
JamesKunz wrote:
Unke wrote:
Part II is about how Michael Corleone tries to hold the family together, just like his father did, but failing terribly with catastrophic consequences.


But he already did this in the end of Part I. He kills Carlo, essentially a family member, despite the wishes of his wife and sister. He kills Tessio. He kills the heads of the Five Families as he sits emotionless in the Godfather ceremony. His wife asks him about it. He yells at her and then promises to tell the truth, but lies. She looks at him distantly (great camerawork by Coppola, incidentally) from the other room and sees the cold-hearted bastard that her husband has become. AAAAAnnnnnn cue the credits, what a movie.

All of this happened in the first film, completing Michael's transition from family outsider to cold-blooded ruler of the family with nothing human left. And then it happens AGAIN in the second film. So redundant


You are absolutely correct, Michael's transition from outsider to head of the family is completed by the end of the first movie. I think that Part II has a different emphasis, though. Part II is about how Michael tries to rule the empire he has inherited by the end of part 1 and hold the family together. Because he is cold and ruthless and not the patriarch his father was, he successfully exercises his power against his rivals, but not only fails in strengthening the family but actually destroys it (abortion, fratricide).

Your observation, that the killing of Carlo and Tessio at the end of part 1 also marks murders of family members, is a good point, but weren't these killings premeditated by both, Michael and Vito? The old Don just couldn't act out on his plans because he had given his word of honour to the dons of the other families that he wouldn't start a war. It's also worth noting that neither Tessio nor Carlo are blood brothers of Michael, unlike Fredo. I also vaguely remember that Carlo isn't a Sicilian but a Neapolitan or something.

I agree that the second film is unneccessary in so far as the first Godfather movie is complete in itself, whereas Part II makes no sense without having seen the first one. However, Part II enriches the experience of the Godfather saga. And if a sequel is that good, I don't mind it if it is strictly speaking unnecessary.


Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:51 am
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Post Re: 20 Godfather Part II, The 1974
here's a related thread

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=641


Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:22 pm
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Post Re: 20 Godfather Part II, The 1974
calvero wrote:
here's a related thread

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=641


Ah yes. The first (and possibly only) thread I ever made on this forum. I found it odd to read my post again. It seems what I look for in films has changed substantially since then. Younger me was right, but I'm not sure for the right reasons. At the time I complained about the plot feeling looser in the first one, and while that's a fair assessment I believe the problem isn't the looseness but the fact that the extraneous scenes didn't seem to have the emotional power they were supposed to, while the 2nd all seemed to fit together better. I think that's what I meant all along, but it's worth rewording a little. I should revisit both films, though. It's been a couple years.


Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:31 pm
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