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The Godfather movies

Discussion in 'The PatsFans.com Pub' started by PonyExpress, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

    Feb 12, 2006
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    For some reason i rewatched the Godfather movies recently.

    These movies have become so iconic, it's a bit difficult to recognize that some of the motifs that now seem like cliches were then groundbreaking.

    When i first saw them, as a teenager, i thought Godfather 2 was better than Godfather. Now, my opinion has completely reversed.

    The Godfather is a movie one can watch over an over. The character arc of Michael, the change he undergoes is fascinating. Brando's performance, while excellent, seems a bit overrated in retrospect IMO. Still, he lends undeniable charisma to the picture and is immediately accepted by the viewer as a believable crime lord, due to that natural charisma, which includes warmth, an intimidating physical presence, a sense of humor.

    In contrast, i found Godfather II to be very overrated, and a comparative disappointment. One thing seems certain: it is more technically proficient from a film standpoint than its predecessor... but it lacks the soul that made the original so compelling, in my mind. The best parts of the film occur when Pacino is off screen. The scenes with Deniro are excellent. but Deniro is portrayed too sympathetically... It's almost as if he is a benevolent figure acting for justice. Still, cinematically the rise of Corleone is stirring.

    Other wonderful features include the acting by the actor who portrays Hyman Roth. One of the best supporting performance I've ever seen, in very limited screen time.

    However, the principle failing of the film, IMO, is the main character, Michael. I found Pacino to be completely without charisma, charm, a sense of humor, all the things that made Brando seem like such a credible Don. In contrast, I never really believed Pacino could be the leader of the American mafia. He just seemed too small and two dimensional for the role, unable to fill the shoes set out for him in the story. He lacks the charisma necessary to command the loyalty of his suboordinates. His performance is wooden, and all of the deference the other characters pay him became somewhat comical as I never believed him a credible mafia Don. Nothing happens to him as a character. He appears to be just as dead at the beginning as at the end to me.

    The theme of Gofather II, IMO, is a morality tale about Italian American identity. The theme is, as italian Americans move away from traditional italian culture, and begin to intermingle with other cultures, be it WASP or Jewish, they lose their vitality and strength, and then their souls.

    Michael and Fredo's dalliances with american women, and Michael's business dealing with Hyman roth, are a metaphor for these issues.

    How one feels about the validity of such a theme will vary from viewer to viewer.

    This is the core theme. There are other more superficial ones, such as the total corruption of the American State, and the rise of the Communists. The only idealism depicted in this movie belongs to the Cuban rebels. Everyone else is a cynical shell of a human being. I think that this theme may be one of the reasons for the movie's overwhelmingly positive critical reception, as there is no surer way to get super reviews from the press than to depict communist rebels in a positive light and the American system as degenerate.

    I wonder if Pacino's overracting in his career following Godfather II was a reaction to his own perception of his wooden performance in this film. He may have been overcompensating after analyzing his own performance.

    Does anyone agree that Godfather II is an overrated flick due to the lack of believability of Pacino as head of the American mafia? Or am I just searching for flaws in a true American classic?
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2008
  2. Scouse Patriot

    Scouse Patriot 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    Oct 2, 2007
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    I do tend to watch the second one more than the first if I pull the boxset out, purely for the story. It's only one of very few sequels in film history that have matched the first film IMO. Michael's situation dictates he's a stern character doesn't it really, hardly any emotion, tense, always looking over his shoulder and just pure business so in that sense I think he pulls it off...Nothing spectacular, Pacino is just a cog that makes the machine work superbly. Micheal, as the film progresses, becomes sort of nostalgic at times too, as the film cuts back to what the family used to be like, he becomes empty as he slowly learns he's on his own. Fredo betrays him, Kay lies to him and the family in ruins compared to what it was...

    I haven't even had the third out the case, just didn't take to it, probrably because of the modern feel to it.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2008
  3. Michael

    Michael Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

    Dec 30, 2004
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    #12 Jersey

    No. It's just a terrible movie. I recall seeing it in the theater with another couple and laughing out loud at some parts.
  4. Patjew

    Patjew PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Dec 22, 2005
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    No Jersey Selected

    Wow, what an analysis!

    I prefer watching the second, but it's DESPITE Pacino's performance. I love it for Deniro's presence. Actually I wish the film consisted solely of the Deniro-era Corleone.
  5. Dino 6 Rings

    Dino 6 Rings Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Feb 4, 2008
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    Great breakdown on the GF movies.

    I prefer the 1st movie, only because of Michael's time in Italy and the twist it takes when his wife Apollonia is killed in the car bombing. That is where the darkness comes that Micheal carries for the rest of the movie and into the 2nd movie. I think that is why he is so dark and non humorous. Remember Vito had the same "love" his entire life and raised that family through it all. After serving in the Army and trying to be legit, he has his love blown up because of the "family" business.

    I like the 1st the best. The 2nd is great because of Robert D and the flashback scenes, that fat guy in the white suit makes me snicker every time. I've tried to re-watch the 3rd to see if maybe I was wrong and to try to be smarter than the rest of the room, but its so poorly acted, I cant get through it.

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