6 May 2000 | kallah
Alongside Star Wars, this is the best saga in motion picture
The first two episodes of The Godfather have already been critically acclaimed. There's not much of a point in adding to these praises. There have been so many negative critiques of Part III that a commentary in favor of the final episode is due.
Here it is. The last of the trilogy can be appreciated for its consistency with the first two, particularly with the film's loyalty to the recurring theme of the entire saga: family.
Once lineless and rendered obscure to the plot, Lucy Mancini (original actress and all) has returned to the saga after being left behind in Part I. And she has brought a not-so-little remnant of her affair with Santino Corleone with her. Recall the scene in Part I when Sonny leaves Lucy's apartment with his henchmen to pick up his sister. That was perhaps the very moment after which the last Don Corleone was conceived.
Another one of Santino's remnants has returned to the saga in Part III: his twins (Francesca and the other one). They are now grown and still identical, and still adorable too. Remember their line in Part II, Mommy, Daddy's fighting again!" and their inclusion in the Corleone family portrait taken at Connie's wedding.
Also returning are Al Neri, Calo (the Sicilian bodyguard), Tommassino, Johnny Fontaine (voice still intact), and Sofia Coppola even though she posed as Connie's baby in Part 1. Speaking of Sofia, she arouses a touching appreciation of the scene in Part II that shows little Mary Corleone running in a hotel hallway while her parents argue inside the room. And Anthony becomes a paradox to the boy in Part I who is ostensibly imminent to be the next Godfather.
As usual, the political intrigue makes the film exciting if you're paying attention. And the very title of Part III presents a double meaning: third episode, third Godfather. Andy Garcia is perfect for the part (remember him in The Untouchables). As they say in the mob, Vincent Corleone "wears it" when he is ordained Don Corleone, Neri and others acknowledging his throne in the proper fashion. The scene chills you with nostalgia and images of Bonasera kissing Vito's hand, and Clemenza and Rocco Lampone kissing Michael's.
To be honest, Part III is rude to newcomers to the Corleone family. It's presumptuous that viewers will appreciate what's occurring without realizing that this will be the first time many even see a Godfather flick. This is also why so many critics bashed Part III. They critique it as an individual feature instead of an integral episode to a classic saga. Okay, okay...
The shortcomings of Part III comprise the main reason why the Trilogy version must be viewed to appreciate the Godfather saga. Like Phantom Menace, The Godfather Part III is empty without the rest of the story (even though Menace can stand alone better). Yet, like Star Wars, The Godfather is a classic of classics in literature, performance, and cinema: the best in motion picture history.