Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.

Review. Alright, not a review, a gush about Godfather part II

Well, I've seen it, and I can now go home, sit in my bath and die a happy woman. What do I say? What on earth can I say? Firstly thank the gods that the Godfather movies are those rare things, movies that improve with every watch. Perhaps it's because they're damn confusing and need several goes to appreciate the depth, perhaps just because they're great.

For the purposes of this discussion, Godfather I is "the present", II is "the future" and anything else "the past". Not strictly true, but close enough.

I can see why it's called cinema's greatest sequal, but it's not as good as the original in my most humble opinion. I think what's really missing is the arc. You don't get to see so much of an emotional journey from anyone. It's a bit like the second half of The Godfather, only four times as long. Vito's avuncular presence in the "future" non-flashback section is sorely missed.

The mark of a good sequal is it referencing the original, without being a copy. Now because this film surrounds the original chronalogically, you get to learn how the character in a wheelchair got there and what later happened to Clemenza (I can't actually remember which one he was, but I do recognise the name!). My greatest disappointment with Zulu Dawn was that through all the long, laborious "crossing the river" sequence, not one of the characters made a remark that somebody should build a bridge - a brilliant treat for fans of the original.

I may be about to make myself enemies here, but I do think it fails on the second point. Many times this felt an intsy bit like a rehash of the original. Begins with Family party, which patriarch misses most of due to conversations in a dark office. Ends with a well-coordinated series of messy deaths. Contains obligatory blasphemous death during Catholic ceremony. Poor Kay even gets a door shut on her again.

The amusing thing is, of all the films I've ever seen, this would be the only one I'd trust myself to recognise a character purely from their sillouhette or voice. Because there are so many ill-lit shots (arty yes, confusing also) you really get to know them without seeing their faces.

This one didn't hit me quite as hard as the last one. Did I tell you how long it took me to recover? Several weeks at any rate, spent vaguely in a dream. Don't laugh it's serious! I had to invite a friend round next day to give me something else to think about. Anyway, this one only took a few days.

I'm doing the Cold War in history GSCE and had trouble with the dates. But New Years Eve 1959 is one I am now never going to forget ever.

My dads only real comment, apart from shock that the film stretched across two discs, was that one day he really wanted to try a banana daiquiri, just so he could find out what it was.

I thought the change of Vito would be really jarring, but actually it wasn't so bad. Possibly because in the flashbacks he took turns at resembling his various sons, possibly because he never trespassed into what I am calling "the present".

In fact, the second-to-last-ish scene, the one back just before the original film, with the entire family around the table - that must have been my favorite part. If only Solezzo had known quite what he was unleashing, he might have thought twice before doing what he did...

And now, we go onto my favorite subject.

I madly adored a character once who, when irritated, became cold and snippy; when angered shouted and when absolutely brimming with fury, became cold again. He reminds me very much of our Michael at times. Everyone has a thing they can't take, that really hurts - and the poor don gets walloped where it hurts about four or five times by the end.

There are the odd savagely amusing bits. Michael's sincerity is an absolute joy to behold. Anyone who adored the final two scenes of the original will have a ball here. The casual mistruths are slipped in perfectly naturally.

Highlight if you've already seen the film, or if you just want to enternally spoil it for yourself.

Only one thing has troubled me unduly. After leaving the party on the aforementioned New Years Eve, Michael shouts to Fredo to come back - "You're still my brother". Now I genuinely wonder whether he always had it in for Fredo, I really do...was leaving when he did actually a better idea in the long run? I don't know...


gautham said...

godfather II is the greatest sequel to any film..Godfather III was crap... i actually like pacino more than brando...especially in scarface..he is GOD

Ninquelosse said...

Well, each to his own. Personally, I thought part III wasn't too bad. I want to see Scarface so much!

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