Monday, December 13, 2010

1974: The Godfather Part II

This, the only Best Picture winning sequel of a Best Picture winner (so far), further develops the story of the Corleone family from two different angles.  Part of the film goes back in time to see the young Vito Corleone begin his life in America.  The rest of the film picks up several years after the first one left off to show Michael Corleone's rise to power in a rapidly changing world.

I have heard this film called the best sequel ever made, but personally I thought this movie was totally inferior to The Godfather.  While the first movie told an intriguing story in a fascinating way, this one tells an okay story in an almost completely incoherent manner.  The jumping back and forth between Vito's story and Michael's story could have been very interesting, but I expected them to relate to each other more.  I felt like the editors just put scenes in at random, so that there was very little cohesion to the story.  Maybe this was done intentionally, to symbolize the lack of organization in so-called "organized crime," but it's very confusing, and makes this film difficult to watch.

Of course, I'm perfectly open to the possibility that I missed something.  That was how I felt throughout most of the film: like I was missing something.  Maybe in a few years I'll watch it again and it will all make perfect sense, but after watching it the first time, I am utterly baffled.  Mostly, I was disappointed because the first movie was so great that I expected this one to be better than it was.  But there were a few aspects that I liked.  Robert De Niro does a tremendous job as the young Vito Corleone, especially considering that his character almost exclusively speaks Sicilian.  He also won Best Supporting Actor, which is interesting because Marlon Brando won Best Actor for playing the same character in The Godfather.  I wish there were more scenes in this film from the Vito storyline and fewer about Michael, who was really getting on my nerves by the end.  Some of the story and character development was really good, don't get me wrong, but again, it was all very confusing.

The Godfather Part III was nominated for Best Picture in 1990, but it didn't win, so I won't be including it in this blog.  However, the first two movies have intrigued me enough that I think I might have to watch it anyway.  Hopefully it will be easier to follow than this one.

Next up: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

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