Where I Watched It: Paramount Plus
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Once again, I find myself sitting here in 2022 catching up on a classic film, and searching for something substantial to offer that hasn’t already been offered by thousands who have come before me. Movie critics used to have to have a newspaper or magazine, but with the advent of the internet, we are everywhere. Full on critical pandemic. it would perhaps be something new if I felt that the third installment of this Godfather franchise was the best, since most believe it’s the worst. It is. But worst would be a strong word to use for a film this good. I’d be bucking the trend by actually saying this was the worst, and comparing it to something like Plan 9 From Outer Space. Obviously, it’s not that either.
This is a case of me agreeing with the larger film community. It’s not as strong as the first two efforts. It signs up to be a meditation on life, with michael looking back at all his choices, his decisions, his family, and his future, and trying to decide where, if at all possible, there might be an opportunity for reconciliation, or an exit strategy. He wants to be able to live out his final days in a way that his father never did, an admirable aspect to want to design a film around, but considering the fire and fury in the first two, something feels lacking during the first 2/3rd’s of the film.
That all changes in the final act, when it seems like the cards are stacked against michael and his entire family, and known associates. Someone is going scorched earth, and it is a tense sequence that while long, doesn’t overstay its welcome. Set against the backdrop of Michael’s son’s opera debut, the film forgoes dialogue for a juxtaposition against the plot of the opera on stage. Truly, it’s the final act of this film that closes out the Mario Puzo saga in grand form, not necessarily the whole film.
And while franchise veterans Al Pacino and Diane Keaton both perform well, it really is Andy Garcia and his over eager reminder that there is always someone younger looking to take your spot. Always someone with the fire and the passion, but perhaps not the experience that comes with time. Garcia’s performance is rightly acknowledged with an Oscar nomination, and is one of the best reasons to make sure you do actually finish The Godfather trilogy.
As far as anything else dampening the film, it’s not really a singular moment or thing. It’s just a general vibe you get having watched all three where you just know that this wasn’t as strong as the first two, despite having the most accessible runtime. Featuring a devastating ending, part III is very much a classic.
The Blind Perspective: Part of The Godfather remaster thanks to the original’s 50th anniversary, this one has the least jarring audio experience. It has the best natural audio track preserved from the film, so when the rather recent audio description is mixed in, it’s not so wildly different. The first two had clearly modern audio descriptions against soundtracks that weren’t as remastered as I’m sure the visual film elements, but since Part III isn’t as old, the sound was much better preserved, and the wonderful audio description blended better.
Final Thoughts: I’m glad I can finally say I’ve seen The Godfather trilogy. Finally.
Final Grade: A-