Godfather of Funk

Last night we watched The Godfather Part III, for completeness’ sake. When I first watched it, I’d been prepared for something abysmal, so I ended up thinking it wasn’t very good but neither was it that bad. Rewatching it, though, I hardly could believe that it was made by the same people who’d worked on the first two Godfather movies.

Enough has been said about Sophia Coppola’s horrible acting in the film, and it’s a good thing that she’s decided to continue her movie work on the other side of the camera. What struck me this second time was how un-cinematic the film is. Both The Godfather and its first sequel are beautiful films to behold. They have an “Old Masters” glow to them. They look like they come from Hollywood’s glory days.

The Godfather 3, by comparison, looks dowdy. They’ve got some nice sets (or they were allowed to film in gorgeous interiors) – but they’re all presented very flatly, and this flatness is heightened by the often pedestrian editing. Granted, there are scenes that look good and that are edited well, but then there are so many others (especially in the half of the film before they go to Sicily) that feel like ’80s television. Especially dialogues are edited with no feel for tension or flow: character A has a line, finishes it, cut to character B doing his or her sub-standard line, cut to character A again. Yup. Bad television editing.

Checking out IMDB, I find it amazing that the film was nominated at the Academy Awards for its cinematography and editing, and I can only believe that the nominations were the Academy’s form of commiserating what had happened to the venerable series and the equally venerable craftsmen working on it.

But I have to wonder: what happened to the Francis Ford Coppola who directed the first two Godfather movies? Or Apocalypse Now? Or The Conversation, a masterfully told tale of paranoia?

P.S.: I don’t get the praises and nominations for the writing either. If the previous Godfather movies were Shakespearean, this one was largely day-time soap… and its attempts at political intrigue were muddled, implying larger schemes but ultimately feeling like so much sound and fury signifying nothing.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Godfather of Funk

  1. Cliff Burns December 2, 2007 / 2:52 pm

    I think “Apocalypse Now” was Coppola’s undoing–the creation of that film, the production difficulties, logistical problems and stress nearly destroyed his marriage and everything he had forged until that time. I think since then Coppola has stepped back and doesn’t take creative/aesthetic risks any more..and, as a result, his recent efforts seem tepid, dated or overblown.I haven’t enjoyed a Coppola film in years and “Godfather III” simply appalled me.

    Thanks for the post…

  2. thirithch December 2, 2007 / 3:46 pm

    Thanks for your comment. I must admit I have a certain liking for Coppola’s Dracula, but that’s got more to do with the situation in which I saw it (i.e. being a teenager and on a date with a girl I was very much in love with). I still enjoy watching it every five years or so, but I couldn’t really say it’s a good film.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s