Although "Godfather III" has been largely criticized as the weakest of the three, but still, the film is certainly still a great one with some terrific moments. It seems that it simply didn't live up to the expectations that many had, given the third film came out 16 years after the sequel. The film itself opens 20 years later, in 1979 New York City. Michael is older, but has two children and has amassed a great deal of wealth.
Although it seems as if Michael is carrying the business into more legitimate areas, there are problems that have arisen. Michael's son Anthony doesn't want anything to do with the family business, and instead of his father's desired profession for him (a lawyer), he decides that he'd much rather be a singer. We also meet Vincent (Andy Garcia), a young man with a violent temper and a desire to get into the previous family business. His rage against local small-time boss Joey Zasa (Joe Mantegna) turns things darker. Vincent's love for Mary and her love for him also brings further danger to the proceedings.
There are few things better than a great Pacino performance and this is a massively entertaining one. A bit older, Pacino's sandpaper-rough voice commands the attention like nothing else. Powerful when subtly watching other characters and studying the situation or during an intense outburst, Pacino has simply gotten better and better and better over the years. Although many have criticized the performance of young Sofia Coppola, I actually still think she was pretty good for not having really acted in anything else before this. It's too bad that Robert Duvall didn't return for this effort, but Joe Mantegna and Andy Garcia give fine supporting performances. The only one who really doesn't do much here in support is George Hamilton.
The film is, as with the other two films, technically superb. Dean Tavoularis continues providing strong production design, Gordon Willis returns with his marvelously rich cinematography and "Godfather III" also re-united Coppola with famous editor and sound designer Walter Murch, who worked with Ford Coppola on such classics as "The Conversation" and "Apocalypse Now".
Yes, "Godfather III" isn't up to the same level as the previous two films, but I still think it does provide some solid performances, especially a fantastic one from Pacino.
VIDEO: "Godfather 3" offered, as one might expect from the newest picture, looked the best out of the three. Suprisingly though, one element of the image quality that took away from the image made it so the picture quality wasn't probably as far and away different from the other two as it could have been. As with the other two pictures, sharpness and detail were generally strong and actually, even more consistently solid here.
Print flaws were also generally less apparent. Where the first two films had a mild amount of speckles, marks and other instances of wear, I only saw a handful of small speckles during the presentation of this third picture. Although not a problem that caused massive concern, I found that this picture presented a rather mild amount of grain. This wasn't consistently visible, but some scenes did look noticably grainy now and then. I saw no instances of pixelation and only a couple of traces of pixelation. Overall, these problems did take away from the viewing experience a little bit, but the problems for "III" were certainly less than the other two films presented.
Colors here also looked the best out of the three pictures, appearing richer, bolder and more well-rendered than the other two pictures. Black level appeared stronger and more consistent, as well. Although still not without some imperfections, "Godfather III" presented the best picture quality of the trilogy.
SOUND: As with the other two pictures, "Godfather III" has been redone in Dolby Digital 5.1. The results aren't outstanding, but they are better than the results of the 5.1 remixes from the original mono presentations of the first two pictures. Although the film is often dialogue-driven, some distinct surround use can be heard during the film's action sequences. Some minor ambient sounds and music also come from the rear speakers, as well. Audio quality was generally without any sort of concern. Music sounded rich and bold, general sounds came through crisply and dialogue, except for a few minor moments, sounded clear. Even the few scenes that involved yelling didn't sound thin or edgy.
MENUS:: What most will find very enjoyable is the fact that the usual Paramount "Warning" menus don't show up on "The Godfather". Aside from a little "rating reason" screen, the film simply starts up after its inserted. The menus themselves are very subtle, with only a lightly animated main menu and basic sub-menus.
Commentary: Director Francis Ford Coppola returns for another full-length commentary track for the third picture. Coppola provided interesting and informative commentaries for the first two pictures, talking about the stories and characters and also going into production details and chatting about the problems he faced. For the third picture, the director does still discuss some of the production details as well as story and character intentions, but he also does talk about the reaction that the picture came up against when it was released and defends some of the elements that some people didn't apparently care for. Overall, I liked this track and Ford Coppola offers some enjoyable thoughts and stories about the final film in the trilogy and the series in general, but there seemed to be a few more pauses of silence throughout this track than the others.
Final Thoughts: The film doesn't work as well as the previous two, but I still find it enjoyable and certainly, I think it has a lot of positives. The audio/video quality of the third and latest feature isn't an enormous improvement over the editions of the previous films, but it still does look better. Ford Coppola's commentary isn't quite as in-depth as the tracks on the other two films, but it's still worth a listen for fans of the series. As this review brings my look at the series to a close, I must say that, slight concerns about presentation aside, it was quite a great experience to be able to see all of these pictures together and learn so much through the supplements about what it took to make them.
Again, the three films and the bonus features DVD are only available in the box set, which is nicely packaged in a fairly sturdy box.