Making a sequel to a monster hit and an excellent movie like the Godfather is a real challenge. Sure, there have been many that had tried but many have failed (The Sting, The Hustler, Caddyshack, Death Wish, etc.), but only few have succeeded (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and this little nugget). Arguably, or should I say, undisputedly, this is the best sequel ever made. Francis Ford Coppola again pulls out his magic touch with Mario Puzo, and create another memorable film, as memorable as the first one. Many will say that the film is even better than the first part, but I wonít, since it doesnít have that energy that the first one had. Nevertheless, it remains one of the most powerful films ever, and worthy of itís Oscars for Best Picture and Director.The film this time sets itself in the 1950s. The Corleone family is now under the guidance of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and his attempts of trying to legitimize his gambling business. But then his relationship with businessman and competitor Hyman Roth (Lee Strasberg) and Frank Pentangelli (Michael P. Gazzo) soon starts to sour when a failed attempt on his life occurs on his house. Michael now has to find the traitor within his family that tried to kill him, but what he doesnít know is that is a man whoís deep within his family.
"As Compelling As The First One"
Along the course of the main story, is the story of the rise of Michaelís father, Don Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro this time), from his early days as an orphan kid that emigrates from Italy to the United States, to his humble beginnings as a store worker, to his rise to power, and how he met the men that would soon help him on his business and on his secret revenge.
The first praise of the film goes to the geniuses of Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo, especially Coppola, who masterminded most of the original screenplay. I believe that the impressive thing about this movie is that Coppola manages to balance and compare the lives of both father and son. Or more so, a contrast, on how is it that they progressed on their business and tactics they used to be where they are, and their final results. Vito started small and he ended up big because he won the respect of his friends and their trust, and their friends won his trust. On Michaelís side, he doesnít trust anybody, and as further down the spiral goes, he creates enemies instead of friends, even making enemies within his family. Many moral values come into play in this film; the most important are treason, vengeance and trust, each of these are examined carefully, and are achieved with terrifying accuracy.
What I was referring about this movie not being as riveting as original because the energy of the first one is lacking in this one is because in the first Godfather, the story is better paced and has more action to it, and no scene is there without a reason, as well as there are many memorable moments everywhere. In GF2 the story tends to drag in certain parts of the film, especially in the congressional investigation that investigates Michaelís wrongdoings in the past. Many trademarks of the first movie are also brought here (Iíll make him an offer he canít refuse), but the elements are paper-thin that theyíre only mere imitations rather than a whole new approach.
That is not to say that these degrade the film, they do, but fortunately in a small manner, since for most of the time, the movie blasts off with itís two stories and develops them in a great way. My favorite scene is when Vito Corleone is stalking Don Fanucci; itís thrilling and will always on the edge of your seat. The rest of the film recreates successfully again the importance of business in the mob, and the difference from that, and your personal feelings. Yes, it retakes again the same topic that the First One already discussed, but this time it gives it more depth, more meaning, and serves as a prelude for things to come later in the movie. Coppolaís direction is again, masterful, almost just like the first one. The script, despite a few slips, manages to pull through, and again give us another great movie, and furthermore, a great sequel to a great movie.
The performances are fantastic. Al Pacino is superb in reprising his role of Michael, but the man who steals the show is Robert De Niro, as Vito. De Niro here gives one of his lifetime performances that earned him a well-deserved Oscar, and in fact steals the entire movie. The rest of the supporting cast is also great, no flaw in casting or in acting whatsoever.In the end, the film deserves all the praise that it has been given to it, though it falls very short to the original, itís still a compelling and powerful film, that should not be missed, and a great movie on its own. This film is definitely the best sequel ever made, and I just wonder why is it that most sequels tend to suck ass, since they best they can do is look at how this film is made and learn from it. Learn, you fuckheads.
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originally posted: 02/08/02 17:10:23