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The Godfather Collection
  50th Anniversary 4K
                  review by Bobby Blakey


There are few films in history that are as iconic as Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 masterpiece The Godfather, so it comes as a surprise that Coppola was able to hit gold again with the 1974 follow up The Godfather Part II. In 1990 Coppola returned to Mario Puzo’s world for The Godfather Part III which most consider to be the weakest in the trilogy, but worked to fix that misstep with the director’s cut release The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone.


To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the original film they are bringing the trilogy home once again in a brand new 4K collection. Newly restored and remastered in Dolby Vision, all three films in the landmark trilogy will be released together with HDR-10 on 4K Ultra HD Digital and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray™ for the first time ever.  The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set will include The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, and Coppola’s recently re-edited version of the final film, Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone.  The disc set includes legacy commentaries by Coppola, as well as access to Digital copies of The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II and Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone.

The Godfather follows the aging head of a famous crime family who decides to transfer his position to one of his subalterns when a series of unfortunate events start happening to the family, and a war begins between all the well-known families leading to insolence, deportation, murder and revenge, and ends with the favorable successor being finally chosen. I hadn’t sat down and watched this film in a long time and it still holds up to perfection showcasing why it is so highly regarded in film history. There is nothing about this film that you cannot love from the betrayal and inner family turmoil, to the warring mafia all coupled with the romance and rise to power and ultimate transfer of power that all comes together brilliantly. Like most, I love everything about this film and it is a pure piece of perfect cinema.

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The Godfather Part II follows the continuing saga of the Corleone crime family. This sequel / prequel tells the story of a young Vito Corleone growing up in Sicily and in 1910s New York; and follows Michael Corleone in the 1950s as he attempts to expand the family business into Las Vegas, Hollywood and Cuba. A lot of people feel that this sequel surpassed the original and while I love it I still love the original so much more. Where this one is a stronger overall film is the perfect balance between the story of the rise of Vito Corleone while furthering the story of Michael. Both of them bring their own tensions and intrigue right up until the end when it brings it all full circle to the perfect conclusion of the story. Both films work perfect as one complete story as opposed to two films and have even been released as such. This film cements the perfection that they both contain and will continue to go down in history as masterpieces.  

The Godfather Coda follows an aging Don Michael Corleone who seeks to legitimize his crime family's interests and remove himself from the violent underworld but is kept back by the ambitions of the young. While he attempts to link the Corleone's finances with the Vatican, Michael must deal with the machinations of a hungrier gangster seeking to upset the existing Mafioso order and a young protege's love affair with his daughter.


Most of the changes to this new take are the visuals with some scenes rearranged as well as removed to try to make the film unfold in a more cohesive way and it works. I know Sofia Coppola takes a lot of flack for her performance and by no means defending it or the strange chemistry between her and Garcia, but the hate for this film beyond that makes no sense to me. This new take does improve on some things like making the set-up in the beginning make so much more sense, trimming the fat to keep it moving and a change to the ending that changes Michael’s fate in a new way.


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It’s no surprise this new cut works better to the vision of what Coppola and Puzo envisioned it as not a sequel but a cap to the first two films ongoing story. This was always meant to be more of a separate story that just took us on the next and ultimate final chapter of Michael instead of a continuation and this cut showcases that. It’s more streamlined to the point and just works better. Sure the issues with Sofia’s performance is still there and Robert Duvall’s Tom Hagen is still a hole in what should have been, but in this new cut the story is deeply rooted in Michael’s emotional journey to the very end. The ending also adds a new on screen quote that I think more perfectly wraps up this new direction of the film for the better.

In addition to the widely available 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set, a 4K Ultra HD Limited Collector’s Edition will also be released in deluxe packaging and includes a hardcover coffee table book featuring stunning photographs, as well as portrait art prints on archival paper.  Both 4K Ultra HD sets include new bonus content including an introduction to The Godfather by Coppola, a featurette about the preservation process, photos by acclaimed photographer Steve Schapiro, home movie footage, and comparisons of the new restoration to earlier versions of the films.


Step back into the beautifully violent world of Mario Puzo when The Godfather 50th Anniversary Collection 4K debuts on March 22nd Paramount Home Entertainment.

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