Saturday, May 28, 2016
HBO's Godfather Epic: Is It a Better Way to See Godfather 1 and 2?
Last January, HBO showed a restored version of The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, but not as two different movies.
It turned both movies into a seven-hour epic, showing the history of the Corleone crime family from 1901 to 1959. This meant parts of Godfather II with Robert De Niro were moved to the front, followed by the remainder of the two movies,. There's also lots of deleted scenes that added depth to the story, and proof that anyone who crosses a Corleone does so at his peril.
I finally got a chance to see the mega-movie last week, and it was amazing. I usually saw both Godfather movies on AMC, and seeing them back to back usually takes ten hours including commericals. Seeing HBO's uncut and commercial-free version was much better. It still took more more than two days because I had to pause to check if the Sharks were heading to the Stanley Cup or the Warriors will blow a chance to defend their NBA title just like 1976.
Seeing The Godfather Epic in one seven-hour chunk, which is a perfect size for veteran Netflix bingers, is quite an experience, especially with the extra scenes. The story flows very well, although the segues from one crisis to another in the final hour are a bit abrupt. That's because the secret to Godfather II's success is how the stories of Young Vito and Michael Corleone mirror each other, the past creating the future. Taking Vito's scenes out of that movie changes it a lot.
What HBO did is not new, though...
NBC also re-edited both movies into a mini-series that lasted for four nights. However, it's not the complete version because foul language and violent scenes had to be left out. With HBO, it has the whole story, blood, profanity and all.
The deleted scenes also add some insight about what happens when you make a Corleone mad. For example, remember when Michael's first wife was killed by a car bomb in Italy? It looked like the guy who did it got away, but he didn't. For Vito, he not only got Don Ciccio, the man who had his parents killed, he killed the guy who told Vito's home town to turn him over to Ciccio when he was nine, Now that is a grudge,
If given a choice, I'd prefer to see Godfather and Godfather II in their original forms, because I am used to that after seeing them several times. However, I still refuse to see Godfather III unless there is new CGI technology that replaces Sofia Coppola with Winona Ryder...or even Shailene Woodley.