The Godfather Part III (Blu-ray Review)

The Godfather Part 3 - www.whysoblu.comOne of the greatest sagas in movie history continues. In this third film in the epic Corleone trilogy, Al Pacino reprises the role of powerful family leader Michael Corleone. Now in his 60’s, Michael is dominated by two passions: freeing his family from crime and finding a suitable successor. That successor could be fiery Vincent (Andy Garcia)… but he may also be the spark that turns Michael’s hope of business legitimacy into an inferno of mob violence. Francis Ford Coppola directs Pacino, Garcia, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Eli Wallach, Sofia Coppola, Joe Montegna and others in this exciting, long-awaited film that masterfully explores the themes of power, tradition, revenge and love. Seven Academy Award nominations for 1990 were the result, including Best Picture. 

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The Godfather saga would come to a close at the start, and towards the end of 1990, with The Godfather Part III. Francis Ford Coppola and company gathered back for the final installment of one of the most epic gangster tales of all time. In this latest installment we have Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) who is riddled with guilt about the past and that he wants now is for his family to be seen in a more positive light. He wants the Corleone family and their endeavors to be legitimate. The year is 1979 and the apple of Michael Corleone is his daughter Mary (Sofia Coppola). He wants the best for her and that means restricting her access to the family’s mobster dealings that he is trying to reconcile.

Michael’s disposition is not that of his older-younger self. He is older in terms of age, tired, beaten down, and over the whole being a gangster thing. He wants out and the only out he has is to go into business with the church and sever ties with his mafia associates. Hothead Vincent “Vinnie” Corleone (Andy Garcia) is Michael’s nephew (Sonny’s son from the first film – the bridesmaid Sonny slept with) and second cousin to Mary. As Mary and Vinnie spend more time together they begin to fall in love with each other. Michael does not approve of he union, because it will make Mary a visible target from Michael’s enemies.

On the surface, The Godfather Part III is very straightforward as it is a direct sequel to Part II and features many of the same cast that were in the first two films. Part III also has a couple of new players in that of Sofia Coppola as Michael’s daughter and Andy Garcia as Michael’s nephew. I’m sure most of you are aware of how much the haters really HATED Sofia Coppola in her role of Mary, which was originally given to Winona Ryder before she backed out at the last minute. Yes, Sofia Coppola is not a good actress but no way, shape, or form does she grind The Godfather Part III to a halt. In fact, she’s only the almost 3-hour film for no more than 20 minutes and that’s spread over the entire flick. Let’s save the displaced hate for something else.

Vinnie fares better in his role as the hothead (a Sonny Corleone trait) enforcer and next in line to succeed Michael’s reign. In Part III he must contend with very public shows of force from other mafia leaders that want to take over Corleone’s network and that also don’t want to break ties with the Corleone family. Joey Zasa (Joe Mantegna) is one of the major brutes that come out in full force to disrespect the Corleone family and to suggest that he and his organization will do a better job at handling Corleone’s business dealings. Don Altobello (Eli Wallach) plays the very passive aggressive and conniving “Don” of another family who tries to give the benefit of the out to Zasa all the while conspiring against the Corleone family and their interests.

The final component to The Godfather Part III is the whole Vatican scenario. Michael makes a deal to invest his fortune into some of the dealings that the Vatican have going on thereby making him richer than he could ever have imagined, and thereby legitimizing his many business interest. Who would question Don Michael Corleone if he were in cahoots with the Catholic Church? He had already been granted the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civilian by the church. It’s as if the church “vouches” for Corleone. I never felt that it was overkill to include that story arc and thought it was actually pretty neat. Apparently there’s a conspiracy theory about the “30-day Pope” that was used for the basis of the Vatican angle in Godfather Part III. 

Overall, The Godfather Part III is nowhere near the same level as Part II and Part I ever were but I also don’t think that Coppola was trying to outdo those movies either. You really can’t. This also doesn’t mean that Part III is horrible. It’s a damn good film and if you take it at face value it can technically be a fitting end to a great trilogy.


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Encoding:  AVC MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail: The Godfather Part III looks excellent on the Blu-ray. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is the same transfer used in the boxed set and it looks pretty good. Grain is ever present and remains steady throughout as does intermittent signs of softness. Contrast levels and sharpness are also very strong and I did not spot any instances of strobing.

Depth: The picture does have a certain “hazy” component to it as if one were watching a fantasy then again so did the first two films. Whether that was intentional is another story. It certainly works in the case of Part III. 

Black Levels: Black levels were on the “just okay” side – crush did creep in there on more than one occasion but it was negligible.

Color Reproduction: I cannot say that colors were big and bold, because there aren’t that many scenes of “colorfulness” in the film. What we do get is a wonderful muted-sepia toned palette that looks like an oil painting come to life. Primary colors do get a bit of a push – mainly the blood reds during scenes of violence and executions.

Flesh Tones: Olive tones look great – folks look natural – and even when Michael gets sick you can tell that he really looks it by how pasty his complexion gets. No complaints here.

Noise/Artifacts: Noise and artifacts don’t really dampen the film print. They creep in but nothing too bad.


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Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

Dynamics: This is a dialogue driven film, so don’t expect a bombastic sonic experience. Expect a subtle experience with several exciting flourishes. The scenes of drama and exposition are always clean and clear, as are the scenes of action and despair. The TrueHD lossless track comes through and elevates this final chapter in the Corleone trilogy.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE is kept on the back burner until we get to the scenes of ultra violence. Shotgun blasts, up close and personal gunshots, machine gun fire, helicopters, etc., really come through when the subwoofer kicks in.

Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound channels are used sparingly but once the scenes of violence – the helicopter attack in particular – you can hear the blades whoosh in behind you. The sound coming from the front stage is still clearly audible as those helicopter blades swoop in from the rear.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is crisp and clear and everything from the quiet scenes of dialogue to the screams of agony can be heard without any problems.


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The Godfather Part III comes with just one extra and it is the audio commentary by Francis Ford Coppola. If you wanted the full package in terms of extras then the collection set is your best bet. If you don’t care about supplements then this commentary will serve you well.

  • Audio Commentary with Director Francis Ford Coppola – I would normally take points off of a Blu-ray that had only one special feature but the reason this sole commentary gets a 2-star is due to it being almost 3 hours long and the fact that it’s very informative. Coppola talks about the genesis of the project and where he planned to go after the events of part III. There are instances of silence but it’s always been fun to listen to Coppola’s commentaries. This one is no different.


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Unfairly criticized by some for whatever reasons, Coppola’s The Godfather Part III wraps up one of the greatest trilogies of all time. The primary cast delivers in spades and so does the Blu-ray. The Blu-ray presentation in terms of video and audio presentation are great, as is the lone audio commentary included. If you want a basic Blu-ray package then this single Blu-ray disc set will do you just fine. Buy it.



Order The Godfather Part III on Blu-ray!

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