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The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) tries to take his family business legitimate but faces pushback from the other mafia crime families in this third and final installment of Coppola's 'Godfather' saga, newly revamped, redited, and also restored to a version that improves its somewhat convoluted storyline and pacing.

The Godfather Coda Blu-ray Box Art (Paramount)With Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, Francis Ford Coppola returns to the film, 30 years later, that in the entire Godfather saga, were it a character, would probably be Fredo. Although it received relatively good reviews upon its release, Part III did not receive the same sorts of glowing reviews of Parts I & II, and the film was never intended to be part of a trilogy. Coppola is on record as saying the first two films told the complete story, and the final film, which he only agreed to do because of dire financial circumstances, was meant as an epilogue.

Coda is the director’s chance to correct the record, so to speak. Not only has he changed the film back to its originally intended title, which was rejected by Paramount the first time around, but he has gone back and re-edited the film, adding new opening and ending sequences, re-organizing the order of some scenes, and swapping out some 50 scenes for higher quality original takes that have higher resolution than what is there on the original camera negatives.

The result is a stronger narrative of what was admittedly a rather convoluted story of the central character, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) who is now in his older years trying to take the family business legitimate, but, as probably the most famous quote from the film goes, “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.” The new edit still doesn’t solve the problem of the bad performance from Coppola’s daughter Sofia who seems plunked down into the film for no reason and at 157 minutes long it’s still too long, but Pacino puts on a great performance, and Andy Garcia is really good as well. If Coppola was trying to bring this final film in this Godfather franchise more on par with its predecessors, he may have gotten almost there, even if it still doesn’t quite hit the mark of the first two films.


The Video

This film arrives on Blu-ray from a new 4K scan and restoration overseen by Coppola done from the original negative. Some 50 original takes were used to replace some lower resolution optical in the original opticals, and a painstaking frame-by-frame restoration was done on both this new version of the film and The Godfather III. Comparing this release, which arrives in an AVC 1080p encodement framed at 1.85:1, to the original The Godfather III Blu-ray, itself a 4K restoration at the time, is a revelation. This new version is crisper, cleaner, and colors look just a tad more natural even as the color grading matches closely the original Blu-ray release. The film’s grain structure is reined in on Coda, looking natural, but much thinner. Where this new restoration does falter just a bit is that they have pushed the black levels down a tad too far. So, while the blacks are nice and inky and some shadow detail is still there, there is also some black crush where it doesn’t exist on The Godfather III BD. As an example, just look at the early scenes with Sofia Coppola’s black dress. In Coda, much of the time the finer detail disappears until she is in well-lit areas, whereas in the III disc you can make out her lapels and the fringe clearly at all times while the dress still looks a good, deep black.

The Audio

The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is supplied with an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mix that is solid. It offers clean dialogue, a natural dynamic range and airy and balanced blending of the score. Don’t expect terrestrial low frequencies from this mix, however.

The Supplements

The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone comes with An Introduction by Francis Ford Coppola (HD) and a Digital Code as its only extras. The introduction is new and brief. Coppola briefly explains how the film is a re-edit and resequencing of sorts from the original theatrical release and reverts to its originally intended title.

The Final Assessment

This is a good way to reassess this third and final film in Coppola’s Godfather arc. The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone fixes a lot of issues pacing and the storyline that plagued III making it a stronger and better film to watch, but it remains the weakest of the three. The new restoration, on the other hand, is a standout restoration that is now the finest restoration in the franchise, and one hopes the remaining two films get a new restoration as well.


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The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is out on Blu-ray December 8, 2020 from Paramount

 



  • Rating Certificate: R (for violence and language)
  • Studios & Distributors: Paramount Pictures | Zoetrope Studios | Paramount Home Entertainment
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Written By: Mario Puzo | Francis Ford Coppola
  • Run Time: 157 Mins.
  • Street Date: 8 December 2020
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: French DD 5.1 | Spanish DD 5.1
  • Subtitles: English | English SDH | French | Spanish
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