Saturday, November 6, 2010

30 Day Movie Meme: Day 14


It's rare to find a sequel to a film that either equals or surpasses the excellence of its predecessor.

Fans of The Godfather films are usually divided into two camps: (1) Those who cite the original one as the crowning achievement of the series or (2) those who believe that the sequel, simply titled The Godfather: Part II, is greater than the original due largely to the presence of Robert DeNiro and his role as young Vito Corleone.

The Godfather: Part II is my favourite film sequel. It continues the Corleone saga with a well-structured and tightly wound script. It boasts some of the trilogy's greatest scenes and proves that sequels don't always suck. Instead of appearing as a cash grab or an attempt to capitalize on the success of the first film, The Godfather: Part II is a legitimate and engrossing continuation of a dark and fascinating family drama. Gangsters never looked or sounded so badass. Forget The Sopranos: who could be scarier than Don Vito and Michael Corleone? They would crush Tony Soprano with their thumbs and those classy suits.

That being said, The Godfather: Part II is not my favourite film of the trilogy. My heart still belongs to the first film, but I'll save that debate for another day.

All in all, The Godfather: Part II is likely the most flawless film sequel you will ever come across (which makes the uneven The Godfather: Part III all the more tragic because it ruined what would have been the rarest of occurrences in the world of cinema: a perfect trilogy).

I believe the reason The Godfather: Part II makes such a great sequel is because it was made in the days before overkill. Back in the day when, for the most part, films were made for film fans. Back in the day when sequels weren't churned out year by year, with no apparent purpose or any evident effort. The fact that The Godfather: Part II is just as solid and well-made as its predecessor speaks volumes to that fact.

Sure, T2: Judgement Day was a great sequel that improved on the first film. Ditto The Dark Knight the Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back. Some might even argue that The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers trumps The Fellowship of the Ring.

But they aren't on the same level as The Godfather: Part II.