Thursday, August 25, 2011

Battle of The Oscar Stars: Best Picture 1974

[dual discs=serious business]
As the quintessential self-mockery film, Scream 2, would like to remind movies fans; Sequels suck.

Why yes Randy, this is mostly true, until later in the same scene when the battle royal turns to analyze those sequels which have actually surpassed the original.

Apparently, Aliens (the clever sequel title of Alien) and Terminator 2 rock, but I'll just have to take these characters word for it (sensing a taste of which movie genres are my kryptonite?).

A valid point, however this list of exceptions runs out quickly, but not quickly enough to forget about the next Best Picture winner; The Godfather: Part II.

Without question an incredible film, honored over history, and many feel it is better than the first.

While I definitely would not say that it falls into the category of a sucky sequel, with too much hype for this first timer, Part II didn't blow me away as much as I was expecting.

I might even ruffle a few feathers and proclaim that Chinatown should have won the best picture this year, but that debate is for another day.

Where Part I has the audience rooting for The Corleone's, even so much as having their back as they murdered rival gang members, Part II didn't have that same fuzzy feeling.

The film begins in the late 1950's where Michael has officially been the leader of the Corleone clan for five years and his family is utterly falling to pieces. His sister is being a floozy and they all moved the family compound from NYC to Nevada for god's sake; what happened to the great Corleone's!

Michael smoothly gravitated towards his leader status, but his presence as a powerhouse is lacking the spirit of his father. Michael is not sure how to be seen as both someone to fear, and someone to love.

Vito Corleone had this down to a science, and as played by Marlon Brando, stole every scene in the original. This great impact follows in the sequel. Does he perform from the grave, you ask? No, he does not appear as a ghost, a la A Christmas Carol, but instead we find Robert De Niro filling in as the much younger Vito.

(my own former immigrant adventure to Lady Liberty )
In a back story set in the early 1900's, we are introduced to how Vito arose to become The Godfather; from a short childhood in Italy, to escaping the country after an Italian mob murdered his entire family, to sailing underneath The Statue Of Liberty and arriving on Ellis Island. After an incredible story of survival, Vito grows up to take advantage of what America can offer-and a mob family is born!

These scenes from the past are contrasted with the experiences of Michael in the 1950's, and the past definitely overpowers the present. De Niro captures that same presence as Brando, continuing on with what made Vito such a likable character in the first film.

Essentially, in all the modern day scenes, I just ended up missing the characters that had died in the first (Sonny! Abe Vigoda!) and disliking every character who was still alive, with the exception of Diane Keaton's role as Michael's wife. She plays a huge part in the most dynamic scene in the film- a scene that continues to blow me away.

Do characters need to be loved in order to make a great movie? Of course not, but, to me, it definitely kept the sequel from being on the same level.

Even with the amounts that were not as compelling, there is more than enough here for The Godfather: Part II to remain a must-see for the new generation of film devotees. Try and ignore the hype, and watch it without expectations.

This became difficult for me to do, and I want to watch it again soon to get a second reaction, but only once this Best Picture challenge has reached the satisfying end. I'm getting closer and closer...

Next up: Nicholson in a loony bin, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...