The Godfather Part II is, quite simply, one of the best films of all time. Personally, I would actually place it above it’s predecessor, the original Godfather film, though both won Academy Awards for Best Picture. Part II, however, gave us not only Al Pacino in a genre-defining role, but also the young days of the original Godfather, played brilliantly by Robert De Niro, who impressively treads the line between believability and farce that is so fine with an actor like Marlin Brando.
In fact, i… is not only Al Pacino’s acting that defines the gangster genre, but just about everything about this film, from the cinematography to the dialog. After the original film was released, every classic period piece for the next 35 years had to have that same golden look. The acting, the romantic storylines, and the cinematography re all first-rate. This is a classic film that deserves to be on every film fan’s top 5 list and DVD shelf.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track on this transfer is adequate, but certainly not dynamic. For a gangster film, this one is awfully quiet and subtle, and this track does a fine job of picking up on all of the private whispers in dark corners. Unfortunately, the track could use a little more low end when it comes to gunshots and the like. Even without the extra punch, however, the violent moments are still surprising, as they usually come out of a quiet and personal moment. It is hard to believe that the film is 30 years old, but it’s true. There are many, may films of this age that don’t sound as good as this one does.
Unfortunately, the quality of the video on these discs is simply horrid. It is a complete travesty that one of the greatest films of all time is presented in such a poor quality transfer. I don’t know if it was studio laziness or what, but this transfer just plain sucks. You name a problem, it is here… grain, dust, tears, spots on the negative, brightness problems and shaky shots are all here. It may be my imagination, but I believe that the version included in the Godfather Trilogy boxed set looks slightly better. Regardless, both sets look bad, and they are in die need of the loving hands of a dedicated restoration staff.
This release certainly skimps on the extras. In fact, the only special features on this two-disc set are the inclusion of the theatrical trailer and a commentary by Director Francis Ford Coppola. Luckily, the commentary is a quality extra that provides insight into all aspects of the production, from bonus story tidbits to comments about the shoot, the studio, and the thoughts of the director with regards to the finished film. I am not sure that I would go so far as to say that the commentary track alone is worth the price of the disc, but it is certainly a quality extra that has some real miles on it.
There is no reason that anybody should purchase this disc, instead of the excellent Godfather Trilogy boxed set that Paramount also offers. These discs are exactly the same, but the addition of both of the other films, and an extra bonus disc, make the three film collection the clear choice. For those that may already have the original film, however, this two-disc set will make a nice companion piece.
Special Features List
- Commentary by Director Francis Ford Coppola
- Theatrical Trailer