by John Larkin
It's no surprise that the 4K restoration for all three films are outstanding. Restoration legend Robert A. Harris was the primary force behind the blu-ray restoration in 2008, the first time consumers got to witness an HD home video version of the original film. The outstanding work done previously carries over into the new 4K restoration with an image that is even brighter and sharper than the blu-ray.
Brighter and THE GODFATHER are two words that historically and photographically don't gel. THE GODFATHER is a famously dimly lit film and while the new image may be a tad brighter than cinematographer Gordon Willis had ever intended it, I found it to be just a a subtle enough improvement that it didn't detract from the haunting Caravaggio vibe of the film and actually made the experience more immersive and enjoyable then ever before.
After years of taking the stance, as so many do, that PART II is as good as the first and that PART III is a complete dud, my opinion has changed after this most recent viewing. The only parts of PART II I really like are the young Vito Corleone flashback scenes, while the present-time plot I find dull and convoluted. If that surprises you, you may really want to strap in when you hear that I find PART III not as bad as is so often thought. The newly edited version renamed THE GODFATHER CODA is a definite improvement of the original. Although the changes are slight and subtle they do improve the narrative and I find it a fitting finale to the Corleone saga.
The new box set is a five-disc set. Each of the three films gets its own 4K UHD disc plus The previous versions of Part III are also included on a fourth disc, with both the 162-minute Theatrical Cut and 170-minute 1991 Cut (previously known as the Final Director’s Cut) These previous versions are newly restored and remastered.
The fifth disc is a Blu-ray chocked with bonus features both old and new. Among the new is a feature on the 2020 restoration effort and rare 8 mm home movie footage of the production of THE GODFATHER shown here for the first time. Among the old are legacy features carried over from not only the 2008 Blu-ray release, but also the original DVD release from 2001.
The Full List includes:
Full Circle: Preserving The Godfather
Capturing The Corleones: Through the Lens of Photographer Steve Schapiro
The Godfather: Home Movies
The Godfather: Scan Element Comparisons
The Godfather Part II: Scan Element Comparisons
The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn’t
Emulsional Rescue – Revealing The Godfather
…When the Shooting Stopped
The Godfather on the Red Carpet
Four Short Films on The Godfather
GF vs. GF Part II
Riffing on the Riffing
The Corleone Family Tree
Crime Organization Chart
Connie and Carlo’s Wedding Album
Major kudos to Paramount for continuing their superb work in releasing 4K restorations of their past titles. There are still a slew of ones to look forward to seeing restored some day.
I myself am still patiently waiting for my favorite western ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST to get the 4K treatment. An exciting release that I know will be truly stunning!