Francis Ford Coppola made significant changes to his much-maligned 1990 film The Godfather Part III, which will surprise and delight fans of the Mafia trilogy.
The 81-year-old filmmaker recently revamped the closing act of his Mob series to create a new version of the film titled Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, which will be released on December 8th.
And movie critics already seem to appreciate the changes, noting that the re-edited version feels "a lot better" than the original film, which has a low 68% rating for rotten tomatoes.
Revamp: Francis Ford Coppola made significant changes to his much-maligned 1990 film The Godfather Part III. The stars Al Pacino and Andy Garcia can be seen here
Critic Mike Ryan noted in his UPROXX review of the film that there really weren't that many changes outside of the opening scene and ending.
The new ending represents the biggest change from the original cut, in which an older Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) died from his chair just before the credits and fell forward.
The new version actually contradicts the subtitle of the film by never showing Pacino's older godfather dying.
Instead, the film goes black over a shot of his face before the credits roll with a series of title cards that read "If the Sicilians Wish You Cent & # 39; anni" … it means "for a long life" … and a Sicilian never forgets. & # 39;
In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, Coppola explained the significance of the change by stating that (Michael) has a death for his sins that is worse than death.
“He may have lived many, many years after that terrible conclusion. But he never forgot what he paid for it. & # 39;
Writer: The 81-year-old filmmaker (left with Pacino and Garcia on set) recently reworked the final act of his Mafia trilogy to create a new version of the film, titled Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone , to be released on December 8th
Savaged: And critics already seem to appreciate the changes, noting that the re-edited version feels "a lot better" than the original film, which has a low 68% rating for rotten tomatoes
Changes: The new ending is the biggest change from the original cut, in which an older Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) dies immediately before the credits and falls forward from his chair
The re-cut opening dispenses with the footage of Michael's house in Lake Tahoe, which even throws back the infamous ending to The Godfather Part II.
Now, the Coda opening instantly introduces the audience to the sequel’s new conflict: the Corleone family doing business with the Vatican.
Coda advances a later scene in the cutscene and begins with Michael negotiating a multi-million dollar deal involving the Vatican Bank and a real estate company.
Explaining the importance of the scene, Coppola said, “You get it right: what is the big deal about? The Corleones have achieved such a level of success and prosperity that they can lend money to the Vatican. "
Author: Francis Ford Coppola, pictured at last year's Hollywood Film Awards in Beverly Hills
New Version: Instead, the film goes black over a shot of his face before a series of title cards that read "If the Sicilians wish you" Cent & # 39; anni "… it means" for a long life "before the credits "… and a Sicilian never forgets."
Gone, but don't forget: Above is a frame from the film's original death sequence
The new cut is also shorter, cutting off almost 20 minutes from the original running time of three hours.
One element that was not cut, however, was Sofia Coppola's performance as Mary Corleone, which has remained largely untouched despite many years of critical abuse.
Coppola cast his then 18-year-old daughter in the key role after the original actress Winona Ryder left the film.
Many critics and fans criticized the performance and dismissed its casting as nepotism. However, according to ScreenCrush's Matt Singer, her arc remains pretty much intact in Coda.
Scapegoat: One element that was not cut was Sofia Coppola's (pictured left) performance as Mary Corleone, which has remained largely untouched despite years of critical abuse
Reassessment: Star Diane Keaton said critics of Coppola's performance as the daughter of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) will reconsider in this new version; Sofia and Francis Ford Coppola seen in 2018
Approved: Although the new cut won't be available to fans until later this month, several critics have already praised the changes
Although the new cut won't be available to fans until later this month, several critics have already praised the changes.
Mike Ryan was "surprised" at "how much better this new GODFATHER III cut felt," while Singer tweeted, "I like THE GODFATHER PART III, warts and everything. And I like the new THE GODFATHER CODA cut better, from who can be said to have fewer warts. & # 39;
Another fan of the changes is Diane Keaton, one of the original stars of the trilogy.
The legendary actress said that watching the new cut was "one of the best moments of my life" while speaking with Variety.
Shocked: Mike Ryan was "surprised" at "how much better this new GODFATHER III cut felt".
Me too: The critic Matt Singer was also a fan of the major changes
I love it: Keaton, 74, called the new edition of The Godfather Part III "a dream come true" in a chat with Variety; seen in LA in May 2019
"It was one of the best moments of my life to see him," enthused Keaton after seeing the film at a private screening that Coppola did for himself and her original collaborators Al Pacino, Talia Shire and George Hamilton on the Paramount property had shown.
For me it was a dream come true. I saw the film in a completely different light, ”she continued.
"When I saw it a long time ago it was like," Oh, I don't know. "It didn't seem to work that well and the reviews weren't great. But Francis restructured the beginning and the end and man, I tell you, it worked."
While the film was a commercial hit, grossing nearly $ 137 million on a budget of $ 54 million, many critics were unfazed, especially when compared to the first two Godfather films, which are widely considered masterpieces.
"It was one of the best moments of my life watching it," enthused Keaton after seeing a private demonstration with Al Pacino, Talia Shire and George Hamilton on the Paramount Lot
Changes: Director Francis Ford Coppola has re-edited the film and titled it Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. The original version left critics indifferent in 1990, although it was still a box office hit
It turns out that Keaton was among the crowd who didn't care about the Godfather finale.
"I don't know why people didn't appreciate it, but I was one of them," she admitted. & # 39; What was wrong with me? Why didn't I like that before? But I didn't do it. I just refused and thought, "Well."
Though she thinks the film is stronger overall, 74-year-old Annie Hall claims that it allows critics to reevaluate Sofia Coppola's performance as the daughter of Michael Corleone.
Memories: The Annie Hall star said the new cut brought her back to the happy days of filming when she was dating her co-star Pacino
"That won't happen again," said Keaton. "She's like a daughter if you had this guy for your father, the head of a criminal organization. She wasn't so sure and is kind of calm. Kind of haunted. I thought she was fantastic."
The actress added that watching the new cut was a blast from the past of a happy time in her life when she was dating her costar Pacino.
"It brought me back," she said. & # 39; I was kind of with Al at the time. I liked Andy Garcia very much. We shot in Italy. It was a special time. & # 39;
Keaton, who doesn't like to see herself on screen, said that Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone helped her temporarily put dislike aside.
Big Screen: The new cut will be available on VOD and Blu-ray on December 8th, but Keaton hopes people can see it in a theater sometime. pictured in 2018
Although the new version of the film will be released on VOD and Blu-ray, the Reds actress said the film benefits from the size that only a theater can offer.
"I just hope people can see it in a theater with great music and great sound so it can get you excited," she said. “I like big films. I like them on my face. You are absorbed in it that way. It gets you out of your everyday idiotic life. I speak for myself, of course. & # 39;
Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone in digital and physical editions December 8th.
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