Godfather 2 Essay, Research Paper
The Godfather II-A Movie Review and its relation to Godfather I
Following the conclusion of the Godfather I, one is left speechless but puzzled. How did Vito rise to power? What was Vito s background? Many more questions seem to linger in one s mind, as some explanation is desperately needed. These questions and others are answered in Godfather II, as the epic saga continues by filling in all the missing blanks of Vito s rise to power and the Corleone family history under Michael.
Continually shifting between the two themes of Vito s rise to power and Michael s struggles to direct the family, the Godfather II opens in Sicily in the earlier part of the century. Immediately, Vito s father is murdered by a rival Don, who has a disagreement with him over control in the small town of Corleone. Unfortunately, this means that little Vito must also be killed, for the rival Don has a speculation that he might grow to become a powerful Don. Luckily, little Vito escapes to America as an orphan. Here, little Vito grows up. He starts a family, works in a grocery store and develops thoughts of establishing one of the greatest crime families ever.
In the other storyline, Michael is attending his son s First Communion. Next, the director mimics Godfather I by portraying similar scenery, as Michael is dealing with his associates and allocating favors to those in need. At this party, there is one particular guest named Frankie Pentangeli, who makes Michael very uncomfortable. Frankie has requested a hit, but Michael isn t able to execute it for it would interfere with some delicate business deals. Also, this refusal eradicates Michael s true desire to turn the Corleone family into legitimate businessmen (motivated by his all-American and honest wife, Kate). Furthermore, Michael is burdened by Connie s (his sister) sly attempts to hurt him and Fredo s (his brother) instability, and feels he can t bestow any trust in his family.
These feelings come true as there is an assassination attempt made on Michael, as he is standing at his bedroom window. There is a betrayal right at the heart of the Corleone family, and this infuriates Michael. This attempt is ironic for just as Michael is about to distribute the family businesses, he must hand over the reigns to Tom Hagen, his trustworthy attorney. The trait of deceit clearly leads to Hyman Roth, a Jewish gangster who is regarded as powerful and dangerous. However, Michael and Roth are partners in an expansion of the Cuban casino scene, so perhaps Frankie directed the attempt for being refused. Michael utilizes all his knowledge while on a business trip to Cuba to learn of the person who directed this attempted murder. It was none other than his own flesh and blood, his only brother, Fredo.
Godfather II contrasts Godfather I, as the rise of Vito Corleone and the downfall of Michael are diametrically opposed. Vito came into power after being chased out of Italy, becoming a low-level criminal by the Mafia (where he discovered his talents) and then taking over the Mafia. Once he kills the Don who murdered his father, it s a cyclical story. His life story shows incredible diligence, thirst for success and persistence for the revenge of his father s murder. On the other hand, Michael is handed everything on a silver platter. Unfortunately, Michael did not emulate the characteristics of his father. Michael struggles with his true desires and the actual person he is, forcing him to spend too much time pondering as who he really is. He loses control of the Corleone family and sadly, his wife and kids. The fall of Michael contradicts the golden age of Vito Corleone and leads to many Senate hearings and an era of drugs.
The Godfather I was full of nonstop action. From the masterful scene of a prominent Hollywood producer awaking to find his beloved horse s head on his bed, with its blood splattered all over the producer, the movie was riveting. From the attempted murder of the Don at the market, to the slaughtering of Sonny at the Atlantic Beach Bridge and Michael s impeccable murder of Sollozo and the Police Captain, this movie was truly exciting. Godfather II possessed the necessary drama to explain Godfather I, but it didn t have the action. The movie flowed from scene to scene but never had you jumping up and down and screaming. However, a drama was needed to portray the downfall of the Corleone family in Godather II, while Godfather I required the action to show that the Corleone family was the most feared Mafia family in the country.
As for the acting in the Godfather II, the characters display the same excellence as in its predecessor. The two lead characters, played by Al Pacino and Robert Deniro, are outstanding. Their acting transforms this movie into the great film it is. Al Pacino plays the perfect disturbed and painful character; he is always trying to fight the forces that are ruining his life. His performance is quiet, thoughtful, full of brooding silences and dark looks and occasional violent outbursts of temper. Robert Deniro is amazingly convincing as a young Don, with his conniving schemes and charming Italian accent.
The setting of Godfather II is genuine. As you watch the movie, you can imagine yourself in the New York Italian community in the 1920s. You can see yourself shopping at the outdoor market, with its chickens running around and its surrounding old buildings. The recreations and specific details make this movie authentic.
When choosing between these two unbelievable movies, I would easily choose Godfather I for its intensity and realism. Favoring action over drama, Godfather I displays it all. I could not dare take my eyes off the screen lest miss a part; while in Godfather II, I found myself at times anxiously waiting for something to occur. Depending on your preference of drama and action, don t worry, you can t go wrong either way.