The Godfather Part 1 & II - Sapphire Series (Blu-ray)

Based on the novel by Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather is one of the greatest films of all time. Widely considered the best sequel of all time, Part II went on to win six Oscars, including Best Picture. The films chronicles the lives of the Corleone family from the rise of Vito (Marlon Brando and Robert DeNiro) as a young criminal to the struggles of Michael (Al Pacino) to legitimize the family business after taking over for his father.

The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II underwent extensive frame-by-frame examination and restoration supervised by Robert A. Harris of the Film Preserve under the direction of Coppola and cinematographer Gordon Willis. Previously released in a three movie box set, Paramount is releasing the first two films in its "Sapphire Series" sans the majority of the bonus features.

The AVC encodes range from jaw-dropping to average, depending on the particular scene and movie. Part I is the roughest looking due to the cinematography and its advanced age. The restoration has done wonders to the print, with nary a blemish or scratch. The exterior shots from Sicily have never looked better, with phenomenal detail and rich color saturation.

Part II has a similar look to Part I, with a brownish hue and elevated black levels, although the backgrounds show a lot more detail than I've seen on previous viewings. Detail is very good in both close-ups and longer shots—in fact, I've never seen the film look this good.

Each film have Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtracks, with a Dolby Digital 1.0 monaural option for purists. The soundtracks are very front-loaded—as you would expect from the original mono elements—with mostly intelligible dialog and decent dynamics. Brando mumbles most of his lines, requiring a higher volume level than I usually set. Gunshots and explosions sound good given the source but not as dynamic as a newer film.

If you want a full-blown supplement package, you'll want to pick up the three disc set because the only holdover is the excellent directors commentary from Coppola for each film.

It's been nearly four decades since The Godfather saga hit the silver screen, telling a timeless tale of crime and drama. The restoration is phenomenal and does these classic films justice in every sense. Highly recommended.

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Release Date: February 2, 2010

The Godfather Movie: 10 out of 10
Picture: 6 out of 10
Sound: 6 out of 10

The Godfather, Part II Movie: 10 out of 10
Picture: 7 out of 10
Sound: 6 out of 10

Review System

Source
Panasonic DMP-BD30

Display
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)

Electronics
Onkyo PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 Amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner

Speakers
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer

Cables
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector

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