What can we expect from the Sopranos prequel movie “The Many Saints of Newark?”

What can we expect from the Sopranos prequel movie “The Many Saints of Newark?”
Source: ScreenRant

Because we’ve all been spending more time at home lately to stay safe and healthy, many people have spent the past 18 months or so consuming a lot more media. Specifically, we’ve been bingeing a lot of TV. Who among us hasn’t fallen asleep at 3 a.m. with an episode of “Succession” playing in the background? This increased consumption has led many people to rediscover old favorites and catch up on TV shows they may have missed when they first aired.

One such show enjoying a renaissance of sorts is early-2000s hit drama, “The Sopranos.” With the rise of social media accounts like @oocsopranos on Twitter and @millennialsopranos and @sopranosaficianado on Instagram, it seems that the show has garnered a new following of young people who didn’t watch the show during its heyday. Now, with a newfound audience, “The Sopranos” prequel film, “The Many Saints of Newark,” could prove to be a great hit upon its release on October 1. So what can we expect from this film?  Will it wow its new fan base, or will it taint the beloved canon of “The Sopranos?”

What’s this whole thing about, anyway?

More so about sinners than saints, but definitely about Newark, New Jersey, “The Many Saints of Newark” seems to follow a pretty standard prequel format. Tony Soprano’s origin story – as a villain or otherwise, depending on who you ask – is explored.

Based on the trailer, the film is about the petty crimes that a wayward teenage Tony takes up while helping his uncle, who takes him under his wing. Uncle Dickie Moltisanti is a local gangster who exhibits even less hesitation and remorse for his actions than an older Tony does in the series. Taking place during the 1967 Newark Riots, the layers of this plot are already complex and compelling.

A glimpse into the life of his single mother as she attempts to get her son to realize his potential, the plot follows Tony as he realizes that potential in ways that can be described as somewhat … extracurricular. Already with the cunning ways of a mob boss, Tony is shaped into the man we all know (and who some of us can’t help but sympathize with). Although this Hollywood proclivity for prequel movies is a bit hit or miss, this one might just be a winner.

Who’s involved?

If you watched the trailer, you might be saying to yourself, “Hey, that guy really does look like a young Tony Soprano.” That would be because the young Soprano is played by the late James Gandolfini’s real-life son, Michael Gandolfini. James Gandolfini was legendary in his portrayal of the original Tony Soprano. Michael has some writing, producing and acting credits to his name, so we’re excited to see how he fills his father’s rather large shoes, so to speak.

Another exciting casting choice is Vera Farmiga (“Bates Motel,” “The Conjuring”) as Tony’s narcissistic and spiteful mother, Livia Soprano. Ray Liotta, Alessandro Nivola, Leslie Odom Jr. and Corey Stoll are other familiar names that pad out the cast.

Alan Taylor, the film’s director, directed a few episodes of “The Sopranos,” so he’s been a part of the show’s vision from the beginning. He’s also directed episodes of “Mad Men” and “Game of Thrones” as well as a couple of notable films, like “Thor: The Dark World.” Lawrence Konner, who wrote a couple of episodes of “The Sopranos,” is returning to write for the film. One of the writers and executive producers from the original series, David Chase, is also producing the film.

What are fans picking up on?

There are many mixed feelings aboutThe Many Saints of Newark” floating around on the internet. Its first trailer was met with some hesitation, as the blue/gray color-grading is difficult to get used to. The original “Sopranos” theme song playing toward the end was a callback that struck a chord for many. Generally, the consensus was mostly positive from the beginning, with many commenters already praising Farmiga’s and Gandolfini’s performances.

However, there’s been a lot more hype following the second trailer. Excitement is brewing on Twitter over the first meeting between Tony and baby Christopher Moltisanti, which vaguely foreshadows some of the show’s events.

This trailer was missing the strange color-grading, and seems more natural in tone. Plus, it features the character Uncle Dickie in much of its screen time, a role that Nivola already shines in. With this trailer, the film’s title choice becomes more evident as Uncle Dickie Moltisanti is at the center of much of the plot – the Italian “moltisanti” meaning “many saints” in English.

You can watch “The Many Saints of Newark” in theaters and on HBO MAX when it premieres on October 1.

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