Monday, February 17, 2014

The Monuments Men Review

Early on in 2013, The Monuments Men was thought to be one of the major Oscar contenders, being that it was a historical war story that had George Clooney on triple duty as writer, director, and lead actor. It was a fairly big shock when the movie was delayed from its original release date towards the end of 2013 to February of 2014. Essentially that meant they were giving up on getting any Oscar nominations since no February movie ever gets nominated. Yeah, the Oscars are a bit weird like that. It's as if they don't start paying attention to movies until about halfway through the year. Turns out this move was a good one for The Monuments Men. With how poor the reviews were, they weren't going get any nominations anyways. And on a financial basis, they were able to earn a lot more money then they would've otherwise. I went into this movie with an open mind, ignoring the awful reviews because it seemed really interesting. Turns out, though, it was a very mixed bag for me.

The Monuments Men is based on a true story of a World War II platoon out on a very important mission. This mission is one that was educational to me because I was unaware of this aspect of the war. According to the movie, Hitler had stolen millions of different works of art during the war with the intention of creating one huge art museum type of thing. Hitler had all these works of art hidden throughout Germany. The purpose of the Monuments Men was to search for these, steal them back, and give them to their original owners. After watching this movie, it was the type of movie where I wanted to immediately go learn the history behind this. So I did. And it is a great history, one that I'm glad I now have at least a bit of knowledge in. Turns out the movie actually has quite a bit of inaccuracies. An example is that there were actually 300 of them and not just seven. But they got the jist of things right, so historical inaccuracies didn't bother me.

What did bother me with this movie was the fact that it was so boring through most of it. I can't explain it too well, but the pacing was off somehow because I wasn't able to get invested in this movie until about halfway through. It started off really choppy and things just started happening without much explanation. They tried to spend time building up the characters so that the audience can get emotionally invested, but it just didn't work. Then on top of that, there were instances were they tried to throw in a bit of comedy and romance. I'm sure some soldiers had a sense of humor during war, but when they tried to be funny in this movie, it just didn't work and instead made the tone feel off. In terms of romance, from what I read, the actual people that Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett's characters were based off of made a really good duo. In the movie, they tried this awkward romance where Blanchett tried to make romantic moves on Damon, but Damon awkwardly turned her down because he was already married. Those sequences didn't need to happen at all.

Yes, this movie had a big cast. Like I mentioned, George Clooney wrote, directed, and starred. Starring along with him was Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, and others and all of them did great. In the second half of the movie, the movie finally grabbed my full attention. And like I said, I felt this movie was educational in the fact that I had no idea about these Monuments Men. So the movie definitely had noble intentions as well as a lot of potential to be a really solid movie. In the end, I wasn't blown away at all and I was really disappointed because this movie could've been so much more, but it just ended up falling flat. I would recommend you give this movie a shot, but overall I wasn't extremely impressed. I give The Monuments Men a 6.5/10.

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