Sunday, May 18, 2014
Video review: "The Monuments Men"
One of the more disappointing films of the last few months, “The Monuments Men” was an OK movie that could’ve been great.
You had an offbeat, interesting subject: the citizen/soldiers who labored during World War II to save art works and antiquities from destruction or theft by the German Reich. And a reliable director, George Clooney, who also co-write the script (with Grant Heslov, a frequent partner-in-crime). Plus, in addition to Clooney, an eclectic cast of (mostly) older white guys: Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Jean Dujardin.
Alas, this is a gumbo with a whole list of great ingredients that just didn’t come together in a flavorful way. “Men” is alternately silly and somber, and the incongruity cancels out the effectiveness of each.
The film takes great liberties with the historical record – starting with the fact that the Monuments Men are depicted as a small motley group of art experts, when in fact hundreds of people were involved with the effort.
In trying to turn this into, effectively, a “Dirty Dozen” type of story, Clooney and his cast and crew try to do a whole bunch of things, and end up not doing anything particularly well.
Video extras are similarly so-so. The DVD comes with two making-of features: “George Clooney’s Mission” and “Marshaling the Cast.” Go for the Blu-ray version and you add some deleted scenes and two more featurettes: “The Real Monuments Men” and “A Woman Amongst the Monuments Men.”