The newest National Treasure dropped this past Friday (February 7th). Wait, what…??? Excuse me, let me try this again.
The Monuments Men dropped this past Friday (I had been jonesing to see this film all weekend, until a snowstorm ruined my efforts).
This George Clooney directed (produced, written and starred, as well) film is a tale based on real life “treasure hunters,” who are sent to Europe in the middle of WWII to find and preserve artistic masterpieces from being stolen or destroyed by Nazi Germany.
Clooney is joined in the film by a superstar cast which includes: Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Bob Balaban (Gosford Park, Capote), Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) and Cate Blanchett (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).
It is a story about a group of middle-aged men that are unfit for duty who’re given a chance to serve their country in WWII. Men whose careers vary from architects to curators to professors; but, their professional knowledge allowed them an opportunity to salvage art that otherwise would have been destroyed.
It is obvious that the group thoroughly enjoys each other. It’s philia, in a comedic sense. They know how to have fun and give each other a hard time during the film (The jokes Murray and Balaban aim at each other all film were an underrated part of the film. Especially, Balaban’s zingers). They also deal with common wartime situations, which include working through military ranks for help, homesickness and even death.
This film isn’t really a drama, but more of a slight comedy with its wisecrack comments that can possibly fly over your head, if you aren’t ready for it. A land mine scene involving the whole group gives off a little bit of the Ocean’s vibe to it. Kind of like the hilarity that ensues between you and your buddies.
The growth of Blanchett’s character is fun to watch from beginning to end. The relationship between her & Damon’s character is predictable, but still a delight to watch. The theme of duos are a substantial part of this movie and the main ones it focuses on are: Murray and Balaban, Damon and Blanchett, Goodman and Dujardin, Clooney and Bonneville and eventually Clooney and Dimitri Leonidas (who plays a young German). The dynamic between each duo is fun and light-hearted, each in its own way.
I’ll be honest; I had high expectations for this film. I stated in Master Debaters it was one of the films I was most looking forward to in 2014. It fell short of those expectations, but would I watch it again and again? Yes. I liked the comedy and cast in this film too much to not enjoy it again. If you’re looking for a film with substance, this film is probably not for you. However, if you enjoy a small history lesson (I know I do), and want to be entertained, you’ll find this movie to be an excellent choice for your comedic pallet.
Rotten Tomatoes (as of 2/10/14): Critics: 34%, Audience 56%