The Monuments Men

Rated: PG-13

               Upon seeing the trailers for The Monuments Men I was instantly reminded of The Men Who Stare at Goats. Both are war-time movies that prominently feature George Clooney as the main character of an obscure Army unit doing things that the rest of the Army either doesn’t know about, or doesn’t care about. Both are supposed to be based on true stories. All in all I really enjoyed The Men Who Stare at Goats, and so I thought I’d enjoy The Monuments Men just as much. Unfortunately I was mistaken.
The Monuments Men is the story of a small army unit whose job it is to track down and save as much artwork from the Nazi’s as possible in hopes of saving it from being destroyed and centuries of human history from disappearing forever.
        As is usually the case in such situations, various liberties were taken with the original true story to make it more appealing as a movie.  Here’s a quote about it I found on Wikipedia: “
Dr. Nigel Pollard of Swansea University awarded the film only two stars out of five for historical accuracy.[32] Pollard wrote that "There’s a kernel of history there, but The Monuments Men plays fast and loose with it in ways that are probably necessary to make the story work as a film, but the viewer ends up with a fairly confused notion of what the organization Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program (MFAA) was, and what it achieved. The real organization was never a big one (a few dozen officers at most), but the film reduces it to just seven men to personalize the hunt for the looted art: five Americans, one British officer, the first to be killed off (Hugh Bonneville) and a Free French officer, marginalizing the British role in the establishment of the organization. This is presented as set up at Clooney’s initiative after the bombing of Monte Cassino (after February 1944). In fact, its origins actually went back to British efforts in Libya in 1942, and it already existed (albeit with teething troubles) when the Allies invaded Sicily in July 1943."  Of course it’s silly to think that a movie, any movie (that’s not a straight documentary of course) is a reliable place to get historical information. That doesn’t mean that they’re not worth watching, you just have to keep two things in mind as you do: #1: This is a movie that has been made as entertainment and #2: The events portrayed may not be 100% accurate, but they are portrayed to get you thinking and interested in finding out more.  
The Monuments Men was a little disappointing. With such a well-known cast, (including George Clooney, John Goodman, Matt Damon and Bill Murray to name a few) I expected a lot more than this movie had to give. The story, (written by Clooney) seemed a bit scatter-brained and weak. I can’t exactly pinpoint what would’ve made it better, but I CAN tell you some of what I think was wrong. You don’t ever really care about the characters; the overall pace of the movie is very slow and while there are plenty of things that happen, it all seems uneventful and anticlimactic.

         In the end I think
The Monuments Men is a movie that school children will end up watching in history class; but should you watch it at home…probably not. You’d be better off spending the two hours you’ll save researching the true story behind The Monuments Men. It would be far more exciting AND you’d learn something!

        The Monuments Men
is rated PG-13, was directed and written by George Clooney and stars George Clooney (of course), Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Cate Blanchette and Bob Balaban. Its available now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.