A week or so ago, my parents and I got to see The Monuments Men, which is about how the Nazis stole precious art from various places around Europe. It seemed interesting and since we all like history and were looking for something to do over the weekend, my parents and I went to see it. I was surprised to see that Bill Murray was in this movie, considering he tends to do comedic roles, but I also saw that Hugh Bonneville was in this movie as well, so I looked forward to his acting.
Set towards the end of WWII, The Monuments Men follows a group of civilian men that accompanies the Allied forces to Europe. Their mission: to recover pieces of art that have been stolen by the Nazis to fill Hitler's intended Fuehrer Museum. Their goal is to preserve the culture and history that has been built up in Europe over centuries from destruction from the war and to collect the pieces and return them to their rightful owners before the Nazi destroy them.
The movie does contain recognizable actors, but they are mostly actors from Hollywood movies and not necessarily from period dramas.
|Actor/Actress||Character||Also Seen In|
|George Clooney||Lt. Frank Stokes||Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? as Everett McGill|
|Matt Damon||Lt. James Granger||(Various Movies)|
|Bill Murray||Sgt. Richard Campbell||Ghostbusters as Dr. Peter Venkman|
|John Goodman||Sgt. Walter Garfield||Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou? as Big Dan Teague|
|Hugh Bonneville||Major Donald Jeffries||Downton Abbey as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham|
|Cate Blanchett||Claire Simone||The Lord of the Rings Trilogy as Galadriel|
The story mainly follows the seven men who are in the group called The Monuments Men. These older gentlemen (four Americans, but one Englishman, one Frenchman, and one German) are curators, art experts, museum directors, and historians who are accepted into the military and undergo basic training to prepare themselves for the mission. There was great chemistry among the whole cast and they worked really well together. I loved this little exchange:
As you can see, while the time period and theme of this movie was serious, there was still enough humor in the film to keep the film from being too dark.
Lt. Frank Stokes: What have you got?
The Landmine Scene
James Granger: Stop, stop. I seem to have stepped on a land mine.
Lt. Frank Stokes: Why would you do something like that?
James Granger: It was a slow day.
[the others walk up]
Sgt. Walter Garfield: What have you got?
Lt. Frank Stokes: The Lieutenant here seems to have found himself on top of an unexploded mine.
Sgt. Walter Garfield: Why would you do that?
|Lt. Granger (Left) and Lt. Stokes (Right)|
|Claire (Right) showing Lt. Granger some pieces of art|
|Major Jefferies (Middle) walking with Lt. Granger |
and Lt. Stokes
|Sargent Campbell (Left) and Private Savitz (Right)|
I wasn't expecting a whole lot of scenery in this movie; I was expecting a lot of scenes in army tents where planning was to be done, maybe some museums... but was I wrong! While there are quite a few scenes in the army camps and there is an occasional museum, there is also a chance of seeing the sites around Europe, whether in the country or the city (and let's not forget churches where some of the art was before it was stolen). Some of the places had the scars of war on them (damaged buildings, dust, etc.), but there were other scenes that took place in places less affected by the war (such as some places in the city, and especially the country).
|Claire in the nicest dress she had in the whole movie|
The costuming isn't really much to speak of, but you don't usually watch a war movie for the costuming. Most of the costumes were either military uniforms or suits from the 1940s era. The character with the most costuming was probably Claire Simone. She was very plainly dressed throughout the entire movie, but she did have one nice dress (pictured here).
The music reminded me almost of the style John Williams composes in, but upon further research, I found out it wasn't John Williams who composed the music. It was Alexandre Desplat, who composed the music for The King's Speech. Some of the songs reminded me of music that you would expect from older war movies: not very dark, but a bit light with whistling.
I don't got to the theater much anymore (let's face it, the quality of movies has gone down considerably in recent years), but this movie is definitely an exception. The bad reviews that this movie has been given were, I feel, unjustly given (unless people were looking for a blood and guts movie and didn't get it so they were upset). This is a really good movie that is almost like the way that they used to make movies... you know, back when movies were good. It's based on a true story, so while some things in it might have been artistic license, I still feel like I learned a little more history by viewing this movie. There was humor to keep the story from being too dark, but there wasn't too much to be inappropriate. So, in short, if you want to go to the theaters anytime soon, I recommend this movie. I wouldn't say that I was blown away by this movie, but I did enjoy it greatly and was glad that I saw it.
The film is rated PG-13 for some images of war violence and historical smoking. While there is quite a bit of smoking in the movie (as many people during WWII smoked), the war violence part I thought was an exaggeration. There were a couple people who got shot, but there was no excessive blood (the blood that I remember can be seen on the fabric of the person shot) and no guts. There is quite a bit of language (the "s" word was used an awful lot, but no "f" words), and I would have thought that that was the reason the movie was PG-13. If there weren't as many swears in the movie, I would have said the movie was PG instead of PG-13. Aside from the swearing, don't worry about the PG-13 rating.
The Monuments Men is in theaters now. It is rated PG-13 and runs for 118 minutes.