Saturday, February 15, 2014

Monuments Men (2014): Or JEAN! JEAN! JEAN! JEAN!

 *actual poster


Seriously, SPOILERS!

However, if you've seen any movie like this, then you can probably already guess the spoilers.

Anyway, Monuments Men was an average movie. There was literally nothing in it that hasn't been done better in other movies (especially 1960's WWII ensemble films). The plotting was odd and many of the "epic emotional moments" felt unearned--and that's coming from someone who is empathetic towards fictional characters to the point of utter ridiculousness!

{Note: I don't cry when characters cry. I don't get second-hand embarrassment for fictional characters doing stupid things. I have NEVER had my mood effected by characters' moods. LIES. ALL LIES."

Anyway. The one thing this film did have for a person with an irrational dislike for George Clooney and an overall indifference to everyone else on the poster: Jean Dujardin. JEAN. DUJARDIN.

I went to see it with a friend who loves Matt Damon and George Clooney, which is whatever. But, even she came out of the movie saying that Jean was cooler than George (not as cool as Matt apparently--BUT WE'RE WORKING ON IT)!

Jean's introduction is through one of his awful, life-ruining crooked smiles; and, that is also how he dies.

Yes, you read that right. Jean Dujardin dies.

He dies. Because, that's what happens when I watch movies just for the sole purpose of watching a specific actor (RIP every David Janssen character ever).

His death has no purpose and no meaning. If this was The Magnificent Seven, he would be Britt--except Britt at least died doing something. Jean's character was literally invented for this movie and they still killed him off. In a movie where every minor event is turned into EMOTIONAL MOMENT OF THE CENTURY WITH CLEAR POETIC PURPOSE AND MEANING, his death occurs while he's standing around smiling at a horse in the middle of a field somewhere doing something (it's not made clear).

In fact, all of his scenes amount to him standing around smiling and doing something somewhere for some reason. IT'S NOT MADE CLEAR.

I'm calling it Clooney's Revenge.

He's still angry that Jean rightfully won the Oscar instead of him, so he decided to kill him off in his own movie. THAT MAY SEEM OVERWROUGHT AND RIDICULOUS, BUT I AM SURE THAT IT IS TRUE (or Randolph Scott has returned).

To be more concise, Jean Dujardin was lovely and perfect and wonderful and smiling in his three minutes of screen time and ten lines of dialogue (the moment he got to give the farewell toast before the mission, I knew that he was a goner).

Overall, there has been two specific lines of criticism aimed at this movie. One, that it is too old-fashioned (not showing the real tragedy of war) and two, that it elevates art above people.

When I heard that it was "old-fashioned," I was actually excited. I love classic, unrealistic 1960's WWII ensemble movies. I had hopes. Unfortunately, Monuments Men was old-fashioned in the wrong ways. It wasn't enthralling and charismatic enough to off-set faults like the classic movies. Nope, instead it was hilariously "yay America!" in a way that is rarely seen outside of classic war films. The Germans and Russians are both evil caricatures (of course)--to the point of Jaws-like music playing as the Nazis burn paintings. And, the Americans manage to hang a huge American flag to upset the Russians or something. I DON'T KNOW?! Also, every German LOOKS like a Nazi. Except, of course, for the adorable Dimitri Leonidas (actually British)--but, he's just a German-born American.

And, seriously, the Monuments Men who die are the non-Americans. I mean, I kinda thought it was funny when Hugh Bonneville died--just because he's like the only one left alive on Downton Abbey. (Plus, it was obvious from the start that he was going to die. I mean, he was the alcoholic in need of a redemption story.) BUT, I DRAW THE LINE AT KILLING OFF JEAN DUJARDIN.

The other complaint is that it elevates art above people. I can agree in a sense, because the movie is about ART: NO SUBTLETY INVOLVED. But, I also think that the movie made repeated efforts to show the human cost of the war and how it far out-weighed the loss of art. And, the point that culture and art are important is a worthy one.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is don't get too excited and don't rush out to see this. It's disappointing on all levels.

I'm also saying that you should watch is sometime for free (like from the library or something) and enjoy the Dujardin. 

That is all.

Goodbye, children.

I don't know how to end this post.

Be seeing you.


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