IHAO DOUBLE FEATURE on ... Monument's Men and LEGO Movie

I was able to double feature two movies that are still big in theatres currently, so why not double feature them together as soon as I can?  I hope you all find these reviews helpful.  Let's get on with it.

Monument's Men is a George Clooney acted, directed, written, and produced film.  I wouldn't call it a "vanity" project, but a passion piece.  Clooney, while the narrative voice and framing structural character of the film, really isn't particularly important beyond hammering home the sentimental purpose of the film over and over.  The film itself is about the true story of the Monument's Men during WW2 who spent their time trying to find all the greatest art, be it paintings, sculptures, or ... other stuff ... I'm sure there was other stuff, but the movie focused on those, anyway, they searched for all the stolen art and tried to stop Nazis from destroying art.

This is a real thing that happened, so let's go ahead and put that out there.  The way things happened probably all happened as well.  Let's just assume other than jokes and little character beats, everything happened.  Ok.  

I found this movie to be sentimental, with very few stakes.  Yes, yes, historical film means that we knew the outcome, but that's not what I'm actually saying about stakes.  "Stakes" are what you need in a film to get invested.  Stakes are created by tension and character action.  The characters are the audience's way into the film.  And I found that Clooney, who did a very good job with the shots and pacing and such on the director's side, created caricature characters that were very simple to understand and like, then used quick vignettes to hop about the plot of the movie, instead of really giving us character moments to build our tension.  Blanchett got the most actual character time, but that quickly went away after the Monument's Men were doing their thing.  

Smiley Frenchman was my favorite character in the movie.  Look at him smile.  :)

With all the stakes removed from characters, all that is left is stakes based on the art itself.  And even there, we see a cheap writing tactic of taking a character and putting all his importance onto a piece of art, so that we are rooting for the Men to find that art as a way to save the character.  It isn't bad or anything, just forced.

Everything Clooney did was good.  My complaints are about the lack.  The lack of interesting choices and scenarios beyond simple vignettes for our characters.  What we did see were are well done.  But if there had been motion between the vignette scenes, if we had really gotten to know the characters beyond the caricatures of "sarcastic elderly dude," "little jewish dude who doesn't like the sarcastic one," "smiley french guy," "husband," "Clooney," if we got to get a real sense of characters, this movie could have been something real special.  The movie handled emotion well, it just didn't truly earn the emotion.  

If you love art.  If you love history.  If you love Europe.  I can very much see this movie being a favorite, even a top 10 for you.  And that's great!  But I personally found it a little lacking, while overall a solid film.  I wouldn't recommend a theatrical viewing (there's nothing really special or necessary about seeing it on the big ole screen) but there are way worse things to rent or Netflix or borrow from that uncle or aunt of yours who you KNOW will own it because it is a war movie that has hunky George Clooney in it.

Grade: B

Chris Pratt is so wonderfully likable as a leading man.  I have to say it right now.  If I liked Tom Hanks, I would compare him to Tom Hanks.  I don't like Tom Hanks, though, so I'm just going to compare him to ... himself, I guess.  I love Pratt.  And he is perfectly suited as a leading fella in this movie and in his new movie, Guardians of the Galaxy.  Trailer below:

This movie is a fun look at the creative force of the Lego.  And a big ole commercial.  There is no denying it, the whole thing is a commercial.  Yes, it goes beyond that, but come one, don't try to fool me people.  The better the movie, the better the commercial.  And it was a very good commercial.

Great joke.  One of probably ... I dunno, a bunch.

The voice acting all around was spot on.  And the world created was even better.  The way it was filmed was fantastic, as it looked like a basically seamless mixture of CGI and stop motion, or just incredible CGI that left fingerprints on things.  It looks very good.  And the movie does go beyond what it could have been to really give us a perfect family film with some new ideas that fit our current culture and parents, as well as our children.  While there are still some things that could have been done, it just leaves room for a sequel, which I'd be shocked if there wasn't one ... actually, I take that back.  This film has a message and moral to it that seems standalone.  So I hope there isn't another.  But there probably will be.  Commercials make lots of money in film form.

This movie really is great.  I don't love it, personally, but I cannot deny great quality when I see it.  And I don't really know what I'd change if I could.  Go see this flick.  You won't regret, and the big screen treatment for these tiny squares is gonna be very much worth your time.  Also, Green Lantern is the new Aquaman.  

Grade: A

1 comment:

  1. Poor Green Lantern. :) Enjoyed both these movies and agree with the reviews. The art/history/Europe/WWII of MM was definitely the part that affected me the most. :)