Saturday, May 31, 2014

Monuments Me…me...zZZzzzZZ

Who will make sure that the Statue of David is still standing…and the Mona Lisa still smiling..? Queue horrible sappy music. 
Monuments Men didn't have much of a film to begin with. It's an interesting story, but I mean, come on. To convert this story into a film is just not going to work for me. It's like a full-length movie about the Carpathia en route to the Titanic distress call. They show the Monuments Men landing on the shores of Normandy two months after D-Day and try to make it emotional. No. Show me D-Day for the millionth time. Or make a movie that isn't the worrrrrst. I've never been so proud of being a procrastinator than during those weeks I put off going to the theatre to see this. *High fives self four months ago.

In the film, released to DVD last week, the "Monuments Men" (a group of 40-60 something year olds skirting around the danger during WWII in Europe) are on a mission to protect buildings, monuments, and works of art. Based on a true story, the men are trying to prevent the destruction of cultural achievements at the hands of the Germans and to prevent the dreaded Führermuseum from opening in Austria. The boring movie with the worst musical score in the history of musical scores, whose screenwriter obviously read too many Chicken Soup for the Souls, underdeveloped characters and story is based on the Nazi art plundering during WWII.

Image sources: Midnight Review and Jen Talks Too Much

Oddly enough, high-ranking Nazis were huge art fans. Hermann Göring seized hundreds of works for his own private collection and Hitler, aspiring to be an artist, was rejected from Vienna's Academy of Fine Arts for his "unfitness for painting" as a child. The Nazis plundered churches, universities, private collections, and museums in hopes of amassing the most renowned artworks of Western civilization to display in their anticipated Führermuseum. The works of Cezanne, Monet, Van Gogh, Rodin, Botticelli and many more were ripped from their locations, including the famous Ghent Altarpiece and Michelangelo's Madonna  of Bruges, which were both highlighted in the film.

In 1943 the Allies established the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Section in which 350 men and women from 13 countries specifically enlisted. Over the course of eight years, museum curators, art scholars, architects, artists and historians which made up the "Monuments Men," reclaimed more than 5 million pieces hidden in salt mines, abandoned buildings, and hilltop castles. The art was rescued, preserved, and returned to its rightful owners. The greatest art theft in history is likely to remain that way. Hundreds of thousands of documents and artworks are still MIA, to which the Monuments Men Foundation is still on the prowl.

Image source: CBS News

Alas, a seemingly interesting story is ruined by this film. Remember when George Clooney criticized the British Museum for having a piece of Greek art in their collection? This movie is so much worse than that.

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