The Monuments Men, a mostly blank canvas

The Monuments Men, a mostly blank canvas

When the name George Clooney is mentioned, it usually evokes a few fond memories of well directed films with enticing plot lines and well-developed characters. So when I saw the preview for “The Monuments Men” with his name plastered across the front, I figured he had hit another home run.

The story is set towards the end of World War II. Hitler, who as we all know wanted to take over Europe, wanted to take something else as well: Europe’s fine art collection. Works from artists such as Renoir and Michelangelo were being pilfered by Nazis and taken to be shown in Hitlers “Furer Museum.” A team of artists, art historians, and museum curators were sent into the fray to recover and preserve the works before they were stolen or destroyed.

The story had the potential to be a thrilling, historical heist that featured the struggles of World War II. It even included the star-studded cast of Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray and George Clooney himself. Instead, we were left with a boring plot line that was filled with holes.

The most intriguing part, how the men located the art, was only briefly touched on in a one minute clip of the men hashing it out over a map. Not to mention, when the group goes to actually retrieve the art, you think you’ve reached the long awaited action packed climax, only it falls short. There are no Natzis waiting to take the revolutionaries out, no heart-pounding chase scene, only some dry dialogue.

The lack of a decent plot line isn’t the only aspect that misses the mark though. Clooney’s character development is a pitiful mess. The group, seven men in all, lack gusto due to their lack of lines. By the middle of the film you realize you hardly know any of these men. Isn’t a well thought out movie supposed to make the characters feels like family? Aren’t I supposed to feel their emotions as they play out on screen? When a scene comes about that is meant to be touching it falls short. Instead you feel awkward like you’re seeing an intimate moment that your not included in.

As for the main character who plays the art curator who puts the group together, Clooney’s delivery seems overdone in some places. His passionate delivery of lines that explain the dire importance of saving art seem lofty compared to the other men’s mostly empty canvases. Over and over again the importance of art is shoved in your face until your left saying “Alright, I get the point, now lets get back to the action.”