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5 reasons 'The Monuments Men' is good, not great

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SALT LAKE CITY — George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men” is one of the most, if not the most, anticipated films in early 2014.

We thought we’d get a look at Clooney’s World War II epic with an all-star cast in December, but the film was pushed back to February, and I hate to say it, but it was not worth the wait.

Latest Flicks Junkies Podcast

“The Monuments Men” is by no means a bad film, but the wasted potential is staggering.

Here are five reasons “The Monuments Men” is good, not great.


Throwback feel

Most recent World War II films have had a realistic and gritty take, and it has been effective. Films like Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” or Clint Eastwood’s “Flags of Our Fathers” are so realistic and powerful they’re almost hard to watch at times.

The Monuments Men
The Monuments Men (Photo: Columbia Pictures)

This is not the tone of “The Monuments Men.”

While the film is realistic and heavy at times, it has an old-school feel of films like “The Great Escape” or “The Guns of Navarone.” Clooney doesn’t play down the intensity or ugliness of war, but rather reminds us that we can still enjoy ourselves as we watch incredible stories that were born from perilous times.


“The Monuments Men” is based on the true story of a team that was assembled during World War II to help preserve art in Europe for generations to come.

The story itself is not well-known, and it’s wonderful that Clooney has taken the time to tell it on screen.

The story of these men is compelling and fascinating, although it drags at times, but we’ll get into that later. This is truly an incredible true story from the lost pages of history, and it’s enthralling to hear of the struggles and sacrifices these men made to preserve culture.


The Monuments Men
The Monuments Men (Photo: Columbia Pictures)

What had most people excited about “The Monuments Men” was the cast that was put together.

The cast is so star-studded it’s almost hard to wrap your head around. The players include George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin and Hugh Bonneville.

As expected, the cast is phenomenal. Murray and Goodman are particularly stunning in the film, and it’s a joy to watch these masters of their craft work.

While the cast is the one thing that actually saved the film, it may also be the thing that hurt it. With such a phenomenal cast, expectations were high, almost too high, and the film couldn’t match the star power it assembled.

Not great


Films often lend themselves to a slow-paced and calculated story, but “The Monuments Men” is too slow for its own good.

The story is not a fast-paced thrill ride by any means, but its slow, at times meandering, pacing leaves you wanting to get your defibrillator and give it a jump.

The movie is just short of two hours, but it feels more like three at times.

The Monuments Men
The Monuments Men (Photo: Columbia Pictures)


The story of “The Monuments Men” chronicles a few years in time, and it seems Clooney wasn’t sure how to make all of these spread-out moments coalesce into one coherent thought.

Transitions between scenes and locales leave you confused at times and racking your brain in an effort to understand how these back-to-back moments correlate.

I do not envy Clooney in his task because the story is broad and sprawling, meaning jumping from sequence to sequence would be difficult, but Clooney never quite gets it right.

With all this said, “The Monuments Men” is not a bad film. In fact, I think it’s worth at least one viewing. However, it’s difficult to walk away from the film and not feel let down knowing of the film we could have had as opposed to what we got.

Have you seen “The Monuments Men”? What were your thoughts? Am I off in my review or do you agree with my opinions? Let me know on the comment boards, Facebook, Twitter or send an email.

Also, make sure to listen to the Flicks Junkies Podcast and hear our review of the film and get an idea as to what you should watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

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John Clyde


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