There have been so many World War II movies that when a genuinely new and surprising story out of the war comes along, it's kind of impossible not to get jazzed. Such is the case with "The Monuments Men," written by, produced, and starring some dude name George Clooney (who can currently be seen in Alfonso Cuaron's space-set masterpiece "Gravity")
"The Monuments Men," which is based on a true story (recounted in a book of the same name by Robert M. Edsel), chronicles the efforts of a small team of artists and historians who were tasked with retrieving priceless stolen works of art from the Nazis during the waning days of World War II. As Clooney intones over the opening narration: "While we must and will win this war, we must remember the high price that will be paid if the foundation of modern society is destroyed." That's art for you.
Clooney's character assembles a team of misfits, which gives the whole movie a kind of "Dirty Dozen"/"Inglourious Basterds"/"Ocean's Eleven" feel, with John Goodman, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, and Bob Balaban amongst the assorted oddballs. Matt Damon is, of course, another team member, who plainly asks Clooney, "You want to go into a war zone and tell our boys what they can and cannot blow up?" Clooney says yes.
Cate Blanchett is also in the cast, playing some kind of French spy, and her accent is just as good as everything else about Blanchett (so, pretty much impeccable). While the trailer gets a little forced and sentimental towards the end, especially with the soaring choice of music, the movie looks like a big, gorgeous, Oscar Bait-y epic that we cannot wait to see. The trailer does a great job at making these works of art seem important, during a war that contained, amongst other things, the near-extermination of an entire race of people and two atomic bomb detonations.
"The Monuments Men" will be released by Columbia Pictures on December 18.