Trailer Reaction: “Monuments Men”

Part of what makes Good Morning Vietnam (1987) one of my favorite war movies of all time is that it revisits the war from a fresh, interesting perspective. Robin Williams is a radio DJ for the Armed Forces Radio Service based out of Vietnam. While he spends much of his time goofing around on air and pursuing a local Vietnamese girl in Saigon, the plot still grapples with the local culture and overall theme of war in a manner that surprises you. In fact, the best war movies are at their most effective when they strip the gimmick of war down and reveal the more human elements to the story or when they approach things from a completely different angle. A trailer was released recently for Monuments Men by George Clooney that looks to do just that:

If you destroy an entire generation of a people’s culture, it’s as if they’ve never existed. That’s what Hitler wants, and it’s the one thing we can’t allow.

The story follows a group of Allied soldiers in World War II that is tasked with the sole duty of preserving and protecting works of art, artifacts, and other culturally significant items and places. A small squad of soldiers is protecting historical relics around Europe both from the fires of Hitler’s armies and from the destruction incurred from Allied bombings.

The trailer expertly shows George Clooney and Matt Damon going through the proposal in a bar and providing voice over to random scenes from the movie, explaining away the premise: architects, artists, and other well-meaning historically minded individuals band together to protect a continent’s history. The overall vibe is very Ocean’s Eleven with an older and more dorky crew that includes the likes of John Goodman and Bill Murray, two fantastic casting choices. Much like the casino heist movies that also included Clooney and Damon, Monuments Men looks like an engaging yet light story that has a lot of heart to it, but instead of thieves, we get would-be soldiers. Quite the fresh take indeed!

Can’t wait to see this one when it hits theaters on December 18, 2013!