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February 10, 2014 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-10

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'Monuments Men'

lacks worthy
Clooney's latest straight for long-winded,
heartfelt speeches, followed
film struggles by splitting the group off into
side stories that dangerously
with plot encroach on the territories of
sitcoms and soap operas.
By CONRAD FOREMAN Jean Dujarin ("The Art-
Daily Arts Writer ist") is French; Bill Murray
("Ghostbusters") is a smart-
A star-studded cast that ass; Bob Balaban ("Close
includes co-writer and direc- Encounters of the ThirdI
tor George Clooney ("Batman Kind") is short and feisty;
& Robin") John Goodman ("The Big
coming Lebowski") is hard to figure
together for C+ out. Obviously George Cloo-
a movie set ney's the suave one, and Matt
in the middle The Damon ("Dogma") speaks
of World War Monuments dorky French and is kind of a
II? Sounds good husband. That's about as
like the recipe Men deep as it gets.
for a prime Rave 20 and Not that there aren't
November Quality16 attempts to humanize the
release, ready art hunters. It's just that
for a healthy Columbia Damon's relationship withI
run at award Cate Blanchett ("Blue
shows over Jasmine") puzzles more than1
the next few months. Alas, it intrigues, and Murray's
these are not the features shower scene, scored by his
of such a film; instead we wife and daughter singingI
have "The Monuments Men," "Have Yourself a Merry Little
which hit theaters this week- Christmas," would elicit much
end. more emotion if we knew his
The Monuments Men (a character better.
nickname they give them- There are high notes of
selves) are tasked with course; Hugh Bonneville
retrieving art Hitler: stole ("Downtown Abbey") offersI
during his conquest of Europe some heart as he pursues
- a daunting task for a bunch both his dignity and Michel-
of old farts with no military angelo's Madonna and Child,
experience. but his story is short-lived.I
George Clooney directs And although the laughs
with an artsy form that fea- are few, they are genuine -
tures a lot of close-ups. It the loudest coming during a
works well enough, but his scene with Murray and Bala-
screenwriting is a differ- ban sharing a cigarette with a
ent story. He and partner German soldier.I
Grant Heslov ("The Ides of The film also takes an
March") skip intimate char- unoriginal and discomforting
acter development and go approach to its portrayal of

Hitler - that is, they show
his face for only a moment,
otherwise framing him facing
away from the camera or in
deep shadows. While this
illustrates the important note
that no one man can be solely
responsible for the atrocious
actions of many, I'm partial
to the idea that Hitler should
be shown as the little shit
that he was (i.e. "Inglourious
Basterds"), not as some
phantom or abstraction.
"The Monuments Men,"
like our founding fathers,
suffers for its patriotism.
The story pushes the United
States as the noble protector
of all the world's culture. And
Uncle Sam's grip gets tighter
and tighter as the film goes
on, culminating with a race
between our heroes and the
Russians, -an overt preamble
to the Cold War.
Another major violation
problem is that the plot
largely ignores the exploits
of actual soldiers in the
war. While the recovery and
restoration of the greatest
art in the world is surely an
admirable pursuit, the voice
of the film seems unaware of
the incredible scope of the
destruction of the war. There
are almost no combat scenes;
the war is simply a backdrop
to the greater purpose of the
"The Monuments Men"
ultimately fails because its
entertainment value is mild,
and in the end it' can't help
but feel like a bunch of old,
artistic yuppies explaining
why they're the real heroes of

Daily Arts Writer
J. K. Rowling made waves
recently with the shocking rev-
elation that she believes she had
made a mistake in her seven-
book "Harry Potter" series by
having main characters Herm-
ione Granger and Ron Weasley
get married. In hindsight, she
believed that Hermione should
have ended up with none other
than the Boy Who Lived, Harry
Naturally, the fandom erupt-
ed. The fans who believed in
the canonical pairing were out-
raged that Rowling would say
such things about their beloved
Romione. Others, who shipped,
which is the-internet's way of
saying supported, Harmony
(Harry and Hermione), claimed
superiority over the Romione
shippers, claiming they always
knew whom the true pairing
should have been. My reac-
tion was a bit more subdued; it
consisted only of a shrug of the
shoulders and a "Meh? Who
My reaction, or lack thereof,
was not caused by apathy toward
the "Harry Potter" series. I love
Harry Potter and everything
about the Wizarding World.
I have read each of the books
several times and I will defend
them to anyone who claims the
books lack quality.
So why am I so unconcerned
with Rowling destroying Romi-
one? Because it doesn't mat-
ter. These relationships were
never a central part of the story,

and if they never existed or if minimally, as it always felt a bit
they changed, the story would forced. We never saw enough of
remain unaffected. Rowling was James and Lily for me to make
not trying to write a young adult an accurate opinion of their
romance series; if people want relationship, and the Dursleys
such trivial exploits, they can go only worked because of their
read the likes of "Twilight" and mutual hatred of anything
"The Hunger Games," both of magical. But again I ask, does it
which have a sickening level of really matter?
relationship drama. Does anything that Rowl-
"Harry Potter" was always a ing said after the conclusion
series that tackled issues much of the series actually matter?
bigger than who was dating It's not as though her saying
whom. The series introduced Dumbledore is gay changed the
many young readers to the ideas fact he was one badass wizard
of death and loss for the first whose sassiness was phenome-
time, while learning impor- nal. Nor does saying that Romi-
tant lessons about courage and one never should have existed
friendship along the way. If change the fact that they do
fans start getting hung up over 'eist and will continue to exist
inconsequential details like the forever. Rowling can say that
status of Romione; these bigg anmony should have been the
lessons will be lost. true couple but there's noth-

Ello, mate?
Romione vs. Harmony:
Why do we even care?

Besides, the relationships
were never that believable
to begin with. I never really
bought into the whole Romione
relationship. There was never
anything in the stories that
made me believe the pair had
longevity. Though, I did believe
it more than the whole Harry
and Ginny relationship, which
was just a mess. And to be fair -'
I believe it more than Harmony.
The only couple I actually
ever believed were meant to
be together was Mr. and Mrs.
Weasley. Their relationship
was grounded in love and car-
ing toward each other, and
the fact that Mr. Weasley calls
Mrs. Weasley "Mollywobbles"
is almost too cute for me to
handle. The Remus and Tonks
relationship I believed, but only

ing she can do about it - unless
she goes back and rewrites the
whole series, which seems a bit
excessive to me.
Here's to hoping
comes true.
So Romione fans rejoice
because your pairing will
forever remain the OTP (one
true pairing) and Harmony will
only ever be wishful thinking,
like Snarry (Snape and Harry),
Drarry (Draco and Harry),
and Snermione (Snape and

:._ t ' . ...

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