DVD Reviews | May 15th, 2006

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Starring Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush, Ciaran Hinds, Daniel Craig, Mathieu Kassovitz, Hanns Zischler
Written By: Eric Roth, Tony Kushner
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Studio: Universal/Dreamworks
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How this movie didn’t win any Oscars, I don’t know but Eric Bana alone should have won the Oscar for his performance as Avner. I never really knew this tragic event took place because I was too young when it happened (well I wasn’t even born yet haha); but i’m glad Steven Spielberg has made a truly remarkable film about this. Is it one of his best movies? Perhaps, but it’s certainly a fantastic film even if it’s not his best movies…

The movie Munich takes place after the 1972 Olympic tragedy that happened in Munich. A Palestinian group known as Black September kidnapped & murdered 11 Israeli athletes. So Israel retaliates by hiring a group of agents to track down & kill those responsible for the murders, in numerous covert operations across Europe. The group consists of team leader, Avner (Eric Bana) driver & weapons man Steve (Daniel Craig), Cleanup guy Carl (Ciaran Hinds), bomb maker Robert (Mathieu Kassovitz) and Hans (Hanns Zischler), who I don’t know what he really did. He seemed to handle the numbers and finances? The team’s handler and accountant, Ephraim (Geoffrey Rush) oversees what the team is doing and tries to make things even more difficult for them, especially Avner. The group travels all over Europe to find all that are responsible for the deaths of the Israelis. They succeed in the beginning but then there’s trouble ahead and they find they are being tracked. The missions start to get harder, mentally and physically and start to take a toll on them. The team of covert operatives try to continue their missions but questions start to pop up about what’s right & wrong, or whether or not this will mean anything in the long run.

Sadly I didn’t get to see this film in theaters but heard a lot of great things. After watching this movie for the first time, I have to say this is probably one of Spielberg’s best films to date. The way it was shot, the subject matter, the style of movie it was; it just didn’t feel like a Spielberg movie you know? I think that’s what I like about it so much, it just doesn’t seem like something he normally does. Actually, it seems lately he’s only doing movies he doesn’t normally do. Munich actually felt like a Ridley Scott movie, not sure why I feel that way. But anyway, the film delivers on all levels and is truly something to watch. As soon as the opening scene came on, I was glued to the TV set and didn’t move ’til the movie was over. Munich has a lot to say in the film, some of it pertains to current events that are still happening overseas. The film is about revenge, vengeance, violence, and protecting & standing up for something. At least that’s what I got from it. It seems even when you retaliate, it’s only going to come back and bite you in the ass. And if you don’t do the nasty job you were assigned to do, someone else will. It’s an endless circle that doesn’t seem like will ever stop. I think the film showed the paranoia & mayhem of how crazy it can be when you are a secret agent and you know someone’s after you. The scene i’m talking about is when Avner is going nuts in his room and ripping it apart. I’d be doing the same thing after witnessing all the stuff that they saw and did to the terrorists. And I’d definitely be sleeping in my closet or not have a sleep at all. One scene that also stood out in my mind was when Avner was discussing Israel with a Palestinian in the dark, and just that 5 minute scene summarized the whole situation that is going on over there. Spielberg definitely takes the diplomatic approach to this movie and doesn’t necessarily take either side of the matter. I think it was the smarter thing to do and it also made for a better movie for not being a pro-Israel propaganda movie.

The reason why I like this movie so much is because it’s a gritty version of what people THINK happened. I didn’t think there would be as much bloodshed or gory violence in this movie. But then again, this is Spielberg who in the past has eaten up little kids with giant sharks, and has shown soldiers trying to pull their insides back into their body. So yeah, maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised. The action scenes were intense, and the drama scenes were just as emotionally exciting because you just get so wrapped up into the story. That’s a good example of a great storyteller like Steven Spielberg, and the great script by Eric Roth & Tony Kushner. The music was composed by John Williams and the score didn’t really feel like a John Williams score. Which is a good thing sometimes because not every movie needs a gigantic epic theme. It served it’s purpose and fit the dark film. What holds up the best I think is the acting and writing. I wouldn’t say Eric Bana is a big movie star per say, but does an excellent job! This film succeeds because there’s no Tom Cruise-like actor in it..yet. Well that might change when Daniel Craig becomes James bond…depending if he’s any good or not. I still can’t see him as that but that’s another review for another time. Irish actor Ciaran Hinds (who was in Road To Perdition with Craig by the way), has been popping up in movies left & right lately and is great with the material he is given. Geoffrey Rush was another excellent actor in this movie, and it seemed like every scene he was in; he just made those scenes ten times better. The other actors all did a superb job with the parts and made the characters believable. No over-the-top characters or acting here.

There are two types of Munich DVDs out there for you to buy. If you are person who doesn’t watch the extras, than get the single disc version. Why? Because well, there aren’t any extras on the DVD and it’s just the movie. The preferable choice is you get the 2-disc limited edition DVD that’s selling like hot cakes right now. I guess that’s saying something to Universal, people want to have SOME bonus materials on DVDs and not be shortchanged. I can see why there are two DVDs out there that are being released at the same time, but I think it’s a waste of money. Why not make DVDs just with all the bonus materials on there and be done with it? If the people don’t want it on the DVDs, well then don’t watch it. I just think it’s annoying having two types of DVDs out there. Standard & Widescreen is different and that’s another debate for another time. The only thing that can be considered some sort of bonus feature is an introduction by Steven Spielberg that’s about 4 minutes.

Munich is an excellent movie that tries to explain the events of the Munich Massacre at the Olympics and the events that followed. This is a tough film to sit through but if you like gritty dramas about true events, than Munich isn’t a movie to skip over. I think this is one of the best movies Steven Spielberg directed in a long, long time! But be sure to buy the Limited Edition DVD because this one has nada on it.

Introduction by Steven Spielberg

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1

Widescreen 2.35:1

English, Spanish, French

Favorite Scenes: I like when they were tracking all the terrorists and making nifty bombs. Seeing the Dutch assassin was nice too, but not nice for some of the characters if you know what I mean. The scene between Avner and a Palestinian talking about the state of Israel was fantastic.
Rating: R
Running Time: 164 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: