Valkyrie Review

This review was originally posted for MovieRob‘s war-themed genre grandeur.

Valkyrie movie posterSynopsis
Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) is recruited by a secret organization trying to overthrow Hitler’s Germany and end World War II.

Review
Valkyrie‘s trailer makes the film seem like it is more of a thriller than it really is. The film starts with an action scene on a German military base in Africa that gets ambushed. It is during this attack that Stauffenberg sustains his injuries. Before hand, we get a glimpse into his character and the angst he feels towards Hitler’s Germany. After this initial action sequence the movie slows down. A lot. Although the next hour and a half may move slowly, this time is used to great effect, building the major characters.

When the coup finally begins, it is the most exciting part of the movie. That’s when the movie becomes a thriller. Since this is based on a true story during World War II, the final outcome of the events is known, but the film still manages to keep me on the edge of my seat, wondering if Stauffenberg and his crew can somehow pull it off. When the movie is in the midst of the excitement, it just fizzles and all of a sudden the action is over. For as dramatic as the actual coup is, the action abruptly ends. It’s pretty jarring.

Part of why Valkyrie is ends up being fun despite its pace is because of the cast. I recognized many faces from the Pirates of the Caribbean series (Bill Nighy, Kevin McNally, Tom Hollander, and David Schofield) and most of the cast from other films. There were only a handful of the main cast I had not seen before. The entire cast does well with their parts, but I think the stand out is Carice van Houten as Nina von Stauffenberg. Although she doesn’t have much screen time, she shows a great range of emotion to her character in what little time she is on screen.

One of my complaints with this movie is that most of the cast speaks in their normal accents rather than German accents. With several different accents prominent in the film, primarily British and American, it can be difficult to get into the German setting. In movies like K-19: The Widowmaker, the actors use accents of the country their characters’ are from (in K-19‘s case, Russian). I know it’s small but I think it adds that extra special touch to a film.

Valkyrie may not be the thriller it’s advertised to be, but it still manages to shine because of the great cast, particularly van Houten. Even though I knew the final outcome, I found myself hoping that maybe, just maybe, they could still pull it off.

Rating
4/5

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Bryan Singer – Director
Christopher McQuarrie – Writer
Nathan Alexander – Writer
John Ottman – Composer

Tom Cruise – Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg
Kenneth Branagh – Major-General Henning von Tresckow
Bill Nighy – General Friedrich Olbricht
Tom Wilkinson – General Friedrich Fromm
Carice van Houten – Nina von Stauffenberg
Thomas Kretschmann – Major Otto Ernst Remer
Terence Stamp – Ludwig Beck
Eddie Izzard – General Erich Fellgiebel
Kevin McNally – Dr. Carl Goerdeler
Christian Berkel – Colonel Mertz von Quirnheim
David Bamber – Adolf Hitler
Tom Hollander – Colonel Heinz Brandt
David Schofield – Erwin von Witzleben
Werner Daehn – Major Ernst John von Freyend
Mathias Schweighofer – Lieutenant Herber
Kenneth Cranham – Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel

Maleficent Trailer #2

Synopsis: Maleficent explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

We got another Maleficent trailer the other day and it is pretty sweet.  This trailer solidifies for me that Angelina Jolie is perfect actress to play Maleficent.  Not only does she look the part, but she has her voice down as well.  I like how the introduction mirrors Sleeping Beauty.  It gives it the feeling that this is the same story, just seen from a different perspective.  It reminds me of the premise for the play Wicked.

Only thing I’m concerned about is if Maleficent gets painted as a sympathetic villain, will she lose the elements that make her such a bad-ass villain?  But on the other hand, it may make her an even better villain in a way that Magneto is such a great villain because we can empathize with him.  In any event, I’m for sure going to see this and can’t wait.

Disney’s Maleficent hits theaters May 30, 2014.  Directed by Robert Stromberg, it stars Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Brenton Thwaites, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Hannah New, Sam Riley, Lesley Manville, and Kenneth Cranham.

Maleficent movie poster