Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Black Film On DVD - Miracle At St. Anna - An Ambitious Failure Of Epic Proportions

Spike Lee's Miracle At St. Anna is at times beautiful and compelling, but more often than not, the film is convoluted, mean-spirited, flat-out confusing and contradictory. Spike Lee has always been guilty of trying to correct every wrong ever done in the history of black film-making in just one film. In this film, he tries to make up for every single time the stories of black soldiers have been overlooked and it shows, this movie is just too damn long and tries to tell too many different stories. At 2 hours and 46 minutes, I was seriously considering reaching for the remote and the fast forward button on numerous occasions.

The film looks awesome and the acting is top-notch, but the storyline is monstrously weak and overcooked. The romance isn't a romance, it's more of the same old Spike Lee misogynistic take on women that has ruined many of his films. The mystery is corny and another attempt on Lee's part to lift a plot device from the superior, The Last Emperor. Fights and disputes suddenly breakout between the characters, then get dropped, characters seem to know things that they could not possibly know, and characters do things that are completely illogical.
I have hated nearly every film where Spike Lee was clearly working overtime to get an Oscar nomination. All those films were overdone and overreaching in terms of content and presentation. Malcolm X, He Got Game, Get On The Bus, and Bamboozled would be other examples. Should you watch Miracle At St. Anna? Yes! You should. Just make sure that you are well rested and start the film with your dinner. The one truth about a Spike Lee Joint is that there is always something of interest, even when you don't like the complete product.

8 comments:

Shady_Grady February 17, 2009 at 4:48 AM  

I was very, very disappointed with this movie. I don't know that I would call it misogynistic though. For better or worse Spike does have a fascination with Black-Italian relations.

The movie lacked focus and needed better editing. In a war movie, I thought the focus should be on the war. If a white director had used some of the characters Spike did I think Spike would have a justified problem with it so that was confusing to me.

It did look magnificent though.

Professor Tracey February 17, 2009 at 10:49 AM  

Sorry Shady,

but Spike set that up as a romance and it got ugly for absolutely no reason. Michael Ealy's character was disgusting and Derek Luke's reaction was uncalled for. There was nothing romantic or pleasant about the interactions between the men and women, other than Spike wanted an old fashioned sex scene. I could have lived without that entire storyline. It wasn't a relationship at all, her character was nothing but a story pawn. It had no purpose at all.

Christopher Chambers February 17, 2009 at 11:00 AM  

I think we can all agree that the problem with any Spike Lee is usually Spike. Nuff said. He should have produced it, handed it off to Fuqua or Carl Franklin, who've proven they can bring this kind of stuff to life without all the bullshit.

bbgcmac February 17, 2009 at 5:16 PM  

Didn't see the movie yet - though I am about to start the book and finish it by the weekend because I am going to see my mom in LA and she loves the movie - so I know she is going to want me to watch.

Her late husband was a Buffalo Soldier and that probably has something to do with it.

I heard the book is excellent.

And BTW professor - when I get off the plane the first stop is Staples to try to get tickets to the game against the Hornets.

Though the net always says the Lake Show is sold out the last time I was there I walked right up to the ticket counter and got tickets to see Ray Ray and the Sonics on the same night - 10 rows up from center court floor.

Kobe hurt his shoulder 1:19 into the game and missed the rest of it - i was heartbroken - but Shaq, Fisher and GP got down and it was still a great time.

don't know how it's going to go this time but it's worth a try right?

RainaHavock February 18, 2009 at 12:17 AM  

Speaking of films Professor Tracy did you here about this new called "American Violet"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMeHnHtXkl8

V-Knowledge February 18, 2009 at 12:27 AM  

I wrote a review for "Miracle at St. Anna" a while back, which you can check out here: http://vknowledge.blogspot.com/2008/09/film-review-miracle-at-st-anna.html

There's a good movie buried underneath all the garbage, but man, what a colossal flop.

Ceej February 18, 2009 at 9:38 PM  

It was weird because Spike bills himself as the authority on "the Black image," yet all his characters were straight out of the Black stereotypes handbook. The simpleton, the buck, the coon, the house Negro... they were all there. It's was infuriating!

Regina February 21, 2009 at 9:24 PM  

I had/have NO intentions of going to see this movie. I stopped watching Spike Lee movies long, long ago. As a matter of fact if I hear that Spike has anything to do with a movie I will not watch it.
Sadly as someone else stated, "the problem with any Spike Lee is usually Spike. Nuff said." I agree 100%!

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