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Miracle at St. Anna
BLU-RAY disk
02.17.2009 By: Sturdy
Miracle at St. Anna order
Director:
Spike Lee

Actors:
Derek Luke
Michael Ealy
Laz Alonso

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Four soldiers find themselves trapped in a small Italian town during World War II. Unable to get back to their unit, they have to find a way to deal with their situation and with the locals. With the help of a small boy, they find the strength they need to honor themselves and their country.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Spike Lee is best when he doesnít make race a predominant issue in his movies. Heís good at telling a straightforward story without beating you over the head with racial issues. The frustrating thing about MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA is that he had a good story and a great opportunity in his hands, but he let his incessant need to bring up race tarnish what should have been a great movie.

But as it turns out, the racial preaching isnít the biggest thing wrong with St. Anna. The biggest issue is that two of the four leading actors were not talented enough to pull off this film. Derek Luke and Omar Benson Miller looked completely out of place and uncomfortable with what they were asked to do. Lee should have realized this and not set them up for failure. There were numerous scenes where the camera was focused solely on them and they were left to fend for themselves. Some of their lines would have been hard for a seasoned actor, but in their hands, they didnít have a chance.

We also had several unnecessary scenes. We definitely didnít need a flashback within a flashback and the love triangle between the Italian girl and two of the guys was ridiculous. The Italian girl all together was very poorly written and developed. For two hours, sheís a nice, brave, strong, Italian woman that plays an important part in the film. Then in the last twenty minutes, she turns into a whore. I donít know if Spike Lee hates women, or just hated her, but someone should have told him her storyline didnít work in the context of the film.

The frustrating thing about the film is that the story of the 92nd Infantry Division is one that needs to be told, and told well. Even the history books screw their story up. You would think Spike Lee would be perfect to tell the story, but he most definitely was not. One of these days, Spike Lee will set out to make a good movie that just happens to have black actors and not a black movie that happens to be good. Until then, weíre left with failed efforts like MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA.
THE EXTRAS
Deeds Not Words (17:08): Spike Lee leads a roundtable discussion with his writer and some WWII vets. This is good from a historian perspective, but their stories arenít going to blow you away. Itís a casual discussion about what the black WWII vets went through and Spike tries to steer the discussion to topics relevant to the film. It was moderately interesting.

The Buffalo Soldier Experience (21:36): We hear from a historian and a couple of war vets about the history of the Buffalo Soldiers. The historian was really good and gave an informative, succinct account of their history.

Deleted Scenes (5:27): There are several scenes, but all of them are super quick. I think the film was way too long as it was, so it was good all of these were cut. None of them stood out, although there were a few war scenes that would have been nice in the film.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I really wanted to like this film, but it was riddled with problems that stretch beyond Leeís own political preaching. Lee is a talented filmmaker, but he took a giant leap backward with this movie.
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