There was so much that looked horrible about this one.. the troubled production, the struggles between the German government and the scientologists, the shifting release dates, and the trailers/commercials that made this look like "Maverick the Good German." The buzz for this one was Battlefield Earth-level toxic... shit, this could have been Tom Cruise's The Day the Clown Cried.
Shockingly, I really enjoyed this movie. It's not perfect, but it's a tightly-paced, professionally-made piece of Hollywood fare. After the relative disappointment of Superman Returns, Bryan Singer should be commended for not just surviving Valkyrie, but making a product worth seeing. He makes what I think is a solid choice in focusing on the mechanics of the plot to kill Hitler, and not delving too deeply in everyone's motivations (we all know the Nazis were evil... It's not THAT crazy to think some Germans knew it back then too).
Singer sometimes overdoes the directorial flourishes (spinning record shot? made me think of Happy Days), but some of them work very well. There is one shot where Cruise and Bill Nighy are discussing the plot in a church, and the camera pans up to show that allied bombing has torn off the roof of the church. Nicely done.
Tom Cruise is OK in the lead role. That might sound like I'm damning him with faint praise, but considering that I thought this movie would kill his career a couple of weeks ago, that aint bad. He is easily outshone by Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Kenneth Branagh, and Terrence Stamp (Zod!).
Yeah, it's at only 57% on rottentomatoes, but this one is worth a look. On the financial side, it cost $75 million to produce, and has already grossed $61 million (before opening anywhere outside North America). It should easily turn a profit eventually.
Well played, you magnificent bastards!
Seahawks side note: This is how fucking crazy and obsessive I am... there's a moment in the film when it looks like the plot will succeed and gain control of the German government. As we know, that hopefulness is short-lived.
What did that make me think about? The moment in XL, immediately after Hass hit Stevens to get inside Pittsburgh's one-yard line early in the 4th quarter. We were down 14-10, and momentum was surging our way. Now we were going to punch it in from the one-yard-line to complete an epic 99-yard drive, and cruise to victory.
Then we saw that fucking yellow flag on the field. Locklear called for one of the most ticky-tack holding penalties in NFL history, and... we know what happened next.
So yes, even when I'm watching Nazi movies, I'm thinking about the Seahawks.