New To Blu: Stalingrad

This last week saw the divisive release of Stalingrad on 3D blu-ray.

"Shouldn't have had that Taco Bell...."
Good war movies are hard to come by lately. And unfortunately for film fans, Stalingrad is another step in the wrong direction. The film is beautiful to look at and features some stunning 3D visuals, but it's a poorly acted feature that decidedly puts style before substance while bending the facts to provide a sometimes entertaining piece of fictionalized history.

 If you think Stalingrad is going to teach you any truth about the bloody real life battle, you've got another thing coming. This latest film about warring Germans and Russians puts melodrama at the forefront with little attention paid to keeping focus on the true brutality of life during wartime. 

Stalingrad looked great from the previews. It seemed that the director had found a way to mix in heavy stylized cinematography with classic WWII imagery. As the film succeeds in its exceedingly excellent looking 3D graphics, it is ultimately hampered by not enough action, corny musings on love, and a cast that can't dig themselves out from under the rubble of a confused movie. Stalingrad moves at a snail's pace with only a few big action set pieces with smaller bits mixed in for good measure. 

"Before we die.....let us make love."
If the script hadn't taken such liberties with the real story of Stalingrad and had given audiences a more straightforward war movie, this could have been a grand excursion in to the depths of war torn hell in three dimensions of terrifying realism. Instead, we get a long winded five way love story and die hard soldiers that are too busy paying attention to a cutesy teenage girl instead of marching on against the nasty Germans. And we get cliche ridden Nazi soldiers that can't decide if they're fighting Russians or themselves. 

As a WWII movie, Stalingrad mostly fails. It's not anywhere near the actual story of the historic battle and it takes too long to develop any connection between its audience and the core characters. However, the visuals and sound design are something to behold. The big sequences look phenomenal and the attention to destructive detail is top tier. But, the story is way too average while most of the actors struggle to compete against a terrible script and some of the best looking visuals I've seen in ages.

If you can accept this as a gorgeous piece of eye candy, you may enjoy yourself. Just don't look for any deeper meaning from this hackneyed story.