Valkyrie

Bomb Rating: 

Valkyrie is the most elaborate and expensive anti-smoking public-service announcement ever to be made – and it’s all thanks to the health consciousness of Der Fuhrer.

Tom Cruise in Valkyrie

Most of you have probably classified Valkyrie in your minds as a historical drama, an examination of one of the few rays of light that railed against the overwhelming evil that was Adolf Hitler and his gang of Nazi thugs.  But you would be wrong.  In actual fact, Valkyrie is the most elaborate and expensive anti-smoking public-service announcement ever to be made – and it’s all thanks to the health consciousness of Der Fuhrer. 

Few people realize that not only was Hitler a murderous psychopath bent on genocide and world domination, but he was also radically intolerant of tobacco.  He refused to be around smokers and forbid his officers to smoke in his presence or in buildings where he worked and lived.  While this might seem to be an obscure fact to immortalize forever on film, from the very moment Hitler’s private plane comes into view of the runway the camera zooms in on the cigarettes falling from the hands of each of the Nazi bigwigs falling to the ground to be stamped out on the concrete. 

This motif is repeated throughout the film:  director Bryan Singer strategically guides his camera to zoom in on the smokes that are found in almost every scene, allowing the audience’s gaze to linger on the cancer-causing phallic symbols much like a convicted pedophile would slow his car down while passing an elementary school playground. 

Cigarettes aren’t the only insignificant detail elevated to a bizarre level of importance in this sagging war film.  Upon being introduced to Hitler’s mountain bunker, the ‘Wolf’s Lair’, we are treated to a montage of mosquitoes, mosquito netting and the need to protect against these blood-sucking pests.  Who knew that the Nazis were actually fighting a war on three fronts - East, West and Insect? 

It’s not unusual for a filmmaker to dot their supposed masterpiece with a number of repeating themes or details which are meant to obscure the fact that the emperor has no clothes.  The illusion of craft is far easier to maintain than an interesting plot, and in this respect Valkyrie suffers from the fact that everyone knows that there was no actual successful conspiracy against Hitler before he ended his life by his own hand at the end of the war. 

While in some films that would not be a major stumbling block – witness Titanic, where there was no expectation of the ship to bounce off of the iceberg and into safety – in Valkyrie the entire scheme is executed with the fervent, wild-eyed energy usually associated with a high school talent show bent on saving the beloved Rec Center from closure.  This approach is entirely out of place especially with Tom Cruise’s character at the helm, directing play like a one-eyed Varsity Blues quarterback. 

In my personal opinion, what would have saved Valkyrie from the weight of its own tedium would have been an in-depth exploration of the Robocop-esque possibilities opened up by the loss of Cruise’s right hand.  While they did give him a medal for his sacrifice, wouldn’t it be more in character for the Nazis to instead graft some kind of mechanical superweapon onto his stump.  Maybe a robotic claw, or a pulse cannon, anything to spice up this bland re-telling of a story whose ending everyone already knows.  This would have opened up an awesome ending where instead of trying to take Hitler out with a bomb, the two of them could have dueled, Return of the Jedi-style, with Cruise ultimately being wracked with bolts of lightning as he writhed on the floor of the fully-operational Death S – I mean concrete bunker.  I guess George Lucas wasn’t available.

Yes, that's the sorry, confused state of mind this film left me in.  Wishing that George fucking Lucas had worked on the script.

 

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Hitler also loved his German shepherds.

Warren's picture

"He refused to be around smokers and forbid his officers to smoke in his presence or in buildings where he worked and lived."

See? He wasn't such a bad guy...

What gets me is Cruise's willingness to be in all new UA films..

TMundo's picture

...Especially in this case where they need someone that looks german to play the main character.  I can see Cruise using the ownership of UA to advance his own career, sure.  But I just can't see Cruise as a German.

What get's me is his insistence on playing human beings.

michael3b's picture

...homeslice is an alien. can't wait til the paparazzi catch one of his pseudopods dangling.

Valkyrie

Anonymous's picture

Actually, Tom Cruise bears a striking resemblance to Von Stauffenberg.

I hope Cruise had to poke out his eye to wear an eye patch

Rajah's picture

Otherwise, it would be cheating

I Agree

vaughn88's picture

I totally agree exactly with this review. I actually registered on this site to agree. Have been reading a fair number (much more than should be out there) of positive reviews and I can't understand how there are any people at all who actually liked this movie. Mr Cranky wrote exactly what was on my mind after watching this garbage.

I know there are a lot of comments out there about the accents within the movie but did it not seem absolutely ridiculous to have an old British actor say "have some fresh tea brought in will you" in a proper english accent while wearing a Nazi officers uniform. Since Cruise talks in an American accent, why don't all actors talk in the same way. Or a fake German accent like the actor who played Hitler. Anything would be better than the mixed mash of different and often times unintentionally amusing and distracting array of accents actually used. Typical of today's Hollywood experience that they just don't care about minor details which may make the movie harder to make and therefore less profitable. Not that fixing the accent problem would make the movie good. Maybe the producers realised just how terrible the movie would be and figured why bother making the accents work.

I only saw this movie because all the other movies were sold out on Boxing Day. Seems like a shame I spent $10 on a movie I knew would be bad. But it seems like an even greater shame that there are actually people who chose to see this movie and then actually liked it.

Welcome to Crankyland! And I hate to disillusion you, BUT...

Coaster's picture

The reviewer liked the movie, that's why he gave it only two bombs. Go read the scale on the Cranky Home Page. You'll see that three Bombs is the middle rating, two bombs is good, and the rare one-bomber means the reviewer thought the movie was exceptional.The Cranky reviews themselvs concentrate on elements of the movie that sucked.  In the case of Uwe Boll movies, that could be pretty much the entire film.

Enjoy your stay and post a lot.  And remember, one thing you can always post that will go over well are these words, "Damn, Coaster, that was hysterical!"

Damn, Coaster, that was hysterical...

michael3b's picture

And welcome to the fray, other guy.

As far as the accents go, I always thought it was stupid to make people try it.  Like Mamet say- don't show the guy's hand while he's playing piano, it is distracting and removes the viewer from the amnion of the film while he/she judges whether or not the thing is "accurate".  This is also precisely why Tom Cruise should never be shown in a movie ever again.

Most movies (Lawrence of Arabia, etc. notwithstanding) don't need much attention to those sorts of details at all, really.  Just enough so that you get the gist. Men wearing Nazi uniforms acting like assholes? "OK, so they're the bad guys and I hate them. Got it."   Phony looking green thing tearing up very real looking Harlem while fighting phonier looking brown thing? "There's no WAY he could strangle that thing with a chain they could both easily tear like tissue paper!" 

The real attention has to be paid to making sure the viewer never has to make more than one leap of faith (i.e. from his eyes to the screen).  This is why most CGI-heavy effects are worthless and also why Tom Cruise...wait, I already said that.

Another movie that didn't bother with accents

Rajah's picture

Papillon

Now that I think of it

FearlessFreep's picture

DANGEROUS LIAISONS didn't have that much in the way of accents.  But nobody cared.

What I absolutely hate

Rajah's picture

is when actors try to do a southern accent. It seems they always over do it. The only good one I've heard lately was Michael Caine in Second Hand Lions but then he had a good coach. I guess people from New York and New England get pissed when they hear a bad imitation of their accents.

In the original Parent Trap (1961)

Coaster's picture

In the Original Parent Trap, a 15-year-old Haley Mills, played a thirteen-year-old set of twins (And was watched in first run by a 10-year-old Coaster).  One of the twins was raised from infancy to teenhood in Boston, while the other twin was raised in California.  Both teens had a British accent.  Sorry, Ms. Mills, I know you're a highly respected actress today, but as far as that role was concerned, Linsey Lohan so kicked your butt.

Worst screen accent ever had to be in..., come on..., admit it..., you know the movie.  Okay, I'll give you a few seconds.  Hint: It was nominated for thirteen Oscars and won five.  Hint some more: One of the Oscars was for best actress.  Well, in Britain today, more than 40 years after Mary Poppins debuted, a bad Cockney accent attempt by an American is known as a "Van Dyke." 

Suspension of disbelief

FearlessFreep's picture

I remember a Halloween episode of SOUTH PARK where Stan's pet goldfish sneaked out of his bowl and went around killing people.  I could accept that.  But then they had the fish somehow bringing the bodies back to Stan's room!  That I couldn't accept.

How do you know this, Coaster?

GrumpyDave's picture

Did "Cranky" tell you so himself? Or did you just assume it like so many other things you "know"?

Not that it matters to me...

You've actually been asleep

Anonymous's picture

You've actually been asleep for decades. What you saw wasn't a movie, it was how the real world is developing after England lost the war due to the Nazi sympathizers in North America.

What if Superman as a baby had landed in Nazi Germany?

Rajah's picture

Would the nazis have won?

Unlikely.

Wulfgar's picture


Superbaby would be difficult to control and would probably be as likely to go after Nazis as Allied Forces. Assuming, of course, that Superbaby would have the same level of power as an adult Superman, which is by no means certain. The original Golden Age Superman wasn't invulnerable like the Silver Age iteration.

 

"Nothing less than a bursting shell can penetrate his skin!"

~Action Comics #1

~No, my young padawan; this one is mine.~

 

This space for rent

Coaster's picture

 

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Highly Unlikely

Coaster's picture

The Superman of comic fame was invented by a Jew.

Are you saying Superman was made up?

Rajah's picture

Who's going to save us now?

I thought...

Wulfgar's picture

...that it was two Jews...

 

Hmmm, "Two Jews and an Übermensch walk into a bar..."

 

 

 

 

 

 

~No, my young padawan; this one is mine.~

 

It WAS two Jews

FearlessFreep's picture

 One of them, Joe Shuster was a cousin of Frank Shuster, half of Canada's famous comedy duo Wayne and Shuster. (They named a street after Joe Shuster in his hometown Toronto.)

Wayne (at the start of a show):  I'll bet you five bucks we're going to have a great show!

Shuster:  Well, of course we're going to have a great show!

Wayne:  Pay up!

I wanna know what happened to their twins

Rajah's picture

Haley's and Lindsey's. Never heard about either one of them doing anything after those movies.

Hugh Grant said Renee Zellweger did a dead on british accent as Bridget Jones and she's from Texas.

Papillion was great...

TMundo's picture

...and to be honest, I didn't even realive they didn't mess with accents.  Wasn't everyone speaking american english in that one?

Das boot had some decent accent work.

hmmm

Critico's picture

isn't das boot in german?

It was a french penal colony

Rajah's picture

^^^hrrr hrrr! he said penal

Also know as a...

michael3b's picture

Coque Box.

To me it sounds more like a PRO-smoking PSA!

GrumpyDave's picture

Not that it matters to me personally. I'm boycotting Tom Cruise in perpetuity.

Sounds to me like

RidingFool's picture

Dave is just a tad grumpy today.

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