Miracle at St Anna (Widescreen Edition)

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Product Description

Studio: Buena Vista Home Video Release Date: 02/10/2009 Run time: 160 minutes Rating: R

Every major American filmmaker has a war movie inside them. After the twin triumphs of When the Levees Broke and Inside Man, his biggest box office hit, Spike Lee puts his distinctive stamp on World War II. Though Miracle at St. Anna begins and ends in 1983, most of the action takes place in 1944. The segregation of the time leads to the Army's African-American 92nd Infantry Division. In Italy, four of these Buffalo Soldiers, Sergeants Stamps (Antwone Fisher's Derek Luke) and Bishop (Barbershop's Michael Ealy), Corporal Hector (Jarhead's Laz Alonso), and sweet, superstitious Private Train (The Express's Omar Benson Miller), get separated from their unit while fighting the Germans. On the way to higher ground, Train rescues a boy from the rubble. With nine-year-old Angelo (newcomer Matteo Sciabordi) in tow, the soldiers secure shelter in a Tuscan town, where they band together with the villagers, including lovely English speaker Renata (Artemisia's Valentina Cervi), nurse the delusional boy back to health (he has an imaginary playmate named Arturo), and prepare for the next attack. Like Inside Man, Miracle marks one of the few times Lee has drafted an outsider to write the script, in this case bestselling author James McBride, who adapts from his novel. The combination of sensibilities results in a film that alternates, sometimes awkwardly, between cynicism and sentimentality. Tonal irregularities aside, Miracle at St. Anna pays overdue tribute to the 15,000 men who fought for freedom in a country that showed them greater respect than their nation of origin. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews:

  • I loved it
    With few exceptions, I've enjoyed Spike Lee's projects. "Miracle" is some of his best work to date. ...more info
  • Spike blows his tribute to the Black soldiers of WWII
    Since Spike Lee has slammed renowned director/actor Clint Eastwood for his lack of utilizing Africain Americans in his two war movies--I was curious to see how bad after reading the many reviews on this film was. The verdict? This has to rank as one of Spike's worst movies right up there with "Jungle Fever", "Girl Six", "School Daze", "Mo Better Blues", etc. You would think after he made two successful films like "The 25th Hour" or "Inside Man" but unfortunately he loaded this movie with his racial polemnics, stereotypes, irrevelant subplots--it's like he threw in the whole kitchen sink in this one!! Also the Black soldiers in this are depicted almost without exception as street types rather than the trained battle worn soldiers they truly were--what a disservice. What really surprised me was when the english speaking Italian Renata beds down with the most unsympathetic character in the movie!! Don't get me wrong there is some good acting in this film particularly from Derek Luke who has been in better movies than this like "Spartan" and "Antwone Fisher" and also the Italian actors were excellent too. In fact I found the segments with Italian partisans more involving than the subplots of the infantry--figure that out. What this film needed was a better story and director perhaps John Singleton, Carl Franklin, Bill Duke and even Mr Eastwood himself. I've heard that many of the Italian survivors of the atrocity are angry at Lee and James McBride, the writer of this story for taking liberties to the story. If you want a better film on the contributions of Africain Americans to the war effort, rent "Glory". Oh and by the way, in the early scenes of "Flags of Our Fathers", there are some Black soldiers shown as ambulance and stretcher bearers!!...more info
  • Guilt Ridden
    Truth is I can honestly say that I enjoy both Clint Eastwood's and Spike Lee's films. But there are those of you that can't tolerate the guilt that comes with the truth of Spike Lee's films. You want him to smooth over the rough spots, but he is gonna tell it like he see's fit. The truth is the 92nd was treated like s**t and Spike exposed that. He got his information from men in the 92nd. If you can't take the guilt associated with the truth then stop watching his films!

    But once again our Caucasian brethren have decided to negatively critique an excellent Spike Lee movie not understanding the culture of African Americans. And the reason why is mostly because Spike criticized Clint Eastwood for not putting enough African Americans in his last War movie. If you're open minded and just enjoy watching a good movie this is it. Don't believe the Hype!

    Sure there are always going to be those that have different opinions on movies or whatever. But as an african american, I'm not going to sit back and watch biased people pile on because of their racism's or whatever, jump onto Amazon and try to ambush a good movie.

    ...more info
  • miracle at st anna
    To me...this film portrayed brotherhood and love in the midst of brutal warfare and mankinds passion for hatred.

    Spike Lee is an artist, a creative spirit... We align with a creators' works, and their message, because we can connect ...in some manner.
    We are moved, in spite of any flaws... Escape from the populist mainstream culture, in order to see what a particular artist is trying to convey because usually there is a deeper meaning that is outside the realm of common perception.
    Peace....more info
  • Disjointed & Insulted
    (1.) ???
    (1.) Disjointed storytelling with poorly constructed flashbacks (everyone's currently popular cinematographic technique to showoff cleverness).
    (2.) Stereotypic characterizations with sophomoric scripting.
    (3.) Cheaply constructed military & war effects e.g. military uniforms that look as if they were cleanly pulled out of museum storage each day; cigarettes & munitions that last forever despite long term isolation from supply support.
    (4.) Worst of all was that the important story of black WWII infantry was turned into preachy propaganda & simplistic absolutes that do not permit the audience to be thoughtfully educated but instead to be insulted as if they were moronic simpletons. ...more info
  • Great movie
    I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and found no issues with the plot. This movie is not for the dimwitted or people who can't identify obvious characters....more info
  • this movie is not good , really not good ...
    call it a disaster , rubbish , poor , bad , its simply not good......more info
  • Truths and Propaganda...
    I was somewhat amused by Spike Lee's assertion that Clint Eastwood ignored Black American soldiers efforts in the battles of the Pacific Rim in WWII. I almost didn't look at "Flags of Our Fathers" {FOF} or "Letters from Iwo Jima" as your typical war film. It was more of a reconciling of truths that soldiers needed to come to terms with instead of a "no man left behind" type of battle compilation (like "Saving Private Ryan").

    "Miracle at St. Anna" (MSA) is closer to the scope of "FOF" than perhaps Spike wants to be. This film has scope, grandeur, a very solid cast, although some potholes in script and dialogue. I'm officially on the Laz Alonso (Corp. Hector Negron) bandwagon. His inherent sadness and disappointment as an older man (juxtaposed by his calm/self-assuredness as a young man) is palpable onscreen. He conveys a wide range of emotion with his eyes, something that many actors fail to do. Derek Luke and Michael Ealy (2nd Staff Sgt. Aubrey Stamps and Sgt. Bishop Cummings respectively) are like 2 sides of a coin-one fire and passion, the other cool and professional. Omar Benson Miller (PFC Train) is a giant chocolate teddy bear, and newcomer Matteo Sciabordi (Angelo) shows how war can absolutely paralyze you with fear.

    I chose to view the miracle of "MSA" as one lone boy-family murdered, hungry, desperate, and lost-being able to live a full life, be successful, and take back what the war took from him years ago. It's a powerful message of redemption and love.

    The score is a wonderful piece of work (with respect to other reviewers who believed that some of the music was out of place; the spiritual was-and is-an integral part of Black American history). Spike generally employs the talents of Terrence Blanchard (who scored 'When the Levees Broke' and 'Four Little Girls' as well), and he doesn't disappoint. As a note of interest, the Morehouse College Glee Club (my husband's-and Spike's-alma mater) sings during the end credits.

    I enjoyed this film in theaters and will enjoy the DVD as well (although it is lacking in additional commentary/special features). 4 stars.
    ...more info
  • Miracle at At. Anna
    Just pitiful! For a man critical of other war time movies, Spike Lee put together the most convoluted, incoherent and defaming movie of its kind. His attempt to portray the brave 92nd/Buffalo soldiers in an heroic light failed, and actually accomplished the opposite. They were portrayed as undisciplined and irreverant. They were cast in a light inferior to those around them, while the self serving portrayal of white officers as bigoted idiots was just as offensive.
    Couple this with a completely disjointed story, gratuitous violence not at all in the vein of other superior movies about WWII until the village battle, and the unnecessry sexual encounter after the all in the movie call on Christ for their protection, and you have a true piece of crap.
    Mr. Lee really needs to think long and hard before he tries to make another attempt at bringing to light the true heroism of the Black American soldier. That would be the true miracle, for he has done all a grave disservice. ...more info
  • Overdone, Overly Subtitled & Boring
    Typical Spike Lee, not sure why I even gave this a chance. Poorly written (and inaccurate at times), jumps all over the place, mostly subtitled and way too long.

    2 1/2 hours later, wasn't sure what the miracle was.

    Don't waste your time on this one....more info
  • Stonehenge in the Bronx
    Spike... Spike... Spike. After lambasting Clint Eastwood - not to say his accusations were specious - in collaboration with the screenwriter James McBride, he ends up committing comparable indiscretions and taking too long in doing so.. I had a hard time in staying in the appropriate era, as the actors voiced present era interpretations of Vietnam Era mentalities in a film about a black squadron in World War II. Black soldiers of that era were alienated from white peers however they were of similar mind regarding the cause. It was not a perception of fighting "the white man's war," it was an opportunity to advance the premise of equality by demonstration of bravery, valor and patriotism commensurate with any other soldier, with the objective of securing a non-segregated seat at America's diverse ethnic table.

    At the core, this story of four black soldiers who in part due to the bigotry and incompetence of their company commander find themselves isolated behind enemy lines and forced to fend for themselves by establishing a partnership with the Italian locals. Over the course of interaction each member of each group is required to overcome biases, both internal and external, as well as inculcated beliefs of the value of another human being.

    There is much to be commended in MASA, starting with the aspiration to bring the story of the Buffalo soldiers to a wider audience; often the cinematography of the Italian countryside is breathtaking and although I had personal reservations regarding the infusion of "trickster" role from the African American oral tradition, for many viewers the underlying story of sublimation of self-interest in the course of transition to selfless dedication and sacrifice for the benefit of another will be appealing.

    Unfortunately, far too many characters are portrayed as caricatures; the Germans are nearly all heartless executioners of a meagerly defensible people, while essentially every aspect of the African Diaspora was ineffectually and superficially infused in the roles of a mere four men. By the time the film approaches the conclusion, the cursory and skeptical occurrences of the concluding scenes are a welcomed event only because the uneven presentation has come to a close. ...more info
  • Good story, Worst possible execution
    Plainly speaking: I'm not a fan of Miracle at St. Anna. While I believe that Spike Lee's self-described "untold story of courage and brotherhood" deserves to be told - I don't think Spike Lee should have been the one to tell it. He shouldn't have been let anywhere near it. If you trust the dialogue spoken by the characters within, James McBride's source material was racially polarized before Spike got anywhere near it. Allowing Spike Lee to emboss it even further with his own brand just makes the film all the more intolerable to watch - ironic really, considering how forcefully Lee and McBride hammered the film's message of intolerance into our skulls with each and every frame.

    Spike Lee still hasn't learned that you don't win support or - as Lee was aiming for - regret by preaching at the audience. But Spike Lee doesn't preach, I'd be lying if I described his approach in such lofty terms as "preaching". Spike Lee condemns. Spike Lee damns. For the two hours and forty minutes of this filmmaking atrocity, if you aren't a black man who served in WWII Spike Lee wants you to feel horrible.

    That's a lot of people.

    Spike Lee takes the story of the U.S. Army's all-black 92nd Infantry division as they find themselves under siege from the relentless Nazi troops and the incompetence of their own white commanding officers. The story would have been fine had Lee (and McBride) insisted on the overboard abrasive racial conflict which pervades every moment of the film.

    The film's plot, as stated by both McBride and Lee in the Extra Features, was to illustrate how these black soldiers, deprived of key human rights at home, went abroad and found the citizens of a foreign country to be more accepting than their own country. On this note, I agree with Lee and McBride as to the importance of such a theme being shown on film. These men were unsung heroes performing a duty under the most incredible circumstances. When a solider can't even rely on his own artillery to provide him with support - where can he turn? In Miracle at St. Anna you turn to a group of people undergoing the same oppressive regime you've lived under for years.

    The idea behind the story resonates strongly with audiences of every age and race. The problem with St. Anna wasn't the underlying message. It was Lee's overt message which threatened to drown out all else.

    Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso, and Omar Benson Miller take the stage alongside more notable actors like John Turturro, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and John Leguizamo who all take backseat in honor of the 92nd Infantry's notable legacy. Of the former four actors mentioned you might have noticed that none of them are really household names. The more film-minded folk in the audience will certainly recognize their faces - but the fact remains that Spike Lee drove the point home even with casting. Message over substance. Derek Luke and Michael Ealy save the film from devolving into an incomprehensible mess void of any real redeeming quality. Providing steady performances and elevating a near-worthless script, Luke and Ealy offered the only beacon of hope throughout the entire film. Whereas Laz Alonso, who we see at the film's beginning and end masked as an older version of himself, gives us nothing but a laughably horrible run for our money.

    If I didn't at least value what Lee and McBride were attempting to do for these unsung heroes I'm not sure I could have made it all the way through. The opening scene is just so horribly executed (worthless makeup and acting) that I was tempted to click it off. Slight regret.

    Blu-ray Extra Features:

    "Deeds Not Words" Featurette

    Spike Lee, James McBride and a handful of veterans from WWII (all black, of course) recount their stories of discrimination and hardship during their service. The featurette is easily more interesting than the movie itself despite being only a fraction as long. Even having to endure Lee's prodding questions and McBride's zealous "Spike Lee turned my book into a movie" puppy dog eyes doesn't hurt as much when there're real people with meaningful experiences to be recounted.

    "The Buffalo Soldier Experience"

    We're treated to a documentary in History Channel form concerning the famous regiment of the army known as the Buffalo Soldiers. Yet again, the extra proves itself more valuable than the feature film it accompanies by giving meaningful testimony from living soldiers. This may be the first DVD or Blu-ray I've watched where the main feature looked worse in comparison to its supplementary materials.

    If you like Spike Lee - you already know it and if so you think his suffocating style to be anything but. In which case the film is critic proof to you and you, assuming you read this, disagreed with my negative slant on the director. For the rest, you can sleep sound without ever having watched Miracle at St. Anna there's nothing here worth noting. Sure it has a purpose that we ought respect but the purpose was outdone by Spike Lee's inability to put political outrage aside and film the feature as a solid period piece war epic. Talk about ruining a good concept....more info
  • The humanizing of History
    I have heard it many a time "The movie just doesn't do the book justice". Well this is one example of a movie catching almost every nuance of the book. My hat is off to Spike Lee for not giving a touching story a Hollywood makeover. The ending still brings tears to my eyes. One of the great tragedies of that war is the so many of the survivors took their stories to their graves....more info
  • Excellent movie. Glad I did not read the reviews before seeing it...
    If I had read all the reviews of people slamming this excellent flick then I might not have bothered watching it. I would have missed out on one hell of a movie. I want to watch this movie again; actually purchasing it after I am done with this......more info
  • Forced viewing
    I wanted to fast-forward through the unnecessary scenes, but my friend forced me to watch it. I want about 30-45 minutes of my life back!

    I really wanted to like this movie. I'm very interested in movies depicting World War II especially in the European theater. This was in Italy, so I took a gamble on it. About halfway into the movie, I figured the Italian boy was the man who dropped his espresso earlier in the movie. I even predicted the ending correctly. I honestly felt the movie could have cut out maybe 30-45 minutes (mostly the bigoted back stories). I felt most of it wasn't needed. I also felt that the nudity scenes had no place in this movie. Now this is far-fetched, but seriously folks, the language spoken by the black officers sounded like present day speak. This was just another typical movie by Spike Lee. So much promise in the beginning, but it was all downhill from there....more info
  • Surprisingly Good...but Looooooooooong
    I really enjoyed this movie the only negative thing I can point out is the length of the movie. I wish I would had known in advance that it is 2 hours 40 minutes. There are some really great actors in this movie and I believe it portrays history with a lil imagination.

    The movie starts out suspenseful and ends with a lil tear jerker. I would rate this is my top war movies.

    People who gave this bad reviews should NOT be movie critics because theywould lose their job. ...more info
  • Perhaps Spike Lee Needs More Focus...
    MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA got panned pretty severely. And I can see why. Lacking cohesion and hopscotching around like a child with A-D-D, the story is tough to follow. And what about the title? Exactly what is "the Miracle"? Some might say it's that this film ever got made. But there are some upsides to it that I think make this a semi-watchable flick.

    The first plus is that it focuses on a little known regiment of black WW II fighters called "The Buffalo Soldiers." Spike Lee had apparently been aching to do another "black story" and found his muse in Nazi occupied Italy.

    Although there's been some bashing related to overacting on the main characters' parts, I didn't find that to be the case. Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, and the rest of these band of brothers did fine in my eyes. Although Spike did have them doing things that weren't being done during this time (specifically the "high five" which wasn't realized until the late 70s), I did find their delivery of the story to be engaging enough, and kept me watching during its entire, lengthy, 2 hours and 40 minute run time.

    I also really liked the on-site filming locations in Italy, which gave the entire production a very real quality. The cobbled streets, twisted landscape, and ancient-looking buildings were all well-shown in the film and had me ogling at various times.

    But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. Although Spike Lee tries admirably to keep the story together, he too often wanders off on tangents that have nothing to do with the story. One particularly infuriating scene involves John Leguizamo (THE HAPPENING). He's in modern day Italy with his lover and his only use for being in the film is that he throws a newspaper out a window so that it lands on a man's table. Why couldn't the man have simply seen it at a newsstand? Why the whole set up with Leguizamo and the hot chick? Sex for the sake of sex, perhaps?

    The other, less infuriating, item that shows Spike wandering away was when he films the Buffalo boys being refused food service at a place back in the States before they were shipped overseas. Why this played a role in the film and what it had to do with the Miracle is anyone's guess.

    Finally, there's the tough sell of the Miracle itself. Although people can debate what qualifies as a miracle, I think most would say it equates to something supernatural that cannot be explained by normal evidence. And here lies perhaps the biggest problem for Miracle at St. Anna. There really isn't a miracle. Perhaps it's well enough that one of the Buffalo men made it home and found his way to peace. Perhaps it's that the world spun and allowed the last surviving Buffalo Soldier to avenge the people of St. Anna and his fallen brothers. Perhaps ...but not likely....more info
  • Can someone PLEASE tell me what the Miracle was?
    Unless it was the Italian woman getting naked, I have no idea what the miracle was.

    Please tell me!!!...more info
  • Not For A Short Attention Span World, But A Decent Film!!
    Now I noticed that there are a load of negative reviews on
    here about this movie, and trust me, I am definitely not
    a steady fan of Spike Lee's work, but I have to say that
    he did a pretty good (4 Star) job on directing this movie,
    which was based on true events that happened in Nazi-occupied
    Italy during WW2. There were some solid performances in this
    movie and the little Italian boy Angelo just broke my heart!
    Of course there was brutality and violence...
    that's a cruel reality of war, and since I'm not weak of will,
    stomach or mind, I just saw it as a neccessary evil
    in translating this story.
    The ending was wonderful I thought...overall, one of
    Spike better works in years!

    I think where Spike is concerned, he has rubbed so many
    people (including very powerful people!) the wrong way
    down through the years that they have built an instant
    resistance to all things SPIKE!
    That's why his films recieve little fanfare or little mention...
    the guy just has a way of alienating people and shooting
    himself in the foot with his own big whiney mouth!
    He even tried to attack Clint Eastwood for not using any blacks
    in his movie "Flags Of Iwo Jima" and Clint called him out
    and made him look like quite the fool for even suggesting
    anything so ludacris as to imply that he was racist!
    Chris Rock himself even called Spike Lee the angriest
    black millionaire in America!
    But I really enjoyed this film, in spite of Mr. Lee's
    personal antics, and would add it to my collection....more info
  • I can't shake the feeling...
    I can't shake the feeling that one of the reasons that Spike Lee did this film, besides the fact that the story focuses on a portion of the Buffalo Soldiers, was the fact that Lee (and others) was (were) so disappointed in the lack of acknowledgement of African-Americans in Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers. Those with short memories may already have forgotten, or perhaps didn't even know, that there was a tiff between Eastwood and Lee over the lack of minority (read: African-American) representation in Eastwood's much hyped film.

    Moving along past that feeling, Miracle at St. Anna focuses on a group of Buffalo Soldiers that are cut-off from their unit after crossing a river. The men wind up in a Tuscan village, behind enemy lines, trying to hold out until they can escape or be rescued. Without a working radio to contact their unit, unable to speak the language (for the most part), and not sure who to trust around them as things in the village just don't seem quite right.

    Throw in racial tension that comes from flash backs, a company commander that is an obvious redneck bigot, and others along the way just to make sure the story really uses all of the long running time to score points about racism during World War II and previously, and perhaps a lot since.

    I'd like to say Miracle at St. Anna is a good film, but unfortunately several things detracted from that rating for me along the way. Parts of the film did, as another reviewer notes, seem out of place and/or felt like they were shoe-horned in. Are scenes missing that would have helped make it all flow better and make more sense? I don't know, but it all comes through somewhat forced. Thrown on top of the scenes dealing with racism at points not directly related to the on-going story line, you get the feeling that Lee should have cut those portions while expanding other.

    On top of all of that the musical score is obnoxiously melodramatic for my tastes and distracts from the film more than enhances it. The volume levels for the score drown out action and dialogue at times and just plain makes the film seemed all the more forced.

    What could have been and should have been a more enjoyable film watching experience instead was less than I wanted and hoped for. On the plus side, the featurette about the Buffalo Soldiers is interesting, the action sequences are fairly good (with a few notable exceptions: one scene with the Chocolate Giant carrying what was obviously a doll was laughably fake, as well as a few other scenes that just don't come off as well as they should), and the main story line is actually interesting, despite it too being shoe-horned into semi-current events in a way that leaves you thinking all along about what really links those events with the events that we're watching.

    Picture quality on the Blu-ray is quite nice, but again the audio seems to distract (due to the musical score) more than it should.

    In summary: a film that should have been better, shorter, and more tightly packaged. See it, but exercise caution before buying and perhaps think rental first....more info
  • Good but Not Great
    I've liked the other Spike Lee movies that I have watched although I will admit that I have not watched many of them. However, this being a World War II movie got my attention especially since it is about an aspect of World War II that doesn't get alot of attention (even during the war), the Italian Campaign.

    I knew there were black Army units but I thought they mostly stuck to supply (the Red Ball Express). I didn't realize there were black combat units until a few years ago. Shame really because it sounds like many of them showed valor along the lines of the Japanese-American units.

    The scene that really bothers me is the scene where they try to get Ice Cream in Alabama and are refused service, unless they go to the back. Sitting in the restaurant were German POWs who were getting better treatment than the American soldiers. It was a sad reflection on the times but an indication of just how far we've come.

    I will have to admit that it started in a weird direction with the killing. I wasn't sure where that was going to take us, although I figured it had something to do with the war.

    Overall, it was a very good movie. Good acting. Great cinematography. Awesome battle scenes....more info
  • Miracle at St Anna - Blu-ray Info
    Version: U.S.A / BVHE-Touchstone / Region A
    Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
    MPEG-4 AVC BD-50 / AACS / High Profile 4.1
    Running time: 2:40:27
    Movie size: 36,53 GB
    Disc size: 47,72 GB
    Total bit rate: 30.36 Mbps
    Average video bit rate: 22.95 Mbps

    DTS-HD Master Audio English 4262 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4262 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
    Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps

    Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
    Number of chapters: 17

    #Deeds Not Words Featurette (HD - 17m:07s)
    #The Buffalo Soldier Experience Documentary (HD - 19m:53s)
    #Deleted Scenes (HD - 5m:26s)
    #Extended Scenes (HD - 15m:30s)...more info
  • It's a miracle this thing got made.
    It doesn't quite come up to the insane level of incomprehensibility of "Dragon Wars", but this is one incoherent movie. It looks pretty... the scenery is beautiful in much of the film... but the story is ridiculous on many levels. Perhaps the silliest bit is when the Nazi officer gives his Luger pistol to the protagonist near the end of the film instead of just shooting him. WTF??!!! I actually laughed out loud at that moment.

    There is probably a really good movie to be made about the "Buffalo Soldiers" in WWII. Maybe more than one. But this surely is not it. What a disappointment....more info
  • A missed opportunity
    This picture was a big dissapointment. There was a great opportunity to tell the struggles and triumphs of members of the Buffalo Soldiers in WWII. He could have told the story of a couple of soldiers as they progress through bootcamp and enter combat. But instead Spike Lee produces a ridiculous, heavy handed, grossly fictional account. The film fails on several levels:

    1) All the white officers are vicous racist. The protagonist are sterotypes. There is the obligatory over-sexed African American, the big simple guy, the quite reflective wise one, etc. The Italian peasants seem to be only interested in jumping into bed and showing off their breast. In reality, they were starving and caught in terrible cross fires.
    2) The story is absolutely predictable
    3) A group of African American soldier pull their weapons on racist civilians in town during boot camp. They would be instantly identified, court marshalled, and put in the slammer.
    4) The CO drives in a Jeep to the supposedly encircled hilltop town thick with Germans to curse out the protagonists. Shortly thereafter the Germans blitz through the town.
    5) An enlisted character assaults an officer during a combat situation. He would be restrained and quite possibly shot on the spot.

    I could go on, but you get my drift. One of the top worst war movies I have seen. It could have been great....more info
  • Wow - This is Bad!!!!
    Miracle? I suppose one could perceive that to mean: If you can make it through 60 minutes of this "film," it will be a miracle! Racial propaganda about sums it up! ...more info
  • Let The Sleeping Man Sleep.
    Spoilers in this review:

    This movie just stunk. The whole 'Sleeping Man' and 'Chocolate Giant' thing was corney and stupid. I got tired of the whole Train character in about two seconds. And the Italian woman with the glorious breasts was nice but then they have her say that she is married and then develop some kind of emotional thing with one guy then turn around and have sex with the other guy and then right before she dies she redeems her virtue by looking at the 'good guy' and saying his name as if to say, "it was you that I wanted... but the other guy was just so damned smooth that I couldn't stop myself'. This movie was ridiculous up to the very end when SPOILER ALERT 'Seat Belts' becomes a great revelation.That big stupid 100 pound bowling ball of a statue head that the big stupid idiot carries around for the entire movie was just that SToOpId. And so were other things like the newspaper fling out the window when John Leguizamo (who is in the movie for no other reason)is having his morning coffee and sex to land on just the right guys table at just the right time. This stupid junk was also seen when the mail man just happens to have just that one guy come up to his window and he just happens to have that gun.

    The only part I liked was the part of the Italian partisan 'The Butterfly' and I wish they would have done more with him.

    This movie was just plain bad. I expect much better from Spike. ...more info
  • High hopes for St. Anna
    I had wanted to like this movie so much. As much as I wanted to like Windtalkers. Both had potential to be really great but were unable to rise above an absolutely juvenile and cheesy script. I am an avid WWII buff and I give alot of license to war movies and don't pick them apart for their accuracy or lack there of but this one not only insults the viewer but the legacy of the 92nd/Buffalo.

    The Good : Absolutely beautiful cinematography. If you could mute the sound (dialogue) one might think they were watching a pretty decent WWII era movie. Battle scenes were shot well. Uniforms were pretty dead on accurate and the weapons were accurate although Thompson SMGs and 1911 .45 caliber HGs did not have 100 round clips......

    The Bad : Awful and embarrassing dialogue embellished with overacting which made it almost comical. Obligatory nudity. Soldiers using language and phrases that would be used only today. A German louspeaker that blares Axis Sally's propaganda for several square miles over the battlefield and is audible to all. Fragmented story with a total lack of cohesion (like this review). My favorite is the commanding white officer (Nokes?) stating that the Germans were going to cause a race riot by piping in the propaganda. I think that those valiant soldiers were more interested in staying alive and protecting their comrades than starting a race riot in Italy under fire. But then again this shows the mentality of Spike Lee and the writer.

    The Ugly : All white officers and soldiers portrayed as bigoted haters. In one instance the commanding officer refuses to believe members of the 92nd crossed the river so does not send supporting artillery strikes. His reasoning for this is "He is lying".
    This same commanding officer condescendingly orders a black soldier to get him water. The black soldier spits into the canteen before giving it to white officer. Not only does this lower the mentality of the movie several notches but also slanders the memory of those brave men of the 92nd/Buffalo that fought for their country.

    This movie had potential, unfortunately it was executed by someone who was unable to deliver. It is filled with contemporary language, modern topics of discussion, poor acting, and endless preaching about the evils of America. Spike Lee had scolded Clint Eastwood for not having any African Americans in Iwo Jima and had wanted him to rewrite history. Well, Spike has done that with this movie.
    ...more info
  • Spike should have paid me to watch this mess!
    If I could give this movie a "0", I would! I would have thought that Spike would have matured and grown as a director but he still sucks as a director. This movie is an utter mess. Bad writing, matched with bad acting, bad music that did not match the scenes and actions - made this move a waste of my valuable time. I felt like I was watching his movie - "She's Got To Have It" again. The actors spoke (lines and phrases) as if they were in THIS time period, not in this war time. The Germans did speak German very well but I believe the force and brutness of the delivery was not there. So many things about this movie is not accurate and just distrubed my movie watching experience. I believe this movie was directed by an amateur. Spike Lee couldn't direct himself out of the bathroom, let alone out of this movie. If you rent it for $1, you would have paid to much. Save your time and your money!...more info
  • I Want My 160 Minutes Back
    I'll not waste more of my time on this bad movie writing a review explaining in full detail the many ways this move sucks. Basically, it's slow, too long, often boring, annoying, pretentious, confusing and silly. Central characters aren't developed well, there are too many unnecessary minor roles, scenes draw out while annoying background music never stops.... and the story is just a mess. Some of the negative customer reviews do a good job pointing out issues I had. Trust me, they're mostly right. You wont believe in a miracle after witnessing this fiasco of a film. You'll just find it's a bunch of nonsense with some silly "mystical" bull thrown in with another Spike Lee 'joint' about racist America. Imagine it is not a portrayal of black soldiers in WW2--take out that part-- and then it has nothing going for it. It's a shame that when blacks finally get a film tribute for their service in the war and white America reminded of it's racism its in a poorly made movie. Pass on this Spike Lee joint....more info
  • Look past it's few flaws, and a encounter a true gem
    It really makes me sad to see all the bad reviews people have given this movie. True it has some flaws, like in the editing department, due to the fact that some scenes could have been deleted. Yet, the true magic comes from the human spirit, and the feeling that comes through while watching the film. This movie delivers true heartfelt sentiment through, the innocence lost; little angelo, a young italian boy running amok in the midst of war, trying to fing his way back home, a home lost in tragedy of war. In his search he finds and befriends a "chocolate giant", Train, one of the four characters of the story. Notice how a boy frizzled with innocence is capable of recognizing another " human being" with true human spirit and innocence. This is what the movie is about, the search for humanity lost. Seek and you shall find, great, great movie.. good work spike....more info
  • Moving story, mediocre execution
    This is a fictionalized account of the all-black 92nd Infantry Division fighting in Italy in 1944. More specifically, it is the story of 4 black soldiers separated from their unit who come into contact with a young Italian boy and a family of Italian peasants. One of the soldiers particularly takes a liking to the traumatized boy-and his imaginary friend-and sort of "adopts" the boy as his own. In turn, the boy calls his new friend his "chocolate giant." The story is very Christian and religion is a major factor in bringing together these people from two completely different worlds. The brutal racism of the era is also well depicted and there seems to be sort of an epiphany on the part of the black soldiers when they come into contact with these "white folks" who do not treat them like animals.

    I'm not a huge fan of Spike Lee, but I do think he is a talented filmmaker who has made some quality films. Thus, I was disappointed with what I would regard as a somewhat amateurish production. The story was moving and had a lot of potential, but I think Lee blew it here. The battle sequences were awkward, the dialogue was often weak and inane, and too many of the characters were exaggerated to the point of near caricatures. I think this was a very important story that needed to be told, I just wish it would have been done a little better. All in all, it is worth checking out if the subject interests you, but I wouldn't expect to be blown away. ...more info
  • In spite of my bias
    towards Spike Lee, never having had a great fondness for his work, I was amazed by this movie. For me, it changed my views of his work, and opened up a chapter to my understanding of the "Black experience".

    Initially, when the movie came out, I bought the book to read prior to seeing the movie, a good read, though at times a bit confusing. I wondered if it would translate well to the movie screen, but it does. It left me wondering to the very end. If I have a criticism, it would be the very end, but for the finale 2 minutes, I will forgive him, because the whole event prior to the end is a worthy watch.

    Miracle at St Anna depicts the cruelty of war, and is its main focus, especially as to the Black experience. But the cruelty of war I feel is paramount. Not for the sqeamish, especially for its blatant and honest portrayal of overt racial hatred, more than the blood and guts.

    If a sign of a good work it to make you uncomfortable and to think and re-assess yourself, this works....more info
    I know what the miracle is!!!!

    Its the fact that I got half way through before returning this masterpiece of garbage back to Blockbuster. There isnt anything I can say different that all the other reviewers who were forced to give this 1 star because we couldnt go any lower.

    Terrible. Me and me give this pile of poop 2 thumbs way down....more info
  • Spike, next time you want to criticize Clint, shut up!
    This isn't a bad movie, but it's not a great one either and maybe not even a good one. It certainly is not in the same class as Clint Eastwood's two Iwo Jima masterpieces, especially "Letters." Clint had one other advantage: He was making historical films. Spike used a novel only loosely based on the St. Anna de Stazzema atrocity.

    This film seems pasted together. Train's relationship with the boy was the film's most successful aspect, but the supernatural aspect with the boy's brother didn't work and seemed out of place. The statue head came off as a gimmick that gave me no reason to empathize with Negron when he saw it at film's end. I couldn't help but think that the black actors were too-old boys from the hood and not from 1944. There was no lead-in to why Renata hopped into the sack with the obnoxious Cummings. A quibble: I question whether "let's book" was a WWII-era expression, but maybe it was. Several of the white characters came off as stereotypes, and the film's finest actor, John Tuturro, got a pathetic few lines. Watch it, but don't get your hopes up. I'll give it 2 1/2 stars....more info
  • Buy this movie. Be a hater.
    Because if you buy this and watch it, you'll hate the movie, you'll hate Spike Lee, you'll hate the actors and everyone associated with the making of this piece of crap, you'll hate 1944, you'll really hate 1983, you'll hate Americans, Germans and Italians, you'll hate the post office, you'll hate "the sleeping man" and, most especially, you'll hate the 2-1/2 hours of your life that you wasted and will never get back.

    Don't say you weren't warned....more info
  • The best movie I have seen in years!
    This will be very short: It is a great World War II movie (it is very violent) with great moviemaking and storytelling on all levels. One of the best movies I have seen in years. I truly do not understand the bad reviews.

    If it wasn't for an unfortunately silly and unbelievable last scene (maybe 2 minutes), this would be a perfect movie, albeit very violent.

    You don't have to be white or black to like this movie. It is just a great film....more info
  • miracle at st. anna
  • Well On Its Way To The 99 Cent Bargain Bin
    This was a horrible movie. I believe Spike threw this together in attempt to prove a point after blasting Clint Eastwood on Flags of our Fathers.

    Spike did the Buffalo soldiers no justice since this movie was more of an agenda of proving all whites are bad and cause wars. How about people in general cause wars, Spike?

    In my opinion, "The Tuskegee Airmen" movie, starring Laurence Fishburne, is a much better movie about real people who did real things.

    Yep, this movie is well on its way to the 99 cent bargain bin, but even then I wouldn't waste my money on it!...more info
  • A very DEEP Movie!
    In order to understand this movie you must be well versed in understanding how past behaviors and experiences shaped beliefs. You must understand how every action causes a reaction. If you focus only on the comments made by characters in the movie you miss the real meaning! This was truly a good movie. ...more info
  • Whats up with the ending on this? Should I rejoice or be ashamed?
    "Lost in the sauce" is what it should be called. And what exactly is the miracle? Is he mocking religious convictions and dogma or rather showing it as the glue that keeps men from going totally mad? I have too many questions left from this movie and usually that guides you to reading the novel, but not in this case, the movie just made me angry with its Deus ex machina ending.

    The movie script was way to convoluted to want to write a plot synopsis. In fact this movie should have been trimmed down by 20-40 minutes to make it as lean as possible. Sad thing is I didn't really feel any way towards the characters in this movie (except the big bid dumb country private) even with the important piece of history it represents and my own personnel connection to the history. Also, the 2 sergeants in the movie, their tension with each other wasn't there. I didn't see their gripe as legitimate, rather something forced because it's a movie and it has to be on. Spike Lee is a very good director and even a pretty good writer but he missed on this one. why 3 stars then? Because the ensemble cast performed great.
    ...more info
  • Not perfect, but moving slice of history-based fiction
    After hearing all the negative reviews about Spike Lee's World War II movie, I avoided seeing it at the theater. After watching it on DVD, I regretted that decision.
    While "Miracle at St. Anna" isn't perfect, it's entertaining and moving, with some powerful scenes sure to hit the emotions.
    Many critics have labeled it a mess, but I don't quite see the mess they're speaking of.
    It seems they're not used to Spike Lee's method of filmmaking. His "joints" can seem disjointed. But I personally thought he toned down some of his more eccentric idiosyncrasies.
    I've also read that many people are wondering what exactly is the "miracle." What I like about this movie is that it doesn't highlight what the miracle is. It leaves it up to us, the viewer -- something that most big movies don't do, as they'd rather spoonfeed us, hold our hands and explain EVERYTHING, so we don't have to think or make our own decisions.
    I also have another response to those critics who say Spike Lee presented the main white character as a stereotypical, one-dimensional racist. That may be so, but in doing so, he's presenting a litmus test for those same individuals who are quick to point out "racism" directed toward white characters, but have yet to criticize ongoing racism toward minorities, in both film and real life.
    This movie was better than I thought it would be. It's nowhere near the train wreck that critics and others tried to make it out to be. I believe their criticism of this movie was more directed at Spike Lee, than the movie itself.
    Spike Lee kept the sentimentality to a minimum (something that Spielberg couldn't help himself to do with in his otherwise great movie Saving Private Ryan, nor could Eastwood achieve in his similarly good movie Letters From Iwo Jima).
    And it was a surprise to find out which character would survive at the end. That's something that most filmmakers give away long before the film's conclusion.
    Viewers should put aside their dislike of Spike Lee, and not go with the majority of self-absorbed critics, and see how Miracle at St. Anna, despite its flaws, is still a rich movie. ...more info
  • I thought it was good, I don't know what ya'll talkin' about...
    I thought the movie was a very good movie. I definitely saw Spike Lee's style in the movie. The movie can be confusing but you just need to stop asking questions and have patience and rushing it along. Everything comes together in the end. Give a try before ya buy the movie though....more info
  • This DVD would be best used as a coaster for your coffeetable
    This movie was absolutely painful to watch. The case says it's the "Best war movie since Saving Private Ryan". If this is true, Hollywood should be closed. Forever.

    The acting was high school drama production-level. The battle scenes were, at best, unconvincing. (Who could possibly carry a marble head on his hip through the heat of battle?)

    On my deathbed, I hope I'm granted an extra two hours of life to make-up for the time I wasted with this tripe....more info
  • views on story telling
    Mr. Lee has done it again - created a well-crafted, well-told story that makes history human and exciting....more info
  • Horrible
    This is one of the most horrible movies I have ever seen. The story is possibly interesting, but is told in such a convoluted, repetitive, dull way. The action scenes start suddenly, and then there are long lapses of dead time. The italian boy in so annoying. It seems like just because he is speaking another language, he is supposed to be interesting.

    The tall big 'chocolate' soldier begins telling stories to the boy, which is fine, but he talks to him like he is a child, and we have to sit there listening. Its like the audience is a child. Very frustrating.

    The boy was in another horrible movie: Leolo. Avoid that too, he is just annoying because of his twitchy mannerisms....more info
  • Save Yourself the Trouble
    The tag line above states, "Every major American filmmaker has a war movie inside them. After the twin triumphs of When the Levees Broke and Inside Man, his biggest box office hit, Spike Lee puts his distinctive stamp on World War II."

    Well, Spike Lee put a "distinctive" stamp on World War II alright, with poor acting and a terrible script. This has got to be one of the worst movies ever made and the saddest part in this is that the expectations were so high. I'm not sure what the studios were thinking with this film, but obviously Spike Lee has earned enough clout to get away with garbage like this. When a Buffalo Soldier is quoted as saying, "Yo baby, I'll keep you warm tonight!" while making overt sexual gestures, you've got to question Mr. Lee's take on history. If you want to see a good war movie, get something a bit older or, if you are looking for something new, Valkyrie didn't do a half-bad job. As for Miracle at St. Anna, it's a miracle this movie was made at all. If this is a "must-have", then at least wait until it arrives on the discount bins for it's definately painful to watch this knowing you've dropped a $20 on it....more info
  • A gawdawful mess, compounded with racist stereotypes
    The bloated, convoluted WWII flick makes no sense whatsoever. Nothing that is happening ever makes sense militarily or tactically, and the plot is silly nonsense.

    For none of the above reasons, however, would I bother to review this dreck. What greatly troubles me is how Spike Lee, a black man, depicts the black soldiers in this movie: cowardly, undisciplined, mutinous, hypersexual, superstitious, ignorant, contentious, sloppy, etc. What gives? If a white man had made this movie and drawn the black characters this way, he would be widely derided as a racist, and rightly so. Why in the world would Spike Lee perpetuate these sorts of racist stereoptypes about soldiers of his own race???

    This garbage deserves swift oblivion, and Spike Lee needs to do some serious soul-searching....more info
  • Too Much of Nothing
    I like Spike lee movies, but not this! It seems he was going in over his head on this one. I understand he wants to evolve his filmaking skills but this subject matter just doesn't suit him. I got the impression he was overthinking the whole project and tryint too hard. It was like he wanted to finally make his grand sweeping epic. This was like Spike lee trying to do The English Patient or Titanic. After 2 hours of trying to absorb this film, I became exhausted with all the tired, drawn out meaningless dialogue and the cast of thousands! there were just WAY TOO MANY characters and subplots and too many points trying to be made. And the languages! There were like 4 different dialects, italian, german, puerto rican, jamaican, aagh! I also didn't like that 2/3 of the movie seem to be subtitles. I don't mind if a whole movie is in subtitles, or just a few scenes here and there. but this movie had every other scene in subtitles, it's like make up your mind! And if one more character said "boom boom", I was going to boom boom on the dvd. The scenes with the child and the buffalo solider were borderline disturbing calling him a "chocolate giant", and the other soldiers constantly offering "chocolate" to everyone, chocolate, chocolate! It almost seemed like there was something else goin' on. I think this film would have been fantastic if it shed alot of the characters and dialogue and just focused on one subject. LESS IS MORE. I did like the scene where the nazi woman broadcaster was talkin' sh** while the soldiers were crossing the river, that was classic Spike Lee. The rest of the film had no focus and was ill-conceived. BOOM BOOM! ...more info
  • This requires multiple viewings and a knowledge of history
    In our present state of entertainment it is easy to right off a multi-layered piece, but those of us who require our films not only to entertain but to have soul, dirt from the artist hands, an individual stamp, a personal point of view, then this is one for the collection. If you can respect well done works of art, and aren't a lazy zombie critic who never creates anything themselves and likes their reality force fed to them, then this is something for you to sink your mind into.

    As I said before, this film requires multiple viewings, each shot and scene is a piece of the puzzle, so if you expect to "get it" you should pay attention. ...more info