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Munich (2-Disc Collector's Edition) - drama DVD review
Munich (2-Disc Collector's Edition) rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Ciarán Hinds, Mathieu Kassovitz, Hanns Zischler
Director: Steven Spielberg   Studio: Universal Studios
DVD release: 09 May 2006   Runtime: 164 minutes (2 discs)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dubbed, Limited Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Subtitles (English, Spanish, French), Audio tracks (English, Dolby Digital 5.1; English, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo; French, Dolby Digital 5.1), Introduction by Steven Spielberg, Featurettes - The Mission, The Team; Memories of the Event; Portrait of an Era; The On-Set Experience; The International Cast; Editing, Sound and Music

Coming off the mediocre success - by summer blockbuster standards - of War of the Worlds, Steven Spielberg follows up with the long, slow-moving thriller Munich - much like he did in the previous decade, when he followed the highly successful Jurassic Park with the more serious Schindler's List.

This time around, both movies are less stellar when compared to the previous ones. While War of the Worlds was dampened at the box office due to Tom Cruise's antics on Oprah Winfrey's show and his tirade with Matt Lauer on the Today Show, Munich had no such hurdles to overcome and garnered critical acclaim and moderate box office success domestically, fairing much better internationally with a total box office take of over 127 million dollars.

The thematic impetus of the movie is the covert operation to kill the Palestinian planners behind the "Black September" massacre at the 1972 Olympic games in Munich, Germany, in which eleven Israeli athletes were murdered. Eric Bana portrays father-to-be Avner (his wife is seven months pregnant), the field commander of the assassination squad that will lead the retaliation. It is never explained why he would accept such an assignment, which is offered to him with only one day to think it over and under less than crystal-clear circumstances.

Though Spielberg combines real footage with some bloody, violent montages to set the backdrop of the movie, it still comes off as murky and too broad, even confusing and convenient, much like Syriana. With a somewhat effective musical score to signal drama and Spielberg's gifted cinematic skills, the movie prances around the world as Avner and the rest of his ambiguous troop collect information from paid informants and pull off assassinations. But it's only when the body count mounts towards the end that Avner begins to have doubts over the ethics of what they have done, suffering paranoia and sleepless nights wondering if the CIA, PLO, or KGB will attack his family.

Those with no political affiliation watching purely as entertainment will be able to see this movie with open eyes; possibly enjoying a laborious political thriller. Others who have emotional attachments or had witnessed the triggering event as it unfolded on TV in 1972 might have their opinions blurred debating the ethical arguments. Though wonderfully crafted by Spielberg, the movie as a whole is too long, its message cluttered: in the compromise of values for peace, with the costs and benefits being questioned, did the risk out weigh the gain?

More will be made about the hot button political issues, the link to current events, Spielberg's neutral portrayal of both sides, and certain death scenes than about the film's actual entertainment value. The special edition two-disc set comes loaded with extras: an introduction by Steven Spielberg, the on-set experience, French, Spanish, and English subtitles, exploration of the actual events, and talks with those who wrote the score, designed the set, and edited the film. Controversial as it may be, the two-disc special edition of Munich is a worthy purchase for fans to add to their Steven Spielberg movie collection.
reviewed by Bobby Blades
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