George Clooney and Matt Damon want to get into the war in the first trailer and images for THE MONUMENTS MEN

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When I was watching Ocean’s Eleven I always thought “Man, wouldn’t it be cool if instead of Las Vegas, this was set in WWII Europe and Danny Ocean was actually a military man who rounds up his Hollywood A-List friends, not to steal Andy Garcia’s money but take back Hitler’s stolen art cache?” Then again I’m weird like that.

And also, it would seem, precognitive, as Clooney – who triple-times it as actor, writer and director – has assembled the astoundingly good cast of Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Jean DuJardin and Bill f—ing Murray among others, to go behind enemy lines, all in the name of art.

Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men is an action-thriller focusing on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners.  It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys – seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1 – possibly hope to succeed?  But as the Monuments Men, as they were called, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements.

That looks rather superb, and possibly just the same blend of drama, tension and comedy that Ben Affleck’s Argo – which Clooney produced with frequent producing and writing partner Grant Heslov – pulled off so superbly last year. Clooney told USA Today that he and Heslov “were looking to do a film that was less cynical than a lot of the films we do.”

“[Hitler] perpetrated the biggest art heist in the history of the world. And almost got away with it. It’s been a long time (since) you could find a new story about World War II.”

Heslov revealed that he and Clooney’s past endeavours, like the aforementioned Argo and Good Night, Good Luck, is actually what led them to getting the film’s A-list ensemble cast, most of whom are actually their personal friends.

“When we write movies now, we usually have specific friends in mind. It’s nice to be able to call them and say, ‘Hey, we have a new movie. Want to come spend a few months with us?’ Usually, it works out.”

The Monuments Men will be heading to the frontlines of cinemas on December 18, 2013, so to help you pass the time until then, here are six new images from the film.

Last Updated: August 12, 2013

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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