The Disney publicity guys, a strange and guarded bunch, had an all-media screening last week for Spike Lee‘s Miracle at St. Anna. Naturally they didn’t invite me. I missed it on purpose in Toronto (I was told that the 166-minute length was unjustified), and naturally assumed I’d catch up with it back here. Nope!

Disney always hedges its bets when they’ve got a problem movie of any kind, which Miracle clearly is. But it was also a struggle to persuade them to let me see WALL*E, and that was a near-masterpiece.
Honestly? It’s getting harder and harder to ignore the similarities between Disney publicity and the Church of Scientology
“Spike Lee loses the battles and the war in Miracle at St. Anna, a clunky, poorly constructed drama designed to spotlight the little-remarked role of black American soldiers in World War II,” wrote Variety‘s Todd McCarthy. “Clocking in at 160 minutes, this is a sloppy stew in which the ingredients of battle action, murder mystery, little-kid sentiment and history lesson don’t mix well.
“Nor is it remotely clear who the audience is meant to be; the R rating pretty much rules out younger students, and extensive subtitles will deter action fans, who would be bored anyway. Best B.O. will likely be in Italy, where most of the melodrama takes place.”
As soon as I saw that made-up-to-look-older black guy shoot that made-up-to-look-older white guy in the trailer, I said to myself, “That’s it…the movie is trouble.” I didn’t know a damn thing about it, but I knew. Trailers and ads do more to kill interest in movies than bad reviews. If there’s something wrong with a movie, the trailers will almost always tell you this.