Nothing Divine in Lee's Miracle

War epic tries to do too much, runs too long
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2008 1:41 PM CDT

(Newser) Miracle at St. Anna strives to be inspiring and powerful and epic, but Spike Lee's latest isn’t any of those things, critics say. “Mostly it's just unfocused, sprawling and badly in need of editing,” writes Claudia Puig of USA Today. Full of odd tonal shifts, stereotyped characters, and clichéd dialogue, Miracle is “muddled and diffuse,” writes Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly. Worse, “I had a hard time finding Spike Lee in it.”

The film is the first to focus on African-American soldiers in WWII, so it has a monumental mission, but “that's more or less the only monumental thing about it,” says Gleiberman. But Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times appreciates Lee’s effort. “Miracle at St. Anna contains richness, anger, history, sentiment, fantasy, reality, violence and life,” he writes. “Maybe too much. Better than too little.”