"Crappy Feet", and Sodenberg does Fritz Lang
I'm sure it's fine for kids and is otherwise entertaining. But I was totally "meh" about it. I didn't read up on any of the aspects of how it was produced, but when I saw the credits roll with all the motion capture details therein, I was like "yeah, figures.
I guess I have a bit of an anti-mo-cap bias. I'm all for shortcuts as a means to an end, but frankly, the whole exercise was a lifeless, overwrought ball of "ooh-this-will-be-cool", with precious little attention paid to making "life" out of a bunch of pixels. Pixar can do it.
*[EDIT: Factual errors corrected in the comments]
Well, it had a few minor moments and all, but from the very first lame musical "mashup", I could tell that a committee was in charge and that any little glimmer of "soul" was going to be a total accident. It's true that technically, there's some extremely impressive modelling and motion and effects. But like I've said many times before, I would have been impressed 10 years ago. Nowadays, not so much. Money != storytelling.
Back to the total opposite of mo-capped computer-generated mediocraty, Stephen Sodenberg goes and proves that he's an even bigger technique whore than I am, and I'm loving every minute of it. "The Good German" is like a post-modern post-war pre-noir 1940's thriller kind of experience, where he gets his chance to put George Clooney in a sharp uniform and subject him to even sharper key lighting in a classic 4:3 high-contrast B&W homage to Fritz Lang and Casablanca and a myriad of old-skool 40's Hollywood post-war classics. The sets were soundstage or local, the lighting and lensing and recording was straight out of the era, and the cinematic tropes were classic and familiar.
Yet, they were twisted just enough to give it a modern edge. The message and the moral were classic, but totally antithises to the blissfull propagandizing of the time. The grim details and little touches of post-surrender bombed-out Berlin during the Potsdam conference spoke volumes to the fact that the end of that colossal conflict was quite a mess indeed. The sorts of things that were romanticized back in the day were turned upside-down a little; yet the core of the story was still classically romanticized in and of itself, but with a dark noir-ish sensibility.
Again, it comes down to the old-skool technique, and Sodenberg lovingly makes that one of the stars of his film, almost overshadowing Clooney, but totally glorifying Cate Blanchett's post-modern Marlene Dietrich resurrection along the way. It's a grand bit of geek-out that challenges you to name every single historical title being quoted (I'm not up to that task myself), and it's a heck of a bit of entertainment while it's doing it.