Pearl Harbor

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Pearl Harbor: Misunderstood Extravaganza

May 26, 2001
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Great Action, good cast, flashy direction.

Cons:Weak script, too modern and silly.

The Bottom Line: read review


Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

First things first, I like Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer films. Always have, probably always will. In my opinion, you can get as much from the eye as you can from the ears. Pearl Harbor is that type of film. You could probably put the film on mute, and you would still enjoy it as if you had the sound. It's that pretty. I love a great screenplay, and nothing makes me happier then seeing a film with a great one, but Pearl Harbor is not that type of film. I didn't expect it to have a great screenplay, and it doesn't; all I expected was neat explosions, and that's the main thing it has going for it. Honestly though, in a cheesy soap opera way, I liked the film a lot more than I thought I would, and it wasn't just because of the special effects.

Anyone with a pulse should know what Pearl Harbor is about. Rafe McCawley (Ben Affleck) and Danny Walker (Josh Hartnett) are best friends, it also seems they are the two best pilots in the world. The film is about their romance with one woman, Evelyn Johnson (Kate Beckinsale). Right when things are about to get interesting, the attack on Pearl Harbor happens.

That's all anyone needs to know about the plot of the film, cause lets face it, a plot doesn't matter in a film called Pearl Harbor. I've heard many people say they didn't even think the romance was needed for the film, that Bay/Bruckheimer should have just made a film about Pearl Harbor. Well, I don't think that would have worked, but ok.

Like I was saying, I like Michael Bay films. Most people do not, in fact, a lot of people (critics mostly) seem to loathe him. So it doesn't surprise me that it's getting some of the worst reviews of the year. I liked the film, didn't love it, wouldn't call it a classic, but I do recommend it.

What's Good:

I'll start with the obvious: the action. It takes awhile to work up to it, but when it gets there, it doesn't stop. The attack on Pearl Harbor lasts roughly 35 minutes, and it's nothing short of amazing. Beautifully shot, wonderful color, and the best f/x in a film, well ever.

Next, the film has a good cast. Of the three leads, Josh Hartnett is the best. Affleck, is well Affleck. I wasn't too impressed with Kate Beckingsale. My favorite actor in the film was without question Alec Baldwin. It's the best role he's had since Glengarry Glenn Ross.

Other standouts in the cast include Dan Akrod. Tom Sizemore, who plays a mechanic named Earl. He has one of the best scenes in the film; he pulls out a shot gun and starts shooting at the airplanes. Jon Voight, who looks nothing like Jon Voight. He plays President Roosevelt, and looks damn near identical to him. Cuba Gooding Jr., is not too impressive.

As cheesy as the romance is, it works. I couldn't decide who I wanted to end up with the girl. The sex scene in the parachute hanger is sexy in a weird disturbing way.

What Stops The Film From Being Great

Bay can not make a serious film. He doesn't know how. He sets the mood for the film all wrong. The scene where all the pilots go and get their shots, is very similar to the scene in Armageddon where the drillers get their check ups.

I never believed for a second that this was being told in 1941. The actors act too modern. The humor is too modern. Bay can't shoot a straight drama, it's either scenes loaded with action, or comical scenes too entertain the audience until the 'wow' parts.

Overall, the film is exactly what we were promised: the ultimate summer spectacle. It's not a masterpiece, and doesn't belong in the same group of films as Tora! Tora! Tora!, Saving Private Ryan, and The Thin Red Line. Pearl Harbor goes into the same category as Armageddon and Independence Day; which depending who you are, can be a good or a bad thing.


Recommend this product? Yes


Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 9 - 12

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