By Doug Crooks, Independent
Starring: Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and British actress
Produced by: Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay &
Directed by: Michael Bay.
Written by: Randall Wallace.
Running time: 175 minutes (2 hours, 55 min.)
Rated: PG-13 (for brief strong language).
OK. First thing's first. 'Pearl Harbor' is no 'Saving Private
Ryan.' It is no 'Titanic.' It is no epic.
Now that that's out of our system, let's talk about what
'Pearl Harbor' is. It's the story of two best friends Danny
and Rafe, both army fighter pilots played by Ben Affleck and
Josh Hartnett. Rafe falls in love with Navy Nurse Evelyn,
played by Kate Beckinsale, before volunteering to fight the
Nazis with the British Royal Air Force. After he is reported
missing and presumed dead, Danny breaks the news to her and
they quickly fall for each other.
Still with me? Wondering where Pearl Harbor fits into this?
Soon Rafe is back in the picture, explaining that he was shot
down and recovered in German-occupied France, unable to communicate
with anyone. He finds out that Evelyn and Danny are together,
and he gets upset with his boyhood friend.
But all that is forgotten when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor
(I'm assuming I'm not spoiling the end of the movie by telling
The action in this film is amazing. I would say that director
Michael Bay has raised the bar for FX (special effects) and
computer-generated graphics with 'Pearl Harbor.' It's
nice for a young 'whipper snapper' like me to see an interpretation
of America's worst attack since the Civil War. The imagery
really hit home for me, living in San Diego, California, what
it would possibly be like to live in a town being bombarded
by enemy fire.
The attack on Pearl Harbor and the counter-attack that
follows are great battle scenes. Unfortunately, the pre-fight
love saga leaves little to be desired. I thought that the
movie could've been great (instead of just pretty good) had
the filmmakers trimmed about thirty minutes off of this three
hour flick. I could've done without the opening and closing
scenes, since they're both irrelevant and mood-breaking, (the
end scene especially), and Cuba Gooding Jr.'s role had absolutely
nothing to do with the story. This film is centered on two
friends, and their love for the same woman and country.
Another thing that bothered me was the Japanese caricature
that was painted. Roger Ebert said it best when he commented
that their dialogue seemed like "historical hindsight."
Although the producers tried to show how brilliant the Japanese
attack was and how well-thought out, they just didn't get
their point across well enough.
Bascially, 'Pearl Harbor' is a pretty-good movie that could've
been great. I'd still recommend it, and I'm sure a lot of
people will enjoy it.
Crooks, Movie Critic
Just so you know how I rate my movies:
||Rush out and see this movie immediately
||See this movie soon, but on your own time
||See this movie at a matinee or with a free pass, save
a couple of bucks
||Video store or cable TV special
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