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As featured on Eric Ward's URLwire
  Movie Review                    
Pearl Harbor   (2-1/2 of 4)
By Doug Crooks, Independent Movie Critic

Pearl Harbor Moviebook
Starring: Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and British actress Kate Beckinsale.

Produced by: Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay & Touchstone Pictures.
Directed by:
Michael Bay.
Written by: Randall Wallace.
Running time: 175 minutes (2 hours, 55 min.)
Rated: PG-13 (for brief strong language).
Website: PearlHarborFilm.com

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? It's coming.

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 you that).

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.

- Doug 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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