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Pearl Harbor [DVD]
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Jerry Bruckheimer's sprawling tale of love blossoming amidst the chaos of war. Rafe McCawley (Ben Affleck) is a gung-ho US pilot whose determination to fly against the enemy leads him to Europe and active service in the Battle of Britain. His girlfriend Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale) is left waiting at the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii, and before long tragedy strikes, with the news reaching Evelyn that Rafe has flown off to the great aircraft hanger in the sky. Heartbroken, she is comforted by Rafe's best friend Danny (Josh Hartnett), and romance soon blooms between them. Meanwhile, the Japanese are preparing their forces for the attack which will trigger the US entry into World War Two.
A big summer blockbuster, Pearl Harbor is pitched as a romantic epic, but the story is essentially a frame for an impressive depiction of the Japanese attack on that "day of infamy", deploying all the modelwork, CGI, stunts and special effects necessary to trump previous screen re-enactments in Tora! Tora! Tora! and From Here to Eternity. At heart, it's another Top Gun-style exercise in heroically sublimated homosexuality as Rafe (Ben Affleck) and Dan (Josh Hartnett), lifelong buddies, fall out over a ridiculous contrivance that allows both decently to fallin love with a nurse (Kate Beckinsale) but forget all their differences when the fighting starts--as expected, their big climax comes in each other's arms, with Kate left behind as one wounded buddy extracts a promise from the other to look after his unborn child.
Historical snippets are interleaved, with Mako and Jon Voigt stiff under the prosthetics asAdmiral Yamamoto and Franklin Roosevelt, and a lot of detail is given about things like the wooden rudders on the new Japanese torpedoes, the chaos in the understaffed hospital as the heroine is forced to make lipstick triage marks on wounded men's foreheads and the terrible effects of strafing. A surprisingly bright little performance from Dan Aykroyd (a sole reminder of 1941) as an intelligence analyst is balanced by an insufferably smug one from Cuba Gooding Jr as a token black supporting hero. It's the first film of the George W Bush era: aggressive and dumb as a rock, utterly uninterested in period--no one in this WWII-era army smokes, swears or uses racial abuse (Gooding's boxing opponent sneers at him because he's a cook)--and awkwardly straddles a dignified treatment of the Japanese and America's actual spasm of hatred after the attack (one soldier refuses to be treated by a Japanese doctor, but that's it). When Pearl Harbour is bombed, we see endangered dogs, drowning men and dead women, but when Tokyo gets blasted in payback only buildings are destroyed and in long-shot. Michael Bay (Armageddon) remains a jittery director, a great second-unit man who can't deal with people or stories. It borrows from Titanic and Saving Private Ryan, but tidies the war of the latter up so it can still haul in a broad audience and therefore misses the real tragic sense of the former.--Kim Newman
On the DVD: Considering there are two discs in the special edition of this special effects homage, the second DVD is woefully short of extras. There is a 45-minute featurette on the highs and lows of bringing Michael Bay's magnum opus to the screen which, along with the usual interviews with cast and crew, features the more compelling eyewitness testimony bringing the events of December 7, 1941 to life. The irony of the second disc focussing on the research and quest for historical accuracy is a little difficult to swallow, considering that the film is little more than a paper thin, overly romanticised muddle of history and fantasy, but for those wanting to experience the real events on that fateful day rather than the Hollywood version, this is an excellent antidote. The movie has been THX digitally mastered for superior sound and picture quality improving those big-bang special effects and is presented in anamorphic widescreen with 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Unlike the Region 1 release, there's no DTS track but the 5.1 Dolby Digital sound is more than up to the challenge of the effects laden assault, with different elements of the Japanese attack rumbling between the speakers and making you feel you're in the thick of things. -- Kristen Bowditch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This 2001 American war and romance was a massive success at the box office but was panned by the critics and its easy to see why. Opening to a highly romanticised view of a crop dusting bi-plane flying against a shimmering setting sun, it sets the romantic feel to the first part of the film. Two boys are at play, they both love aeroplanes and skip forward to 1940 they join up as flyboys. What follows is an emotional love story set against the backdrop of Pearl Harbour that plays like ‘The Battle of Britain’ meets ‘Titanic’ bumps into ‘Top Gun’ and stumbles over ‘Private Ryan’.
For general entertainment this certainly merits a ***** rating. There are beautiful looking people by the boat load, romance that puts Titanic to shame and action sequences that still overawe . The dropping bomb scene has become an icon and is now a much loved presentation technique for news broadcasts in the ‘real world’ and the film is always fast paced and maintains the interest throughout it’s almost 2 hour run time. There are also some good lines thrown in that give humour.
So why the criticism; The love angle has a number of twists and turns –as does the basic war backdrop, but much is very obvious and lacks real thought. Historical accuracy has been smudged to provide entertainment value but to the general viewer these are easily overlooked or not obvious. What does jar in quite a few places is that ‘gung ho’ attitude and phraseology that’s thrown into the script which also puts people in positions and places they would be extremely unlikely to be in, but that’s what separates entertainment from reality.Read more ›
When grown up they achieve their ambition to be pilots, there is a war raging in Europe, America
remains on the sidelines.
'Rafe' (Ben Affleck) is offered the opertunity to join a British squadron to help with the battle of the
skies against the German War Machine, it's what he'd always dreamt of doing, he persuades his
friend not to volunteer, and to watch over 'Evelyn' (Kate Beckinsale) a nurse he'd fallen deeply in
love with, a reason to want to survive and come home.
Meanwhile Japan are plotting a raid on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
'Danny' (Josh Hartnett) has been posted to Hawaii, where the American Pacific fleet is based.
The Americans underestimating the threat from afar have supplied war-ships from the fleet to Europe,
however a substantial fleet remains in Pearl Harbour.
'Rafe' fighting with the RAF is certainly playing his part in the defence of Britain, until during a fire-
fight his plane is hit, unable to eject he plunges into the sea.
His friend Danny is left with the task of telling Evelyn that Rafe had been lost in action.
The Japanese attack training and plans near a state of readiness.
Meanwhile in Hawaii 'Evelyn' and 'Danny' becomes ever closer.
U.S Intelligence a little suspicious of Japan's intentions have been unable to track the Japanese Carrier
Fleets, so have no idea where they are or indeed where they are heading.
Peace talks between America and Japan are in progress, a Japanese smoke-screen.
In Hawaii the love-triangle becomes a whole lot more complicated when presumed dead Rafe turns up
very much alive.Read more ›
I wouldn't pretend to be a WWII scholar, but I've learned enough from general interest in the subject to see that it's absolutely riddled with inaccuracies ( for example, some of the 'Battle of Britain' detail is laughably bad). I suppose this could just about be forgiven on the basis that it's a Hollywood blockbuster, and as such its primary function is to entertain its domestic (American) audience rather than educate it in some of the historical niceties.
What therefore sinks the film like the Titanic is not its cavalier attitude towards the reality of events so much as its sheer, dead weight and plodding ineptitude as a piece of story-telling. If trite, overlong, cliche-ridden films are your scene, you'll love spending twelve hours of your life watching this (well not really twelve hours, it will just seem like it). If not, avoid this junk like the plague.
As I said previously, I am not entirely sure about how accurate this movie was in portraying the historical events of Pearl Harbour but judging from many other reviews, I'm guessing the producers didn't do the best job at the keeping the film accurate. But yet again, in their defence, if you want accuracy then you should go hit some documentaries.
But I must say this: Affleck and Hartnett's portrayal of the relationship between two best friends was spot on. There wasn't a time when I felt as though their friendship was forced. What was also touching was Affleck's tendency to want to protect his best friend. We see this in the beginning of the film when as children he displays this characteristic by slamming his best friend's dad on the head with a plank. However, tables turn when Hartnett's character literally takes bullets for his best friend.
I will admit that I did cry a little (okay, a lot) at the end of the movie because it dawned on me how unfair life can be. I found myself frustrated at how everyone's plans did not work out the way they wanted. But that's just me. I tend to think a little too deeply at times. The movie is good. Apparently not historically accurate, but good.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
loved this film cant believe I hadn't watched it earlier.Published 17 days ago by charles wardhaugh
BOUGHT FOR MY NEICE WHOSE A BEN AFFLECK FAN. SHE THOROUGHLY ENJOYED IT.Published 21 days ago by Ms. Sally C. Mitchell
The people who gave this dross 5 stars and call this entertainment need their heads tested. How unbelievably ignorant to history can you be. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tesla
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