‘I joined the army to do my patriotic duty….and ...to meet guys’ Nurse Martha.
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.
The first disc holds the film and enters straight to a menu offering scene selection, set up [basically if you want subtitles or not] and play running for 176 minutes. The second disc has theatrical trailer and bonus material which opens other menus and is basically a making of, and must have 64 minutes to bring it up to the 3 hour run time advertised [but I haven’t played it all so can’t confirm this].
So there you have it, it’s public vs critics when it comes down to it. If you liked the films mentioned above, want a romance with war [or war with romance] that is hugely emotional and entertaining, then this is difficult to beat. If you want realism [either romance or war] look elsewhere. Personally I loved this film, but certain elements and obvious script did jar badly for me, hence **** rating.
on 12 April 2016
No No No! Mine faith in my fellow man and woman is battered when I contemplate how many people like, and even worse, have spent good money on this overwrought howling stinker of a movie. I’m sorry but you have to be daft as a brush to remotely enjoy it.
Trying to be charitable – what’s good? there is some nice shots of old aeroplanes, taking off in glinting sunshine or roaring past Hawaiian palm trees; which is about 10 minutes of 3 hours (yep count those 183 minutes) of squelching dirge.
What's wrong? well 2 things really: history and the movie.
As regards history – someone with a moderate knowledge of the events of Pearl Harbour (sorry Harbor) may be tempted to settle down to an enjoyable scoff at some typical American history bending, but 30 minutes in your jaw will start to sag and I predict about an hour in your brain will have started to dribble out of your ears. It’s appalling, just a few examples starting at a low level you have Navy nurse Beckinsale somehow ending up working for the army air-force, luxuriant locks resplendent whilst on the ward, our heroes start off as fighter pilots but end up as specialist bomber pilots on Doolittle’s Tokyo raid, the ponderous American P40 fighter is shown out-flying a nimble Japanese Zero (both are shown zipping round the sky like Star wars X-fighters) moving onto relations between black and white in the US Navy being as cosy as apple pie, through to the something like 250,000 Chinese who were murdered as retribution for the Doolittle raid being completely ignored and Nurse Beckinsale telling us the war was won because American ‘gained confidence’ whilst the Japanese ‘fell back’ – no my dear at a cost of 1000s of American and Japanese lives they built a huge Navy, Airforce and a couple of atom bombs that after 4 grisly years finally turned much of Japan to ash. The historical advisors must have either been a couple of teenagers who conned the film makers out of their fee or real historians who were locked in a cupboard under Michael Bay’s stairs for the entire production.
Well so fine the history’s rubbish; you still enjoyed Robin Hood Prince of Thieves; well yeah but that was a good movie. Here you have cardboard acting so stiff you wonder whether its being done on purpose, the two leads (Affleck and the other one) are hard to tell apart, you can see why Kate gets confused, but you won’t care in the slightest who she ends up with. You need safety shoes for some of the dialogue, crashing on the floor like a pallet of house bricks. My personal favourite being: “if all Americans are like you, I pity the country that goes to war with the USA” – who writes stuff like that? who is so desperate for a pay check they will utter it?
It’s awful, and yet it apparently made almost as much money as ‘Titanic’, I despair.
The story tells of two young friends 'Rafe' and 'Danny' who dream of being fighter pilots one day.
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.
Is a life-long friendship between 'Rafe' and 'Danny' under threat ?
The date - Sunday 7th December 1941, the Japanese Fleets had crossed 4,000 miles of Ocean, and have
launched a deadly attack on Pearl Harbour, America had failed to read the signs, their Fleet lay unprotected
anchored within the Harbour, the ships are sitting-ducks for the aerial assault.
Wave after wave of Japanese planes fly in with deadly accuracy and intent, the American defence capability
in the Pacific take a crippling blow......many including 'Rafe' and 'Danny' try to fight back during the raid.
The casualties are mounting medical staffing which includes 'Evelyn' are overstretched to the limit by the
seemingly endless wounded and dying that are brought in.
There is also a desperate effort to rescue those trapped inside the ships that are now all but submerged under
water........America were now at War.
Retaliation is uppermost in the minds of the American Nation, 'Rafe' and 'Danny' will be among the volunteers
taking part in a daring and risky operation to strike back.
The film is about two friends, one woman and the beginning of Americas involvement in WW11.
The screening of the lengthy attack sequence on Pearl Harbour is frankly stunning, terrific Special-effects with
a very good HD upgrade and Quality Surround Sound
Great action movie to re-visit or indeed watch for the first time.
Bonus Features -
* Journey to the screen
* Japanese perspective
* International Theatrical Trailer
* Music Video - 'There You'll Be' by Faith Hill
* Movie Showcase
* Journey to the screen - Stars Featurette
on 13 December 2014
Quite possibly the worst film ever made.
on 17 September 2015
I will admit that I am not the most accurate person when it comes to the history of the world, so thus I am unable to speak of this film from a historical point of view. I will say this: I did enjoy the film even if it was a wee bit long (but that's okay, since it is a war movie). My only issue was the relationship between Hartnett and Beckinsale's characters. Your best friend dies in the war and the first person you think of hooking up with is his girl? There are literally plenty of other fish in the sea. When Afleck's character returned, I had to slap the space bar on my laptop and laugh at the sticky situation these two new lovebirds found themselves in.
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.
on 6 February 2014
A couple of farm boys who have always been obsessed with flying, best friends Rafe McCawley (BEN AFLECK) and Danny Walker (JOSH HARTNETT) join the American Air Force and by 1941 have gained a reputation as excellent, if foolhardy, fliers. McCawley soon meets beautiful Navy Nurse Evelyn Johnson (KATE BECKINSALE) just before his request to aid the struggling RAF in the Battle Of Britain is granted by Squadron Leader James Doolittle (ALEC BALDWIN).
With McCawley away and soon posted as missing, presumed dead, love slowly blossoms between grief stricken Danny and Evelyn. When Rafe turns up unexpectedly several months later very much alive and determined to rekindle his relationship with Evelyn, he finds himself in an awkward love triangle and tension between the trio soon reaches breaking point.
Yet war is looming. Japan, crippled by embargos of essential raw materials imposed by America, decided to go on the military offensive, relying on Admiral Yamamoto (MAKO) and Commander Genda (CARY HIROYUKI TAGAWA) to devise a brilliant strategy - the destruction of the entire American Pacific Fleet as it lies at anchor in the shallow waters of Pearl Harbour.
American military intelligence analysist Captain Thurman (DAN ACKROYD) is convinced hostilities are imminent while President Roosevelt (JOHN VOIGHT) and Pearl Harbour naval commander Admiral Kimmel (COLM FEORE) also share his misgivings.
Then, early on a clear Sunday morning, hundreds of Japanese aircraft dive onto the peaceful island of Oahu to devastate the sleeping fleet and finally drag American into the Second World War.
PEARL HARBOR is actually a film of two halves. The first is primarily a romance, setting the scene and establishing the love triangle between Rafe, Evelyn and Danny. Certainly this will have action fans screaming at the screen, willing the slushiness to end and hostilities begin.
When the Japanese forces do finally attack the Harbour, things move up a gear dramatically. Director MICHAEL BAY loves his explosions and here he has them. Lots of them! The attack itself is truly spectacular to experience. We follow a torpedo from launch to its detonation against an American vessel, as well as a falling bomb all the way down to the deck of the doomed Battleship USS Arizona. Warships capsize, planes bomb and strafe in a superb blend of real and CGI footage. While at times it may feel a little too much like a computer game we are witnessing, it is at least very exciting stuff.
BAY, to his credit, also shows the Human loss in the aftermath of the attack and pulls no punches in depicting the horrors of war in traumatic hospital scenes and with trapped, drowning sailors.
Yet it says much for modern Hollywood when it dislikes anything which smacks of an American defeat, so the final part of the film depicts the famous Doolittle bombing raid against Japan. More poignant would have been a downbeat ending like with the classic TORA! TORA! TORA! - a film which gives a fairer and more historically correct depiction of the fateful Day Of Infamy.
PEARL HARBOR, for all its scope and epic feel, is sadly riddled with numerous inaccuracies which will undoubtedly confound students of history. These range from ignoring key characters such as Admiral Nagumo (who led the Japanese Task Force) to the actual length of the attack itself and even the colour schemes of the aircraft involved.
Anybody wishing to see the true version of events should watch the superb TORA! TORA! TORA! instead. However, I believe the film was never meant to portray a true history lesson and BAY went for spectacle over realism. In this he certainly delivers!
on 3 February 2013
By trying to appease both the romantics and the historical enthusiasts, I believe this film shot itself in the foot.
Let me get this straight: Pearl Harbor is a LONG film. I can understand if many lose interest and simply try skipping to the more interesting bits, but by doing so, ruin the experience. This film clocks at about 3 hours, and the first hour is utterly wasted in screenplay that is about as far away from the movie's title as possibly can be: you have gossiping nurses, a really awkward romance between a nurse and one of our two heroes that starts at a medical, along with clichéd humor. In the initial stages of the movie, the camera focuses too much on the physique of the male soldiers to appease the female filmgoers. It also doesnt help that our two main heroes look less like actual soldiers and more like sweethearts that belong in a romantic movie rather than on the grimy battlefield - especially Hartnett.
The battle over the skies of England isn't done properly enough - the shots just switch from an airfield to huting german planes over the coast of Dover. And then, we have some more romantic scenes that nobody really came to watch in the first place.
HOWEVER, when the attack on Pearl Harbor actually begins, my god has it been done brilliantly. This is a 2001 film. Even for 2013 standards, the explosions, battleships, wreckage, planes, everything is simply spectacular. Bombastic. You name it - Michael Bay is THE MAN, cut this guy some slack, already! The only thing that would have made this movie perfect is if it focussed more on the historical background - what made Japan attack Pearl Harbor, what was their motivation, how did the embargo affect them, how did the Emperor see this attack, etc.
If I had my power in the cutting room, I would have definitely ditched 30 minutes worth of useless romantic scenes and instead, added scenes for the historical background I wanted to be brought to light in more detail, as mentioned above. 10 minutes would have been enough - it would have shortened this film by 20 minutes, and that's good in my books. Don't ditch the entire love story though - but really, there are a bucket load of unnecessary scenes in this film that the movie didnt really need, and could have worked without.
Positive things about this movie are, apart from the spectacular action, the rich and vibrant colours used throughout the screenplay. Nobody tried to mimick a vintage/sepia/brownish World War II stock footage look. Nobody had the idea to film the movie in black and white to try to make it "look legit". None of that artsy bull. And none of that "lets give the visuals a darker, more depressing tone to reflect the fear-laden atmosphere of 1941 life" nonsense. This film is a must own on bluray - even if you didnt like the film, you still have to take your hats off to the brilliant cinematography, the camerawork, the costumes - this is 1941 Hawaii brought to vibrant life before your every eyes! Few other movies have accomplished this so wonderfully. And last but not least, guess who is doing the music? Hans Zimmer. That's right, so we also have a melodious theme going on that highlights the film in just the right moments.
So yeah, Pearl Harbor is a fantastic movie, IF we keep all the battle scenes, and cut away many of the overly boring romantic scenes, making the film shorter, and more awesome. You see, the only reason why people didn't like this film is because it marries two completely unrelated genres of cinema into one movie, which just doesn't work - akin to making the most battle-hardened and handsome war veteran wear the most exquisite and beautiful dress ever designed: the end result would still look completely awkward. Nevertheless, I am thoroughly satisfied with the awesome action that this movie brings to my home theatre. A solid three stars, out of five.
on 3 December 2011
This film is a fabulous film, a modern reworking of Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster in that famous beach scene, where they make love in the surf. Modern film techniques make this seem so different to From Here To Eternity, but if you think about it, there are the same elements of emotion and passion with the backdrop of the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor.
This was a second hand copy, but in excellent condition, and definitely preferable to what I previously possessed, which was a VHS video copy of the film. It is certainly worth seeing and hearing in a digital format, and for anyone interested in film music, it is worth listening out for the similarities between the soundtrack of Pearl harbour and that other classic love story, in which Deborah Kerr also appears, An Affair To Remember.
Even the music heard when dancing is taking place is the same as the music from the older film, showing how there is no point in reinventing the wheel, and the romance of this film borrows a lot from the older one. Fabulous.
on 21 December 2013
I have seen this film a few times and on each occasion I have been more disappointed by it. First, I agree with many reviewers who comment on how it relies far to too much on the CGI effects, which are technically quite good but, like a shoot-em-up computer game, CGI does not add convincingly to any sense of drama. Secondly, is it a war film or a complicated three way romance? But my real gripe with this film is that is tries to portray a couple of young boy-next-door Americans as heroes who were instrumental in almost every theatre of the war: The Battle of Britain, the attack on Pearl Harbour and the Doolittle raids.
The romance storyline adds very little, it is just a bit of tinseltown nonsense.
Worst line in the script "It looks like world war two has started!!" (For a reference to world war two you have to question what was world war one. I think at the time the previous event between 1914-18 was known as "The Great War", not world war one. A major conflict had already been going on in Europe and at sea for over two years. The USa supporting with aid, but was not a combatant. Added to that, Japan was already at war with and had invaded part of China)
This movie doesn't explain why the US was unprepared for the attack, or why it turned up late to deal with the evil Nazi forces in Europe. Going into more detail, it treats the incident where the black cook heroically downing a few planes almost as a comedy moment, but is there a race element here - was he just a cook before that because of racism (I don't know - but if that was true that could have been a relevant story).
Overall this movie does nothing to explain the circumstances, political and diplomatic issues leading up to the attack. It leaves me no wiser about why it happened. What was the Japanese agenda? What else happened, like the similar attack on Darwin two months later? I am not looking for a dry documentary, but good drama can be used to convey the history, hopes and fears and tragedy of war.
on 20 May 2014
This is about the attack on Pearl Harbour in the second world war. We follow two best friends who are obsessed with flying. They both join the air force. One of the friends falls for Kate Beckinsale's character who is a nurse who gave them a medical check so they could join. He then goes to Britain to fight. In the mean time the other friend and the other pilots take the nurses and fall in love. Then everything changes.
This is not 100% Historically accurate. It couldve probably been better as well by trying not to make it in to Titanic by including a love triangle that is dominant over the whole history aspect.
I will say that the soundtrack is really good.
It is a long film and couldve been edited down and made sorter, maybe even improved it.