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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 ›
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.Read more ›
The period detail is hyperreal, the love triangle the biggest cliche ever- I guessed how this would end before I saw the film (& there's that Iceman-Maverick style repressed homosexuality between pretty boy Hartnett & balding Affleck). The characters are paper-thin cliches, Beckinsale the homely nurse- Sizemore the shouting Patton type (he even shoots at a plane with a gun- as George C Scott did in Patton)- the tertiary characters including Ewan Bremner. Cuba Gooding Jr's career vanishes towards Snow Day, from the Oscar Winning Jerry Maguire. Love the fact the captain knows who he is & that the systematic racism alluded to in such establishment sources as Hugh Brogan's Penguin History of the USA is not present. The Japs get a minor-plotline, Tora! Tora! Tora! style- though we don't get to know ANY of them as people & their appearance is more out of wish to have success in the Japanese demograph than to approach history with anything like balance (witness the obscene dehumanization of the Somalians in Black Hawk Down).
Jon Voight acts like he's in an Oliver Stone film, pity that. There is some horrible schmaltz- kids dressed as angels as the Japs come into bomb & scampering dogs.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
DVD not secure in case leading to scratches. Obviously only a one off sometimes it cannot be avoidedPublished 1 month ago by Liiiamo