Pearl Harbor (2001)
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Review Date: May 23, 2001
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Randall Wallace
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer
Ben Affleck as Rafe McCawley
Josh Hartnett as Danny Walker
Kate Beckinsale as Evelyn Johnson
Two best friends turned fighter pilots are put right into the action in 1941, as WWII is swelling up and casualties are mounting. It isn't long before the Japanese conduct their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the American base in Hawaii, and the two boys are once again, put into the middle of things. Oh yeah, they've also both fallen for the same girl in the meantime...sheesh!
The first hour of this movie was so-so. The second hour of this movie kicked some mighty ass. The third hour of this movie was so-so, with a weak ending. So, overall? Well, I'd say that this is an average flick that doesn't need to be seen in the theatres unless you really wanna check out all of its awesome visuals on the big screen. Otherwise, wait for video so that you could fast-forward through all of its boring "love triangle" shite. I guess I'm kinda half and half on this movie. Granted, the attack sequences were freakin' amazing! They lasted long, they delivered excitement, pain, frenzy and everything else you'd expect from a film trying to convey some of what went down in Pearl Harbor back in 1941. But does that all that cool stuff make for a complete movie? Of course not...especially not a film which asks that you remain seated for three hours. That's usually up to its characters. So did the leads in this movie draw me into their plight, engage me as I expected to be engaged, make me cry when they cried, laugh when they laughed...well, you get the picture. Unfortunately, the answer to all of those questions is a resounding "no"! I didn't care for any of the main characters in this movie and I certainly wasn't interested in their phony-baloney three-way romance thingamajig.

I figure...the movie is called "Pearl Harbor", not "Love in the Skies". Of course, I wouldn't be making such a big thing about this whole romance aspect, if they had just made it a "small" part of the bigger picture (or if it had worked!), but sadly, it basically IS the picture! (unlike ENEMY AT THE GATES, which managed to slip in a little romance, but not without affecting the war movie aspect as a whole). In this movie, it basically just felt like the whole "war thing" was happening in the background, while this great ol' romance took center stage. But the chemistry just wasn't there, the emotions just weren't there and to be honest with you...it just felt tacked on! Like the filmmakers knew that they wanted to tell the story of Pearl Harbor, but believed audiences to be uninterested in such a film unless told through the eyes of some goofy romance. I don't know. Either that or they figured that their box-office grosses would be greater with a "love" thing happening, but whatever the case, it just didn't gel for me.

Which is why I don't blame the actors, who were just doing their jobs, but what can they do when the script that they're studying is missing one main ingredient...humanity! I remember weeping like a child when I watched TITANIC because I had actually started to give a shite about its characters. This movie amazed me with its visuals but pretty much bored me with its human interactions. Next time, how about taking some of that money from your gigantic budget and hiring some writers who can develop some real emotional attachment to their characters? But enough about that. Actor-wise, I was actually quite impressed with two thespians in particular, one being the almost unrecognizable Jon Voight as President Roosevelt, and the other, Alec Baldwin, who delivers across the board as the tough as nails Colonel James Dolittle (GLENGARRY anyone?). The directing and authenticity of the period were also quite impressive, especially during the war scenes, although I didn't particularly care for the "blurry vision" style utilized by Bay during the hospital scenes. It just frustrated me. And surprisingly, much like TITANIC, this film didn't really feel like three hours to me, although it did tend to slow down (or maybe that was just my disinterest) during its so-called "emotional" moments.

So is it an entertaining movie overall? No, not overall. Some of it does definitely entertain, but most of it just makes you wanna slap the filmmakers for ruining a good war flick with an overlong, sappy and uninspiring "romance" angle. Oh well, now let's see how much money it's gonna make...
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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