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
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...