View Full Version : Pearl Harbor Review

05-25-2001, 09:47 PM
Looks like the other thread got nuked, so I'll start a new one.


NO, it didn't totally suck. It was decent, perhaps even good. Was it great? NO. Could it have been better? YES. Should it have been better? ABSOLUTELY.

The romance angle did get somewhat tedious, but not completely. Strangely, I wasn't as annoyed by the love triangle thing as I thought I would be, and was actually a bit dissappointed by the attack. I think the title "Pearl Harbor" was a bit misleading - had they called it something like "Love in War," and then mentioned "by the way, we feature the Pearl Harbor attack," it think it would have been better received. If you call a movie "Pearl Harbor" it should be more about Pearl Harbor - this movie is a shotgun blast, hitting everything from the Battle of Britain to the Doolittle Raid, but not hitting any of them as much as they should. Again, it could, and should, have been better.

But it was better than two recent war movies I've seen - the ridiculous U-571 and the dissappointing Patriot. And it certainly doesn't deserve the movie critic dogpile it's being subjected to.

This movie won't set the world on fire. You won't hear about come Oscar time. But it was a decent flick. I'd give it a 6 on a 10 scale. Will I see it in the theater again? No. Will I buy the DVD? Probably - that way I can skip through all the crap.

Chiefs Pantalones
05-25-2001, 10:55 PM

I'm going to go see that tomorrow night (being forced) no matter what, but is it worth $6.25?

05-25-2001, 11:22 PM
After thinking about it a bit more, I think I'll downgrade the 6 to a 5. A bad taste is forming in my mind the longer I reflect on this.

This movie seems to take ideas from other better movies and sort of jumble them together, with the attack on Pearl Harbor as mere backdrop. There's a touch of Casablanca (oh sh!t i thought you were dead so I fell in love with someone else), a bit of Forrest Gump (Ben Affleck's character gets mixed up in every aspect of every battle-had PH been an hour longer, he would have probably stormed the beaches of Normandy, too), and a dash of every buddy picture you've ever seen.

I guess the thing that bothers me the most is the tampering with history, both things altered and things left out. In reality, the two hero pilots were two guys named Welch and Taylor - obviously important figures in the battle. While war movies often create fictional characters and intermix them with real, historically significant persons (like Charlton Heston's character in Midway), fictionalizing key people seems silly and a bit offensive. Seeing important events through the eyes of a made-up everyman-type is one thing - altering reality is quite another. They also overlook the key failures of the Japanese attack - they missed our carriers and the fuel depots (on December 8, the carrier USS Enterprise entered Pearl Harbor and refueled - the base itself was still fully functional). The Japanese mainly destroyed battleships that were made obsolete the minute they themselves demonstrated the future of Naval warfare - carrier-based air attack.

If someone handed me $140 Mil and said make a Pearl Harbor movie, I'd center it around the life and experiences of some no-rank enlisted guys on a battleship, blow off the love story BS, and concentrate on the one battle only - not hopscotch around the whole friggin war. This film is a classic case of 20 pounds of sh!t being stuffed in a ten pound bag.

Oh well. Again, I still don't think it sucked, but it almost sucked. I didn't really feel cheated at the box office, but I don't know that I could recommend this movie to anyone.

05-25-2001, 11:24 PM
Cody, it's okay, barely. Wish I'd paid $6.25 instead of the $18 I paid for myself and the BNC.

05-26-2001, 08:08 AM
Sounds exactly like what I expected.

Did they show the Lord of The Rings trailer before the movie?

05-26-2001, 09:19 AM
HC, while it wasn't that good, it certainly wasn't the festering piece of sh!t that you predicted. Dissappointing, but livable.

If you want to see a really bad war movie, try The Thin Red Line. I still can't believe how much that sucked - it made Pearl Harbor look like Saving Private Ryan.

No Lord of the Rings trailer, either, although I've already seen in. Looks very interesting.

05-26-2001, 11:36 AM
frazod - well, I would consider a mediocre love story with a banal plotline and sappy dialogue - spread over three hours with a mere 30minutes of (albeit excellent) effects - casting a major historic event as a mere backdrop, a "festering piece of sh!t ". But hey, that's just me ;) (I'll see it when it airs on HBO)

I agree 100% re: Thin Red Line. Hey, here's an idea: let's film a war movie, but cut out the war! Yeah! And then, over-dub trite commentary and try to pass off three hours of ponderous, audacious tripe as an art film.

05-26-2001, 11:48 AM
HC, when I think of festuring crap, movies like Dune, Batman and Robin, Thin Red Line and Tango & Cash come to mind. PH wasn't nearly as bad as any of those.

Seriously, it didn't festure!

05-26-2001, 11:56 AM
I liked Dune - but NOT that overbearing narrated version! THAT was dung. The Lynch 'director's cut' was enjoyable - but a bit confusing(plot holes). If you're a big fan of the books however, I can see where you would hate it - it takes MANY liberties and strays a bit from Herbert's work.

I wouldn't expect PH to suck so overtly as Batman & Robin or Tango & Cash(lol) or just about anything Stalone did after Rocky I, II and First Blood ;)

PH is just as bad to me as those other flaming bags of poo though, because it is <i>mediocre</i>. These bland, trite, all FX/no plot, pandering, trying to please EVERYONE, vanilla movies are continually spewed forth at higher and higher costs (which are inevitably passed on to us-the consumer). It's becoming a sad pattern: crank out sh*t, put it on film, market the piss out of it, and release it on Memorial Day weekend.

05-26-2001, 12:10 PM
I am a big fan of the book Dune. That's why I hate the movie so much. The recent miniseries was much more faithful to the book, and better, although it was obviously done on a shoestring budget.

And I do understand your point about big budget, low talent films. But really, PH was merely mediocre, not bad. Again, you should see it before you bash it so strenuously, IMO.

05-26-2001, 12:47 PM
I am all too familiar with B&B's 'works'. They are typically heavy-handed, obvious and trite. With a movie like The Rock or Bad Boys or even Armageddon, it's acceptable (to a degree) because it's pulp fiction. I bash THIS work because this is an important subject - not one to be taken lightly. These clowns will take a huge budget - $ that could have been used to produce TEN 'good' films(at least) - and crank out an offense to that dark day in American history. It trivializes one of the defining moments of our nation's history, and at the same time, treats it's audience as stupid and uneducated. This movie SHOULD have been great - it's too bad Eisner(aka satan) and Disney had to go sh*t all over it by employing B&B.

05-26-2001, 01:29 PM
I'm going to dissent here.

I saw the movie last night and I thought it was superb. Regarding the criticisms, I didn't see much of a problem here. The storyline between Rafe and Danny growing up and then being pilots was not boring, and they didn't "Titanic" the romance among Rafe, Danny, and Evelyn, as has been portrayed. They gave just enough for us to feel the romance, but even moreso had us feel the hurt going on amongst all 3 of them when Rafe reappeared.

The ending of the film was very fitting and touching as well.

Now, as for the war. They had to give some background to what was happening in the world prior to Pearl Harbor. Hitler and the Battle of Britain showcased two things:

1. The War in Europe was aware in the minds of Americans
2. FDR wanted to destroy Hitler and desperately wished to pursue peace with Japan, so he could eventually join Britain (see Land-Lease Act of 1940)

The sequences in the movie of Rafe and the dogfigths between the Luffwaffe and the RAF wasa good choice.

I especially loved seeing the reasoning behind why the Japanese doing this unforgivable action. So often we just see things from our perspective but what possessed the Japs to do this? We find out why, amidst the patriotism (control of the Pacific, but moreso their oil supply routes being cut off from the Americans in their war against China). Going to war vs the USA was inevitable, but of course, blindsiding us was as galling and heinous an act to let it happen.

Of course, showing the US being so unprepared and clueless as to what the Japs were doing had to be shown too. 3 hours of film just couldn't be all about Pearl Harbor.

I also liked seeing the US start the road back to winning the war by upgrading their military capabilities and seeing some of the getting even business unfold.

Couple of thoughts from the movie:

1. Were the Japanese actually considering a 3rd wave of attack that day? My God, would the casualties doubled the 2403 lives lost?

2. Did the Japanese actuallly target the hospitals or were they going just after the fleet and airbases?

3. Did an American pilot actually shoot down 7 Japanese planes amidst that adveristy that day? The Japs totally controlled the skies and I just can't imagine any pilot being able to do that. If so, it's unbelievable!

I respectfully dissent here...

Gracie Dean
05-26-2001, 10:17 PM
I just got back from watching the movie. I found it to be really good and will recommend it to my High School students.

December 7th 1941

Remember... lest those who died die in vain.

keg in kc
05-27-2001, 12:06 AM
Far be it from me to give a teacher advice (I could never do your job...), but if you do recommend it to your students, I sincerely hope you tell them that it does not reflect the actual history of the event. I have not seen it myself, nor will I until it's on HBO(because of this, in fact. I'm a history buff and movies like this bug me immensely.), but every indication I have received has been clear that this is little more than a chest thumping "God Bless the USA" film with a lot of "artistic freedom" taken for the story and little of it actually based in history. Now, on one hand, that's great for Memorial day and certainly there's nothing wrong with either entertainment or national pride, but on the other hand, it's very, very bad if the kids see it and take it as a docu-drama, which is how it's being presented by the ad campaign. Maybe it'll get them interested in history, which is great, but they might well take it as history and a subsitution for learning what actually happened.

Just my thoughts...

Marty McDonald
05-27-2001, 03:00 AM
Personally, I opted to see the hijinks that Shrek offers. Just think....Eddie Murphy as the voice of a donkey. Now is that casting genious or what? Everytime Shrek spoke, I kept visualizing and waiting for Fat Bastard to appear. The Princess? I dug her and thought Camron Diaz did an okay job with her. John Lithgow was great in the film but the scene-stealer, strike that, the movie-stealer was the Gingerbread man.


"Eat Me!"

Mile High Mania
05-27-2001, 09:07 AM
I was disappointed by the movie. Three hours long with about 30 minutes of war scenes and just about every 'movie cliche' in the book was represented in the movie.

I kept waiting for an Aerosmith power ballad to come across the speakers. Don't get me wrong, I like Aerosmith.

I'm curious to hear what my father-in-law and his dad say about the movie. They're both retired military and I don't think they'll be all that impressed.

It didn't totally suck, but it shouldn't have been called Pearl Harbor.

05-27-2001, 09:05 PM
But based on the posts so far, and being a WW2 buff, I have some comments for AJKCFAN:

1. Were the Japanese actually considering a 3rd wave of attack that day? My God, would the casualties doubled the 2403 lives lost?
<B>Yes, they had planned to execute a 3rd wave. The 1st and 2nd waves reported that the American carriers were not there; the Japanese commander was afraid that his carriers might be attacked at any moment by U.S. carrier planes, so he called off the 3rd wave in order to preserve his force.</B>

2. Did the Japanese actuallly target the hospitals or were they going just after the fleet and airbases?
<B>No existing evidence to support this. On a related note, the plan was for the the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C., in accordance with the Samurai code of never kill a man in his sleep, to notify Secretary of State Cordell Hull 30 minutes before the attack. The notification unintentionally came about 1 hour after the attack because the Japanese delegates couldn't find a typist to translate the message from Japan fast enough. The "sneak" attack was unintentional.</B>

3. Did an American pilot actually shoot down 7 Japanese planes amidst that adveristy that day? The Japs totally controlled the skies and I just can't imagine any pilot being able to do that. If so, it's unbelievable!
<B>The actual Army Air Corps fighter pilots that made it into the air that day were named Welch and Taylor (not "Rafe" and "Danny"). These two P-40s were the only U.S. fighter resistance against the swarms of Japanese planes. The two of them did manage to shoot down several Japanese planes.</B>

Hope this helps.

05-27-2001, 10:10 PM
I have yet to see PH-maybe tomorrow-but the "lack of action" criticism brings to mind a movie I went to see as a kid. I had been told that it was a movie about a war, and, as a kid, I thought that being that it was a movie about a war, there would be action involved. Well, there was no action at all, but I walked out of that theater with an impression that I carry to this day. Does anyone remember "On The Beach"?

05-27-2001, 10:56 PM
;) I thought the movie was super. Sure stirred up alot of emotions in me. We have alot of vets to thank in this country.

05-29-2001, 05:52 PM
Well maybe I will try again tonight, yesterday the first 18 plex I went to was sold out for the next 4 hours worth of shows running one every half hour.
I moved on to the next 18 plex about 10 miles away and even worse sold out for the next 6 hours with shows every half hour. I knew it could not possibly be worth those waits.

Tuesday night is usually a dead movie night so this should give me an easy shot, besides the movies are $3.75 on Tuesday night so how bad could it be that it would not be worth $3.75 that is cheaper than a rental (oh wait, no its not because I have to pay for multiple people). Onward toward the potential crowd!

Chiefs Pantalones
05-29-2001, 06:20 PM
I thought it was a great movie. It was better than I thought it would be!


I'd pay to see it again

05-29-2001, 06:48 PM
Good grief,

Every single showing for tonight is already sold out. It may not be the greatest flick of all time but it may make the most money if this keeps up.

05-30-2001, 07:30 AM
Yes, the Japenese did think about a third attack wave. They decided against it and played it safe.

No one pilot shot down 7 planes.

No, the Japenese did not target the hospitals. They were just in the way.


An interesting note about how the Japenese felt about the attack. The code of the Samuri dictates that you would never attack a sleeping enemy. Honor requires that your enemy has a chance.

The Japenese tried to let us know that they would be attacking Pearl Harbor 30 minutes before the attack, at which time they were also to declare war on the US. Because of administrative bungling, the actual declaration of War was not made until after the attack was started and therefore any early warning of the attack was also not given.

Many of the Japenese pilots, upon learing that they attacked an enemy that did not know they were coming, were shamed and disgraced. The honor of the victory was lost.

I once wanted to be a history teacher.

Baby Lee
05-30-2001, 01:31 PM

05-31-2001, 05:20 AM
Saw the movie last night. IMHO it was not as bad as some reviews make it out to be but it could have been a lot better. I agree with some posts here that it really isn't so much about Pearl Harbor, as it is the love triangle with the war as a back drop. The effects were awesome.

It's a good movie but if you're expecting a modern version of "Tora! Tora! Tora!" you'll be disappointed.

Tomahawk 11
05-31-2001, 11:23 AM
I purposely stayed away from this post until I saw the movie.

I thought it was very good. If it would have been all about the war then everyone would have been comparing it to "Saving Private Ryan". It was more like a "Memphis Belle" to me. But I really did enjoy it.

I thought the action scenes were just enough. I definitely had some emotions pop up during the Pearl Harbor Raid scene.

I did realize during the time that not everything in the movie was absolutely acurate, but I think that is allowed to an extent. It didn't get out of hand IMO. I do lose interest when it gets too unrealistic.

I give it 2 thumbs up!!

05-31-2001, 11:32 AM
The movie was o.k. but too much Hollywood theatrics. It would have been more appropriate to end the movie with a dedication to all the men and women who were at Pearl Harbor and who sacrificed their lives, prior to showing credits.