The History Channel's "One Hour over Tokyo" and "Unsung Heroes of Pearl Harbor" provide depth that Bay's movie lacks, and Charles Kiselyak's interactive timeline is arguably the finest feature included, providing an in-depth historical perspective on U.S.-Japan relations. Even a brief reenactment of a Pearl Harbor nurse's journal is moving in a way that Bay's film can only try to be, while the "Interactive Attack Sequence" provides a multifaceted exploration of the entire production process (a highly educational feature for aspiring filmmakers). All in all, these four discs offer an admirable balance between Bay's technically impressive but ill-conceived epic and a thorough, fitting tribute to those who endured hell on that fateful Sunday in 1941. --Jeff Shannon
I am glad the movie includes lesser known, real life characters and their exploits. Have to give the filmmakers credit for that. It also captures the real feel of the 40s, where travel and communications aren't like they are today. The scene where the nurses arrive at Pearl Harbor is great. They are wide-eyed in this place they had never seen or been to before. I thought that was a good touch.
Love story- lots of reviewers mention the cheesy love story. As a 36 yr old, I have no idea just how difficult relationships are in times of war. I thought PH actually did a good job portraying the conflict of feelings, and how one deals with the uncertainties of wartime romance. The phenomenal Battle of Britain scenes help keep the movie from bogging down until the immediate build up to the Pearl Harbor attack.
Glad it ends with the Doolittle Raid- that story deserves each and every opportunity to remind the world about those incredibly brave sailors and airmen. Also glad scenes of the Eagle Squadron at the Battle of Britain are included as a way to remember those brave american volunteer airmen that helped the British in their most desperate hour.
Remembering the film is entertainment...sit back and enjoy the aerial scenes and turn up the volume!
Despite the inevitable comparisons to Titanic, this historical drama -- more gritty than grand -- soars on its own. It features accomplished direction by Michael Bay, whose only miscalculation comes during the aftermath of the attack: the footage is blurred to accentuate the nurses' confusion, but good acting and editing would have sufficed. However, the attack scene alone is worth the price of admission, and it's an extraordinary feat to have outdone the impressive recreation depicted in the otherwise embarrassing Tora, Tora, Tora. The film also offers two riveting aerial battles, clever newsreel segments, stunning cinematography, and A+ sound. Hans Zimmer's score is both memorable and moving, but the theme song "There You'll Be" is no match for "My Heart Will Go On."
The script by Randall Wallace vividly captures an era of innocence and hope, and speaks of duty, determination, and courage. Though the Japanese are not portrayed as bloodthirsty villains, it leaves their motives to the history books. Unfortunately, there is an unnecessary and lengthy postscript that tries to prove America's superiority by detailing a retaliatory raid on Tokyo. Since we all know the U.S. triumphed in the end, the flag-waving should have been dispensed with -- indeed, it would have been more effective to end the film with the title assault.
Ben Affleck gets top billing, but he is clearly not ready for leading-man status; some of his facial expressions are laughably bad. Kate Beckinsale, though lovely, is rather weak as the female lead, but the charming Josh Hartnett carries the film. The massive supporting cast includes the other pilots and cadre of nurses, all of whom are delightful and interesting. Dan Aykroyd, Colm Feore and Cuba Gooding Jr. shine in their supporting roles, while both Alec Baldwin and Jon Voight give Oscar-worthy efforts as Jim Doolittle and Franklin D. Roosevelt respectively.
Pearl Harbor is a heart-wrenching motion picture with spectacular visuals. Suspenseful, shocking and tragic, it serves as a fitting tribute to that Day of Infamy, when a presumed Armageddon descended on paradise. Rating: 8 out of 10.