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3.2 out of 5 stars1,160
3.2 out of 5 stars
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on January 18, 2002
Does the film deliver as entertainment? Yes. That is the bottom line. Does it deliver for historical accuracy? Well...pretty much.
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!
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on December 31, 2004
In Pearl Harbor, the infamous attack on the Amercian naval fleet in 1941 forms the backdrop for an intriguing love triangle. Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett play best friends and pilots, while Kate Beckinsale is the woman they both love.
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.
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on December 15, 2011
I hear people talk about Pearl Harbor as though it were the worst film ever made. I didn't personally think it was that bad. It wasn't necessarily good, but it was entertaining in a very cheesy, hokey kind of way. There was some pretty terrible dialogue (Not anxious to die, just anxious to matter), a little too much focus on the love story and some consistency/accuracy issues (I had no idea that you could take a train from the US to London). I thought the acting was all right. Again, the writing was atrocious in some areas, but I think the actors made due. I don't think Cuba Gooding Jr. had a big enough role. I think the biggest redeeming thing for this film was the attack scene. I thought it was quite well done. The piloting, the effects, the stunts, I thought they did a great job recreating the actual attack, from what I've seen of footage and pictures. I wasn't there, so I can't speak to its accuracy, but it looked amazing on screen.

As for the DVD itself, it has a seperate disc with extras that are pretty entertaining and informative. They have behind the scenes features, about how things were shot, and they also have some historical pieces about Pearl Harbor.

I'd say it's worth picking up. Just perhaps keep your expectations in check.
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on June 9, 2004
If you are interested in watching two films in one this is the film for you. Hollywood has butchered a significant moment in history and what could have been a powerful film.
Somehow the writers of this movie must have been trying to convince us of the errors of war without letting the horror of the bombings in Pearl Harbor speak for itself. Instead they threw in a horribly sappy romance movie in the midst of such tragedy. While I have no doubt that many of the people involved in the real Pearl Harbor were in love and beautiful, I have my doubts on whether or not "love" was the first thing on their minds during the attack. I also have my doubts that one woman could fall in love with two men who are both drop dead gorgeous and extrodinarily brave at the same time. Reality proves time and again the impossibility of this sappy romantic notion. This portion of the film should have been written out and left for the "Lifetime" network to promote!
Now for the good part.....this film will have you on your seatbones during the battle scenes. It will rile your patriotism and inspire you to learn more about the actual event in history. The special effects are decent although some of the harbor scenes are obviously fake. But the horror of thousands of sleeping men being awakened to war is tragic. To even begin to fathom being buried in a sinking ship is horrendous. I wish the movie would have pulled a bit more at our heartstrings by focusing on true stories of what these brave men endured to survive such an event rather than just the magnitude of the bombings. This is where movies like "Saving Private Ryan" and "Black Hawk Down" reign supreme and this one fails.
I recommend this movie purely for its ability to inspire you to learn more about the actual attack. Because the truth is in the men who survived this event not in this film. Worth noting of course is how our "intelligence" failed to protect Pearl Harbor. Maybe we need to construct a new word for that which "protects" us!
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on June 4, 2004
If the film makers were to title their travesty more accuratly it would be called, "Ben Afleck has nearly predictable girlfriend problems for like 2/3's of the movie and uh, sorta unrealisticly participates in the nation changing events at Pearl Harbor." I guess that title was too long for them, but never the less, this is certianly not an adiquate depiction of Pearl Harbor. Where this movie fails, is in its own ignorance of the title it shamefully claims. Absolutly no reason was given for the attack itself, or why we faild to prevent it. More so, the Japanese are depected as comming up with their plan for attack not only sponaineously, but OUTSIDE while their kids fly kites!! Think about the absurdity of this: The Japanese are one of only two military forces ever to attack our country since its formation (the revolutinary war dosnt count)with the other attack taking place on 9/11. This was a briliant military achievment that took countless hours of planning. And please,...I highly doubt that the war lords of Japan would hold top secret meetings outside in the open. Furthure more they certianly would never have taken their kids.
Despite all this the depiction of the attack itself was fairly well done, with spectacular CG effects that truly place the audience into the middle of the chaos. This is especialy evident in the hospital scenes both during and after the initial attack; they expertly convey a sense of hoplessness and confusion. However I hardley believed that Ben Afleck could piolet an aircraft. All in all, this is a big bugeted effort that displayes an ausome 30 minute invasion sequence that must convey what really happened, and a furthure two and a half hours of some kind Romance that deserves no place in any serious war film.
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on May 6, 2004
...movies out there about Pearl Harbor. If you are interested in the events surrounding Pearl Harbor, pick up a copy of Tora! Tora! Tora!. If you are interested in a love story set during Pearl Harbor, pick up From Here to Eternity. If you are interested in World War II, pick up anything else (even U-571).
I think this movie would have been much better if it were set in a sci fi setting with a space port named Pearl Harbor that is attacked by aliens. For all pratical purposes, the Japanese in this movie might as well have been aliens. You don't get any background story to their goals other than they are going to split up the love triangle. Speaking of which, could we have gotten a more predictable finish to that story? No.
One more note, why did it have to end with the Doolittle Raid? And for that matter, why did our intrepid heroes have to fly it? They had a hard enough time training B-25 pilots to do it. I can't imagine that they would use pilots who never flew bombers to do it. Ah well.
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on May 4, 2004
I don't know why I've avoided this film for so long. It was probably mainly to do with the oh-so-bad reviews I kept reading, and people telling me (complete with "oh man" littered throughout) that it was diabolical, historically inaccurate, ya-de-ya-de-yah. I've seen the DVD many times, picked it up, and then put it back down (I've got a reputation to uphold here, y'know). And then on a bank holiday, it had its terrestrial premier on UK TV. So I thought what the hell, I'll give it a whirl, and then see what all the fuss is about, and most likely give it a bad review.
Boy, was I wrong.
I've seen reviews that have said it's too slow, it takes an hour before it gets into the real swing of things, blah blah blah. Well, I'm sorry, but I was hooked from the beginning. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen, and was dreading the phone ringing, or the 20-minute break halfway through for the news.
And in my opinion, everyone that has watched this, and given it a bad review, has a heart of stone. OK, so it has a few corny lines, but tell me a film that doesn't. The whole romance thing is cheesy and predictable (what guy is honestly going to touch his best friend's girl?) but I'm an old romantic at heart, and most of the scenes between Kate Beckinsale & Ben Affleck had me going practically giddy. (Kate Beckinsale and Josh Hartnett just didn't seem right)
Ben Affleck is so cute in this! And Kate Beckinsale is absolutely gorgeous too, but I'm not that way inclined. And for once, it wasn't the uniform that was making me go weak at the knees, it was just Ben Affleck before J-Lo, just being himself.
This is the second Michael Bay movie that I've seen that has made me cry buckets! I was welling up throughout, but by the end, the gates opened, and the tears wouldn't stop. And I thought I was bad enough at Armageddon! ("Bruce Willis is gonna die! WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" And then someone has the nerve to tell me that "it's only a film". My eye it's only a film!) I'm glad I didn't see this movie in the cinema - cos I did with Armageddon, and that was highly embarrassing.
OK, I did notice some historical inaccuracies in this, not that I was looking out for them you understand, but there are some glaringly obvious stupid things. It's the 40s right? Have they never heard of contraception? It was practically a sin if you were unmarried and had a child in the 60s, you would have been burnt at the stake and sent to dance with the devil for this! And four months passes, but still no pregnancy bump? On someone as skinny as Kate Beckinsale 's character, there would definitely be a bump! And Rafe has dyslexia, but he writes pages and pages to Evelyn? Not possible, and probably not legible.
There are some fairly cheesy lines - obviously Michael Bay was reading some Mills & Boon before doing this movie. Some of these include: "When I get cold, the one place I can go to be warm is to think of you"; "I'm going to give my whole heart to Danny, but I don't think I'll ever look at another sunset without thinking of you" and for some major eye rolling: "I love you, and I'll have your baby, only I love him more, and you have to accept that in spite of my loving you forever while he'll always be my true love.." Even I'm not that much of a romantic.
This film was visually stunning. The action scenes were incredible, and absolutely breathtaking. But there were some sad moments amongst all the action scenes - the saddest being Ben Affleck & Josh Hartnett's characters holding the hands of the drowning on the Arizona.
However, I did feel that Michael Bay watched Armageddon & Titanic a little too many times while making this film. There are many scenes very reminiscent of both movies. For example, Kate Beckinsale could pass for Liv Tyler, especially in some of the final scenes, when she's there to meet her loved one off the plane. And the scenes actually in Pearl Harbour? Lots of people jumping ship, hitting propellor blades - remind you of anything? There's also planes flying overhead when the guys are walking towards their planes - a scene like the one in Armageddon, when they're all going to go away into space.
The score is very reminiscent of Armageddon too, and was very sad and tugged at the heartstrings. Some simple scores can set me off, and along with Armageddon, Anne of Green Gables, and a couple of other scores that people keep playing me, this score will be amongst them.
This is THE movie to have in your collection. It's going to quite happily join my collection of 'bad' movies as soon as I can get my hands on it. And it's up there in my list of great movies, along with Armageddon, Titanic, and probably some others too.
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on April 15, 2004
In this amusing Michael Bay effort, John Hartnett and Ben Affleck star as pilots in love with the same woman, a for the time surprisingly anorexic model-type played by Kate Beckinsale, of 'Emma' fame. This love triangle gets so convoluted and unbelievable throughout the film that one almost expects Hartnett and Affleck to end up together, or possibly even a sexy soft-core three-way (Beckinsale: "Oh... I just can't decide between the two of you, so I'll have you BOTH!").
Equally hilarious is the complete lack of historical accuracy, from the Germans bombing DOWNTOWN London (and where would this be, pray tell?), to the fact that Hawaii is populated by nothing but rich Caucasians, dressing their kids as angels and chasing them down hills in slow motion. Also of course absolutely nobody smokes, despite the fact that this is the frickin' '40s. Not to mention the physically impossible flying scenes during Bays action scenes, apparently an intended homage to Star Wars - or so they would be if Bay's direction didn't immediately disintegrate into a rampageous helter-skelter mess of atrocious takes, clumsy acting, irritatingly gut-wrenching hand-held camera wiggling, and music-video editing.
The movie's politically correct portrayal of the Japanese should also not be missed, planning their attack with toy boats in a little pool while lamenting the unfortunate fact that they have to attack the United States. "A brilliant man would find a way not to fight a war", Yamamoto says, "but they have given us no choice. Due to some economical reason or other, possibly to do with trade routes or something, we must attack the U.S., even though we really don't want to. In fact, we love America and are really, really sorry for having to attack it. Please accept my most sincere apologies for this heinous act. [*starts sobbing*] Oh, why? WHY must we do this? WHHHHYYYYTY!"
FDR: "You see, because I can get out of my wheelchair and walk, our sneak attack on Japan will be successful!"
FDR's advisors: "You truly make a persuasive argument, Mr. President!"
If this has not convinced you to watch this hilarious comedy, nothing will.
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on April 7, 2004
December 7th, 1941 ... It was, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt so bluntly put it, a day that would live in infamy. The attack on Pearl Harbor over sixty years ago was less of an attack on the American people themselves as it was an attack on our military defense, an area we once thought was invincible and something our enemies would never attempt to provoke. But on that fateful morning, the unthinkable happened and from then on things changed but as time went on Americans returned to the isolationistic attitude that had gotten us in trouble in the first place ... It has been said, those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. That happened on September 11th, 2001, where 3,000 American lives were lost. But the American people are not an intimidatable bunch and we rose to the challenge, just like we did after the event at Pearl Harbor, to root out evil and wreak havoc on those who dared to try and terrorize us. No better moral support could be spoken better then what was said by President Bush, who stated, "We have known freedom's price. We have shown freedom's power. And in this great conflict, my fellow Americans, we will see freedom's victory".
The story centers around a love triangle between two men who fall in love with the same nurse and their struggle to win her heart, all set against the tragic attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Rafe McCawley is a hot-shot flying ace in the United States Arms Air Corp. but it wasn't easy, as it required a young U.S. Navy nurse named Evelyn Stewart to pass him despite the fact that reading ability was slightly below average. From that moment on they fall deeply in love with each other but the time they spend together is short-lived as Rafe has been accepted to a program that sends American air pilots over to Britain to help fight off the German Blitzkrieg, one that he applied to himself. While he is overseas fighting in the war, Rafe asks his best friend Danny Walker to watch after Evelyn but when word came about that Rafe's plane came down over the ocean - basically declaring him dead - things change quickly between Danny and Evelyn from friendship to a full-fledge infatuation. Then suddenly Rafe returns alive and just as a full confrontation between the two friend is about to erupt - catastrophe hits as the Japanese sneak attack Pearl Harbor and throw the United States head first into World War II. The story for Pearl Harbor, as hard as it attempted to stick with historical accuracies, lacks severely and doesn't feel as though the filmmakers were taking this seriously, even by Jerry Bruckheimer standards. Praise must be given to Bay and Bruckheimer for attempting to create a patriotically charged feature but next time they should view The Patriot and see how it is done correctly.
Once again Bruckheimer chooses a great group of talented veteran actors and fresh newcomers to head this project but despite several promising, and even surprising, performances, the script is too bland and dull for any one person to really step above the rest. Ben Affleck's performances have often been described as flat and though that can be disputed, that statement would be true for his role in this film. If there is one thing Affleck needs to improve on from this role is how to cry ... He just sounds absolutely ridiculous when he does cry and any emotional quality that was to be retained in those scenes is slightly lost. Despite a fairly handicapped performance, Affleck does manage to work well with newcomers Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale, who both give decent performances with the weak material they are given. Though the script does tend to hinder many of the main performers in this feature, several actors do manage to transcend beyond that to give excellent performances. Cuba Gooding Jr.'s role as Dorie Miller is one of those performance and is based on an actual historical figure that fought bravely against the Japanese Kamikazes at Pearl Harbor. It would have been nice to note that his character went on to fight in World War II after the event and died in combat aboard a submarine but that could be taken as a bit of downer at this film, which was obviously something the filmmakers didn't want. And the biggest surprise out of all the performances was the one given by Dan Aykroyd, who is best known for his comedic performances and often stays away from dramatic performances. But despite the lack of experience in this genre, Aykroyd gives a convincing performance that works well early on but for some reason the character ends up just dropping off around the mid-way point, which wasn't too big of a problem, just a slight issue.
Overall, Pearl Harbor gives the Walt Disney Company their Titanic but the film ends up more like the ship rather then the movie in that its enormous extravagance results in its demise. Despite not receiving the same box office success its inspiration received, Pearl Harbor finds similarity to Titanic in that both features suffer from numerous clichés, a flat and unintentionally humorous script, and a time length that feels excruciating as the feature begins to wrap-up at the end. If one were to find even a few compliments for this film it would definitely to be its absolutely astonishing battle sequences that are presented in such vivid detail that it is almost heart-wrenching, though the filmmakers didn't go to quite the level that Steven Spielberg did with Saving Private Ryan. Another worthy aspect of the film was its musical score, which was created by brilliant composer Hans Zimmer who also wrote scores for The Lion King and The Last Samurai. But the breathe-taking visuals and the brilliant musical score aren't enough to save this feature from being nothing more then a poor attempt to cash in on the success of Titanic, as well as the American military men and women who died at Pearl Harbor. Want true patriotism on the big screen? Rent The Patriot.
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on March 29, 2004
Personally, I thought this movie was great! I only saw it recently for the first time and thought it was a good achievment. I love modern history and I was skeptical at first that this film might not respect the total truth behind the real Pearl Harbour tragedy. However I was pleased to conclude that "Pearl Harbour" was faithful to the events which also incorperated a moving love story. In a way, this movie reminded me alot of "Titanic", but for those who don't like that film, don't be hesitant to give this movie a shot.
Firstly, the acting is very good. This movie stars Ben Affleck (Rave) and Josh Hartnett (Danny) as childhood companions based at the doomed docks of Pearl Harbour. Consequently, their friendship is tested when they both fall for the same girl, a nurse named Evelyn played by Kate Beckinsale (who I would like to add looks undoubtedly like Nicole Kidman!). I thought acting was a high standard in this film, showing true compassion and emotion. Also starring is Academy Award winning Cuba Gooding Jr. and recent nomanie Alec Balwin who play small, but historically important roles.
The special effects, are excellent! although not nearly as spectacuar as those seen in "The Lord of the Rings", I was nonetheless impressed and the sound mixing (which won an oscar) is brilliant!
The woven love story is beautiful. With clever lines here and there, this ingredient nicely balances the crucial war-epic and brings the film to a charming, yet haertbreaking close. I admit that the finale had me in tears, both of grief and happiness.
People argue this film is not worthy to be called a "historical recount", but a spatty love drama, others just rate this film on its use of special effects. I think "Pearl Harbour" is a faithful adaption of those fateful years and the fall and rise of America, inspired by a flattering love story.
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