Worth A Look: 13.55%
Pretty Bad: 20.99%
Total Crap: 46.28%
17 reviews, 503 user ratings
“Pearl Harbor” is a film with a solid plot and awesome special effects. You’ll never forgive yourself if you don't see it.The film begins with a strong opening sequence which shows the relationship between Danny and Rafe as small boys. In this sequence, the horror of war is introduced. This theme, of course, is played out in the war sequences.
"You must see this movie. Totally awesome."
With a brilliant use of newsreel footage, the film then takes us to 1941 and we see Danny and Rafe as military pilots. In the scene where they play chicken and then get chewed out by Doolittle and the humor kicked in, I knew Pearl Harbor was going to be a fantastic movie.
Pearl Harbor is a story about the relationship between three people(Danny, Rafe, and Eveyln), and the consequences of that relationship set against the backdrop of WWII.
Structurally, the plot intertwines between the love stories and the war story. This is not distracting, and, in fact, adds to the film. However, I felt the love stories should have been strengthened a bit, to better balance with the war story.
The film is not historically accurate in all details. However, this did not hamper my enjoyment of the film, as the movie is not supposed to be a documentary.
After the bombing raid commanded by Doolittle, the film finished quite nicely. The epilogue was well done, and the film ended with a touching scene showing the culmination of the relationships dealt with in the story. I particularly liked the epilogue.
One aspect of the film I found particularly interesting was the way in which the film showed the attitudes and values of a society that is now so much different than ours, especially in the attitude towards sex. This was best brought out in the scene where Rafe didn’t want to have sex with Eveyln because he didn’t want her to later regret anything. (This is certainly a far cry from today’s attitudes.) Other differences between then and now was the way in which women related to the men and their hair styles and clothing.
With any good film, it is the small details that add immensely to its enjoyment. Pearl Harbor had many little details that, for me, added immeasurably to the film. A few details I felt were excellent were the Queen Mary scene, the priest giving the last rites, and the plot technique using the bi-plane shots in the beginning and end of the film to tie the plot together.
Some viewers have a problem with the few cheesy lines of dialogue in the script, but in the context of the film, they did not bother me. For example, Rafe's letter to Eveyln did sound a bit cheesy, but the character of Rafe was not a writer, and there must have been millions of GI‘s who wrote romantic-cheesy letters to their girl friends.
The little bit of cheesy dialogue that there was fit with the idea of the film. That is, I think that the film was basically a good old-fashioned war movie (with modern special effects) and, therefore, the cheesy lines could have very well been in character for the characters who spoke them. For example, Doolittle as portrayed by Baldwin came across to me as a John Wayne type war hero, and his lines seemed fitting for such a character. The quality of the movie was so tremendous that I was able to suspend disbelief, ignore the few scenes with cheesy dialogue, and just get absorbed in the story.
The Japanese attacking Pearl Harbor showed Bay’s brilliant use of special effects. I don't want to say anything about this scene in detail as I don't want to spoil the film. However, I will say that the sound for the attack was one of the best uses of surround sound and subwoofers that I have seen in a long time.
The tension before the attack was built up superbly. The use of drumbeats as well as the very subtle heartbeat sounds just before the Japanese bombed the battleships were brilliant.
The color scheme - a subtle brownish tone - was very effective in that in reminded me of aged movies, which was a perfect color scheme for a film set in 1941.
One aspect of the film which did disappoint me was the actor who portrayed FDR. He looked the part and had the right mannerisms, but his voice just didn’t work. The difference between FDR's real voice and the actor’s voice pulled me out of the movie.
This film was three hours long. However, I did not notice the time go by as I was absorbed by the story the whole time. By the way, watch out for (what might be) a homage to Top Gun, and (what I am sure is) a homage to “The Right Stuff.”You’ll really regret it if you miss seeing this movie.
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originally posted: 06/20/01 21:32:18