Pearl Harbor is a classic tale of romance set during a war that complicates everything. It all starts when childhood friends Rafe and Danny become Army Air Corps pilots and meet Evelyn, a Navy nurse. Rafe falls head over heels and next thing you know Evelyn and Rafe are hooking up. Then Rafe volunteers to go fight in Britain and Evelyn and Danny get transferred to Pearl Harbor. While Rafe is off fighting everything gets completely whack and next thing you know everybody is in the middle of an air raid we now know as "Pearl Harbor." Written by
There are very few films I've come across which actually make you want to beat yourself senseless with a heavy object. But this is surely one of them. Quite possibly one of the worst films ever made and I can't believe I managed to watch it through to the end! Twice. Once in the cinema and once on TV!
First off let me say that I can understand the need to make a compromise between historical accuracy and the telling of a 'good story'. That assumes of course that you have a good story to tell, rather than this banal boiling-pot of the oldest clichés in the book.
The heights of implausibility which this film manages to attain are just jaw-dropping. Saving Private Ryan managed to interweave an implausible story with historical events while maintaining a semblance of believability. Pearl Harbor just had me swearing obscenities at the screen in frustration!
I can forgive the use of late-model Spitfires in the 'Battle of Britain' sequences. What is less forgivable is the portrayal of the Battle of Britain at all given that it took place in 1940 and not 1941 as depicted here! And it is never quite explained how Ben Afleck manages to get himself released from his duties with the RAF and return to Hawaii - I guess he decided he'd had enough and so handed back his plane and uniform! Isn't that desertion in most people's book?
Some of the special effects during the attack on Pearl Harbor are, admittedly, not bad - despite the appearance of what appear to be quite modern warships in some shots! But the makers seem to think that the more special effects they can get into a single frame of film then the more realistic/impressive it will be! Unfortunately it just ends up looking like an intro-sequence for a Medal of Honor type game. Less is definitely more sometimes!
Talking about effects - what was that all about with the sequences in the hospital during the battle? Did they get a dud batch of film stock that had been exposed to sunlight or something? It's all very well trying to be smart with film effects but sometimes you can end up looking like complete amateurs - which I'm afraid they do here.
As for our intrepid heroes suddenly becoming experienced B-25 pilots - oh pur-lease!! At this point I had my head in my hands and was sobbing uncontrollably. The boys even manage to get involved in hand-to-hand combat, wiping out an entire Japanese platoon in the process. Presumably this was to show that our heroes were capable of going toe-to-toe with the enemy as well as just dropping bombs on them?
Who on earth was this film aimed at? I'm sure the majority of filmgoers are not complete imbeciles but this is exactly who the target audience seems to be. It could be viewed simply as a romantic adventure yarn (although the romantic element is dire) but it seems to want to portray itself as much more than that, which is it's biggest weakness.
If you want to be a heavy-weight historical drama then you just cannot mix in the sort of love-triangle claptrap and implausible plot lines that are in this.
Dreadful. Watch it and cringe.
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