A tale of war and romance mixed in with history. The story follows two lifelong friends and a beautiful nurse who are caught up in the horror of an infamous Sunday morning in 1941.A tale of war and romance mixed in with history. The story follows two lifelong friends and a beautiful nurse who are caught up in the horror of an infamous Sunday morning in 1941.A tale of war and romance mixed in with history. The story follows two lifelong friends and a beautiful nurse who are caught up in the horror of an infamous Sunday morning in 1941.
If the producers can expend so much time, money and effort to make everything look big and splashy, why not go the extra 1/4 mile and make it look *right*? Spielberg managed it for Saving Private Ryan, even with the somewhat far-fetched plot device. Flaws abound, and have been pointed out in great depth elsewhere (the most glaring are the guided missile frigates in the harbor, the off-scale appearance of the Oklahoma as she capsizes (with an impossible torpedo hole in her starboard side, which was shielded by the Maryland *and* Ford Island), no mention of Nevada's dramatic attempt to get underway and subsequent beaching, etc).
To my legion of fellow critics I say, "read your history before trashing the 'token black' Dorie Miller subplot". Ship's Cook 3rd Miller did, in fact, give aid and comfort to West Virginia's dying captain, did, in fact, man a machine gun for 15 minutes (during which he believed he shot down a Japanese plane) and was, in fact, the first black recipient of the Navy Cross (awarded in early 1942 by Admiral Nimitz). Aside from the mistaken coffee-service bit (he was actually bagging laundry at the time) that was one of the things the producers got *right*.
Focusing on the Dolittle Raid, I saw only lost opportunities - how Dolittle convinced his superiors to let him fly, the fates of the crews (who flew solo rather than in formation and were scattered all over the place afterwards) and Dolittle's dejection at the "failed" raid and his subsequent accolades... all of this was jettisoned as the producers got out the Ritz crackers and Velveeta and went for the cheesy, contrived, convenient resolution of the *important* part of the movie, that cockamamie love triangle.
In sum, so many opportunities, so little follow through. Rent "In Harm's Way" for schmaltz, and "Tora Tora Tora" for the attack itself. Better yet, snag a copy of "At Dawn We Slept", and read up on the historical tapestry that this movie never really touched.
- Feb 10, 2004