The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War, and the soldiers on both sides that fought it, while their wives wait nervously and anxiously at home for the good news or the bad news.
Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.
Marcus Luttrell and his team set out on a mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shah, in late June 2005. Marcus and his team are left to fight for their lives in one of the most valiant efforts of modern warfare.
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
The scene between Rafe McCawley and Evelyn Johnson at the Queen Mary was written by Michael Bay himself. See more »
When Danny is paying tribute to Rafe after he is shot down, he pours Jack Daniels into a glass in front of Rafe's picture. The bottle of Jack Daniels is a modern bottle with all the awards on it that were not on it in the 1940s. See more »
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor has been a source of both pride and outrage for Americans for decades and, in part, justified our use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A movie based on these events, then, would need to be handled carefully in its attempt to stir patriotism without inflaming wounds from the past. In the rush of quasi-historical movies that have come in the past five years (reaching a box-office high with 1997's Titanic), the moviegoing public has demonstrated a willingness to sit through films they may have suffered through in grade school in order to get a better sense of what it was actually like to be there, to see the things that happened, to hear the whistles of bombs dropping in the air, and, above all, to experience what really happened.
Michael Bay's presence can be seen throughout the entire movie's content. The special effects worthy of his previous endeavors (Armageddon; The Rock), but the character development is traditionally Bruckheimer-ish/Bay-ish. These are people who fall in love for no other reason than the fact that they're both young and in dangerous circumstances; the lead roles are bursting with machismo; the leading ladies manage to be both tough and feminine at the same time, without really being either. The major problem with these movies is that too much attention is dumped into the action and not enough into the characters performing the action, and this movie is no exception. Although it manages to stir the blood and capture our attention (the almost-three hour duration is hardly even noticed), in the end you get the feeling you were watching something between a football game and a soap opera.
Ben Affleck plays Rafe, an aspiring hotshot pilot dying to get into World War II at a time when most of the U.S. was sitting uneasily on its haunches, watching the war with eyes askance. Josh Hartnett plays Danny, Affleck's friend from childhood and wingman (the two apparently followed their childhood dreams and enlisted together) while cruising in fighter planes. Typical for a Bruckheimer film, there is a deep connection between these two that the audience is left to infer rather than observe. The blooming romance between Affleck and Evelyn (Kate Beckinsall), his duty nurse during combat training, begins with a humorous and touching effect, but sooner or later we have to acknowledge the fact that they're in love because there's a war going on rather than any heartfelt connection made within three weeks' time. The secondary characters are memorable and their presence is not just to fill up a bunker with cadets, but rather to show us the unsung heroes of the war--the ones who weren't necessarily dashing and good-looking, but were called upon to fight, and did so with mettle and guts. Alec Baldwin and Jon Voight both give outstanding performances as Col. Doolittle and Franklin Roosevelt, respectively, but Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s performance is undeservedly short. The most grief we see in him is when he visits his commanding officer's coffin after the attack, a man he speaks perhaps three lines with on-screen. This type of pathos demands a lot of feeling for scarcely-viewed characters, and it gets in the way of many of the film's better points.
The actual attack on Pearl Harbor is conveyed brilliantly. The opening shots depict scene after scene of idyllic island life marred by the roar of approaching enemy planes, and the assault on the military bases leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination as far as what conditions were like on the island that day. The tension, pacing and internal climax of each mini-story leaves you open-mouthed, waiting to see who will survive and who will make it through to fight back. The last third of the movie chronicles the redress to the Japanese and its effects on the country and the rest of the war. Sadly enough, at that point much of the tension established throughout the movie's depiction of the attack is diminished, but there is enough going on to keep you guessing as to whether or not Affleck and Hartnett are going to be able to survive not only the war, but the war's effects on their friendship.
The historical and patriotic scope of this movie is not to be understated (although Yamamoto's lines seem scripted for this day and age and not for 1941), but the leading roles seem incidental compared with the scope of what really happened. It's unfortunate that Bruckheimer sees it as so necessary to rely on stunning visual and dramatic visual effects (for example, the fingers of the trapped soldiers in the slowly-sinking shift is too powerful for my poor words) while placing so much character development secondary. Learning to balance the two could transform a stunning movie into a truly timeless film.
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