Monday, September 6, 2010

Pearl Harbor. D

Ben Affleck's name is spelled out across Pearl Harbor's poster, indicating he's the major star in the film. So when we find out his character has died about a third of the way through the movie, we know that simply can't be the case. And indeed, he predictably shows up again only to be greeted by hundreds of Japanese aircrafts out to destroy America's naval base in Hawaii. There's a love triangle going on here between Affleck, his best friend (Josh Hartnett), and a beautiful nurse played by Kate Beckinsale. But the movie plays it all wrong. It establishes the triangle but doesn't allow it to develop. Instead director Michael Bay, clearly itching to get into territory in which he operates best, launches the Japanese attack too early. He should have waited, allowed the love story to grow further, and then cut out the redundant final forty minutes, a.k.a "the death mission." Pearl Harbor tries to put in a little of everything in its liberal running time of over three hours. There's the love story, which is the front and center of the film, then there's footage of the president and other officials wondering what trickery Japan may be brewing, and finally there's some really poorly done scenes involving the Japanese and their preparations for the attack. Very little details are given as to Japan's overall motives. We get one scene where a Japanese general states that America has cut off their oil supply. Thus they have no choice but to attack. That's all we get. It's as if Bay cares nothing about history and simply wants to tell a big epic romance and then use the attack as an excuse to showcase some cool special effects. Well, I guess it's actually not that big of a question. I think that really is Bay's strategy. Pearl Harbor is watchable as pure escapism, but the major issue is that it should have been more than that. An historical event such as the attack on Pearl Harbor deserves far better than the standard Hollywood norm. All things considered, I've been pretty kind to the movie. And I will remain so by concluding that this is probably the worst three hour movie I've watched.

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