I just got back from Pearl Harbor and I was so goddamn impressed
I can't hardly type.
This great (yes, great) movie has been peed on by almost every critic.
They didn't like the writing. ("there were no surprises")
They didn't like the directing. ("without grace, vision or originality")
They didn't like focus, or the black-and-white newsreel footage spliced in..
They didn't like most of the acting, (but they loooooved Jon Voight as FDR)
They didn't like Kate's make up. ("women never looked that way in the 40's")
They didn't like the length of the movie, but they loooooove to whine about what was left out.
They didn't like the attack scene. ("people cut down like tall grass before a weed-whacker")
They didn't like the dialogue. ("reams of banal dialogue")
They didn't like the ending. ("where was the wham-bam?")
They didn't like the "redundant" special effects, as though there are hundreds of different ways
to show a Japanese zero dropping bombs on American warships.
I thought it was a damn good film.
I read a few reviews - all negative, but I was going see this movie no matter what.
Maybe the damning of the film caused a little backlash in me, I don't know,
I know if your eyes were dry when those hands poked out of the USS Arizona,
you probably don't have a heart, so maybe you should just join the Republican party.
Roger Ebert, whose opinion I respect, trashed the entire film.
Check his hissy fit:
Our hopes are not high after an early newsreel
report that the Germans are bombing "downtown London"
--a difficult target, since although there is such a place as "central London," at no time in 2,000 years has
London ever had anything described by anybody as a "downtown."
Gee, I've never heard that distinction before.
I guess I'm a moron since I didn't know that the British don't use the word "downtown."
Besides, unless you're British, how would you know?
Another Ebert complaint:
There is not a shred of conviction or chemistry
in the love triangle, which results after
Rafe returns alive to Hawaii shortly before the raid on Pearl Harbor and is angry at
Evelyn for falling in love with Danny, inspiring her timeless line,
"I didn't even know until the day you turned up alive--and then all this happened."
What a horseshit cheap
It's real easy to ridicule out-of-context dialogue, but Evelyn finds out December 6th that her first love
survived being shot down in Europe, and she's supposed to have her feelings sorted out the morning of the 7th?
I bought the triangle all the way.
I'd never seen Kate Bekinsale work before, but she did a great job carrying her half.
I've always liked Ben Affleck, and the new guy, Josh Hartnett, was good, too.
Ebert closes with this:
I have visited the Battleship Arizona Memorial.
Three thousand died in all. This is not a movie about them.
It is an unremarkable action movie; Pearl Harbor supplies the subject, but not the inspiration.
Maybe I'm just blinded by my overwhelming respect for those brave
men who fought and died,
but dumping on this movie just seems downright unpatriotic to me. Maybe the movie studio screwed up
by over-promoting, but I don't see why "Pearl Harbor fails to set record" should be the top
entertainment headline on Yahoo. That's the same way they treated Clinton. He'd hold non-stop Middle-East
talks for 55 hours and afterwards the headlines would scream, "Clinton Fails," ...the sons of bitches.
The hospital scenes were expecially jarring. I've known the Pearl
Harbor story for decades, but until today,
I never once thought of what that hospital must've gone through. They kept joking that sunburn was about
the biggest "medical crisis" they treated there, and then that hit. They showed dozens of men burned
head-to-toe staggering towards the hospital - in one incredibly moving scene.
This won't spoil anything, but the hospital certainly was not
ready for thousands of casualties.
Overwhelmed like crazy, in the mad panic, they had to quickly devise a triage system. The head doctor
told Beckinsale's character to "figure something out," so she used her lipstick to write letters, such as
"C" for critical, "F" for fatal - on the foreheads of the wounded. Some critics thought that was stupid as hell,
but I thought it was a stroke of genius considering the environment.
...and for those who ridicule the love story in the movie, did you see the NBC special Sunday?
They interviewed some now-eighty year old men who survived, and
to a man, they said the memory of their girl
is what kept them going. One guy said he wanted his new wife to think he had died in the raid, so she wouldn't
see how ugly he'd become after being burned. Their girls and their family is the reason they fought.
None of the men could talk about that day without breaking down.
Maybe Tom Brokaw was right.
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