MORIARTY Reviews PEARL HARBOR And Looks At This Weekend's Media Madness!!
Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
I just want to start by saying to Alexandra DuPont that the wedding’s off, and I want my promise ring back.
”It gets the job done.” – Mick LaSalle, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
I’ve spent the last couple of hours sifting through the debris left in the wake of Michael Bay’s behemoth, and it ain’t pretty. A lot of people behaved miserably, a lot of money was wasted, and more words have been spent than seem possible for what is ultimately a disappointing action film of exceedingly average pedigree.
That’s right. Not an abomination. Not the end of cinema as we know it. And certainly not the worst film of all time. Or even of this year so far. Hell... it might not even be the worst big-budget film this month. I didn’t see DRIVEN, though, so I’m just guessing...
PEARL HARBOR works too hard. It’s a film that wants to paint a picture of a romantic triangle that is genuinely wrenching. It’s a film that wants to show us the horrors of war even as it revels in the thrill of real heroism. It’s a film that wants to say something about the loss of American innocence. It’s a film that wants to be grown-up and smart even as it’s nakedly sentimental and, yes, juvenile.
And in the end, it’s a film that pleases none of its audiences fully, that ultimately satisfies none of its wants. I have yet to read one review that says, “The whole thing works perfectly, scene for scene, and everything gels.” Oh, I’ve read people review the bits and pieces, pulling it apart in an effort to find what they like.
”This is probably the most brilliantly assembled and highly adrenalized action sequence in movie history.” – Jeffrey Wells, REEL.com
Dear sweet god, deliver me from this landscape of lowered expectations. Is this really what we’ve come to? We are now reviewing films on a sequence by sequence basis, giving them passing grades as long as there’s just a run of stuff we like, even if we have to sit through three hours of genuinely dull drama, poorly written and poorly acted for the most part, to get to it?
I blame JURASSIC PARK. When that film came out, there was no denying the first T-Rex sequence, as well as a handful of other scenes scattered throughout the film. I know what I went back to see six times in a theater. It was that 20 minutes or so, in the rain, parked there next to the T-Rex paddock, and it was that genuine adrenal rush that seemed to happen each time I saw it in ear-shattering DTS. I remember the temperature change in the theater those first two weeks, the way people would hold their breath, scared out of their wits. That was a summer movie, but for that one stretch of time, it was more. It was primal. It was a seamless illusion, virtual reality, and it was amazing. That one scene propelled the film to its monstrous box-office, I believe, and sent the clear message to the rest of the industry: nothing else matters but the money shot.
”Whatever else you can say about PEARL HARBOR, when it comes to the money sequence—the Japanese bombs wreaking havoc on the U.S. fleet that fateful morning—Michael Bay’s epic delivers. Ninety minutes into this massive movie the attack commences, and the spectacular images come hurtling like fireballs. This is, let’s be honest, what we’re here for, and what most Jerry Bruckheimer-produced movies serve up best: the poetry of destruction. Fighter planes swoop between buildings like something out of STAR WARS. A battleship flips sideways in the Hawaiian harbor, the crew clutching to the edge like something out of TITANIC. Drowning soldiers are shot underwater, enemy bullets strafing the ocean like something out of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.” – David Ansen, NEWSWEEK
Here’s the thing about this action sequence that’s got everyone so hot and bothered: it’s boring.
A great action sequence is equal parts geography and energy. Michael Bay can orchestrate energy, no doubt about it. I am impressed by the sheer physical size of what he’s created, and I certainly can’t imagine being responsible for a spectacle of this size. But five minutes in, I felt myself going numb to the repetitive nature of the images. I found myself thinking, “How many times are they going to fly those two airplanes between those two ships?” I found myself guessing what was CG and what was real. I found myself wondering how long the sequence was actually going to run. I found myself thinking a dozen different things, none of which had anything to do with the events onscreen. Because so little of it was clearly laid out, none of it ended up making an impact.
Wait... I take that back. There was one set of images in the midst of all of it that actually stirred something like sympathy from my black, tiny, Grinch heart. When Betty (James King) was running towards the hospital and the Zeros came in behind her, strafing the pavement with gunfire, there was a moment, some fleeting combination of shots, that made me feel tiny stirrings of empathy, maybe even the faintest echo of horror.
The genius of the opening of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (another Spielberg film where the parts are greater than the whole) was the way it forced us right into the center of that assault on the beach, the way it put it right in our face, up our nose, down our throats. There was no way to shut out the sheer volume of horror, and instead of going numb in the sense that we don’t care about what we’re seeing, we are forced into a total visceral reaction. RYAN is effective in those opening moments because we have no choice but to feel what we’re watching.
Bay fails to connect the events we’re watching with any sort of emotion. We certainly aren’t plunged into the events as participants. Instead, we’re shown images that have all the emotional resonance of a video game cut scene. If this were a SF film like INDEPENDENCE DAY (the closest predecessor to this film I can think of), I wouldn’t complain quite so much about the lack of emotional investment in these scenes.
This is Pearl Harbor, though. This happened. This is something that still matters to many people who are alive. And I think this reduces a tragic, horrible morning to something that’s only degrees away from the WATERWORLD Stunt Spectacular at Universal Studios.
“The Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II has inspired a splendid movie, full of vivid performances and unforgettable scenes, a movie that uses the coming of war as a backdrop for individual stories of love, ambition, heroism and betrayal. The name of that movie is FROM HERE TO ETERNITY.” – A.O. Scott, THE NEW YORK TIMES
I’ll say this about the critics this weekend: they were funny. Many of them seem to have been drafting their reviews for months, with more gags per column inch than a year of Dave Barry. But in their rush to be glib and to destroy Michael Bay’s big dumb Lenny of a movie (“If I had an audience, George, I’d love them and hug them and feed them every day, yes, I would.”), they have also been cruel and overstated.
I’m no fan of Bay’s. I’ve made that perfectly clear in my conversations with Harry over the years, in my writing here on the page, and even when I visited Bay Films twice during production on this picture. It is possible to not be a fan of someone’s work without being a total cock, though, something that seems to have escaped many of the critics who shredded the film, like the much ballyhooed Ray Pride, who broke the press embargo date in his rush to get in his early shots on the film. He attacks Affleck for the excessive spit that seems to gather in the corners of his mouth.
This is film criticism? We’re reduced to making fun of an actor because of some spit?
Who does a review like that serve? The average moviegoing consumer who’s looking for a CONSUMER REPORTS-like summary of the movie with a simple number score? The discerning cineaste who wouldn’t be caught dead in the theater anyway? Or is it just a point of pride (pun intended)? Is it just a chance to flex your sarcasm muscle for the amusement of yourself and a handful of other entertainment writers?
On the other hand, I’d like to reserve a bit of scorn and contempt for the writers who went to the PEARL HARBOR junket in Hawaii last week and wrote about the premiere without even the slightest sense of context. In particular, it was the coverage by Garth Franklin, the damn fine fellow who runs Dark Horizons, and by Jeff Wells of Reel.com that made me wonder where Hunter S. Thompson is when you need him.
Reading the description of the event that took place less than 1200 feet from the place where the USS ARIZONA still lies, its crew still entombed within, I could help but feel a flash of genuine anger. I guess it’s nothing compared to that incredible SAVING PRIVATE RYAN premiere that Spielberg threw on the beach at Normandy, or that incredible party he had Wolfgang Puck cater at Auschwitz when SCHINDLER’S LIST opened.
Oh, wait... that’s right. Neither of those things happened. Because Spielberg had the proper respect for the weight of what he was making films about. These are sacred places now, places where enormous loss of life has consecrated the grounds, where one should offer personal respects to the people who lost their lives under such horrific circumstances. These are not places you go to throw a fireworks display.
Howard Rosenberg came the closest to a sane response with his incredulous piece about “a junket that will live in infamy” in THE LOS ANGELES TIMES:
“Give Disney credit for knowing what turns on these media suckers and suck-ups, whose snap-tos and crisp salutes to Hollywood made this cosmic stunt possible. Disney made them sob by wrapping PEARL HARBOR in Old Glory. It brought in Faith Hill to belt out the National Anthem. It had Navy SEALs parachute from a Black Hawk helicopter. It had F-15 fighters fly above the carrier in a "missing man" formation. It paraded before teary media eyes, radio mikes and TV lenses aged survivors of the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack that killed more than 2,400 Americans and drew the U.S. into World War II. Disney didn't stop there. It set off 20 minutes of massive fireworks. It displayed a vintage B-25 bomber and a P-40 fighter. It put out white party tents and brought in the Honolulu Symphony Pops Orchestra. It rolled out co-stars Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale like red carpets, and delivered them, along with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Michael Bay and the invited veterans, for interview after interview before and after this sneak peek at PEARL HARBOR before 2,000 on the carrier's 4.5-acre flight deck. When the black, oily smoke had cleared, TV's lumps in the throat did what Disney expected them to do, what Disney had invited them there to do. They fell all apart.”
When Harry and I talked about my reasons for deciding not to see PEARL HARBOR (I’ll explain below), I told him a lot of it was due to the way it had been sold. I found it off-putting. As I mentioned, we visited Bay Films twice during production, and both times, we were welcomed by Jennifer Klein and by Michael himself. Both times, we were shown bits and pieces of the film out of context. The first time, it was a batch of animatics for the film’s central attack sequence. The second time, we saw about 15 to 20 minutes of the attack, quite a bit of the footage with Kate Beckinsale and the distorted lens effect in the attack’s aftermath, and the scene where FDR stands up. I thought what we saw was interesting, but not terribly persuasive. Still, I was willing to walk in open minded until a few weeks ago when Disney kicked into high gear and poisoned me.
There’s something ghoulish about the way they’ve been feeding off this particular corpse, and the way their temporary leave of sanity seems to have infected so many others. Every network did a PEARL HARBOR related something despite the fact that we’re seven months away from the actual anniversary of the attack. Why do all these specials for this weekend?
And speaking of this weekend and TV programming, where was Roger Ebert in all this?
“PEARL HARBOR is a two-hour movie squeezed into three hours, about how on Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese staged a surprise attack on an American love triangle. Its centerpiece is 40 minutes of redundant special effects, surrounded by a love story of stunning banality. The film has been directed without grace, vision or originality, and although you may walk out quoting lines of dialogue, it will not be because you admire them.”
Those are strong words about Disney’s biggest box-office offering of the season, Roger.
They would have been stronger had they been delivered to a national television audience this weekend, the opening weekend of the movie.
For many Americans, the tradition of “thumbs up, thumbs down” has become shorthand for any and all film criticism, and no matter what anyone thinks about the rest of the critical press, Roger’s opinion via his television show is a trusted presence in American culture.
So, yes, it bothers me that Disney produces his show and for some reason, he sat this weekend out, choosing to do a special DVD show instead. I understand; I love my bookcase full of DVDs more than I love my sister, but this is a case of priorities. If PEARL HARBOR is as bad as Ebert says it is, then he should have been there, toe to toe with it in the marketplace this weekend. Instead, he’s written it a free pass. By next weekend, word of mouth will have kicked in, and Ebert’s slam of the film on his show will be an empty gesture.
And that’s where I found myself as the weekend finally arrived. Just generally sort of disgusted with the whole thing. I didn’t have any feelings about the film, but the way it was sold to me left me totally uninterested. I felt like I was being told that I had to see it, that I had no choice, that it was the only logical thing to do this weekend. And when a film’s hype becomes that overwhelming, I tend to shut down and back off. Occasionally, I am totally absorbed in it, as I was for EPISODE I, but that’s uncommon these days. In this case, I decided I wasn’t going to waste one minute of my birthday weekend fighting lines for this film or sitting in a theater showing it. I decided that if I was going to see it, it would be a couple of weeks from the opening, once the crowds had thinned, once the noise had died down, when I could just see it and have my own reaction, no baggage attached. I know marketing and the actual movie are different things, and I felt myself becoming predisposed towards one because of the other in a way that wasn’t going to be fair to the film.
Then I tried to see MOULIN ROUGE. Three different times. To no avail. Because it’s f’ing busy.
And I was on the phone with my new girl, telling her about MOULIN ROUGE, and she asked to go see PEARL HARBOR instead. I hesitated for a moment, and she said, “Please?”
Some things are more powerful than even Disney hype turned up to full volume.
Long line? Sure. No problem. Sold out? Yeah, but it was on 2,000 screens in a two square block area in Burbank so we found one that wasn’t sold out and we went to eat dinner in the meantime. All things considered, it was a lovely, leisurely evening, and as the trailers played, I was in a perfect movie-viewing mood. The new FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING trailer helped a lot. It’s a brilliant, magical piece of filmmaking, 2:41 that convey more emotion and adventure than anything I’ve seen in a theater this year.
And then the film starts, no logos up front. Just the shot of the crop duster against the swollen red sun and the single title: PEARL HARBOR.
Cinema is a language. There are certain things that are done in mainstream film that are simply part of that language, basic punctuation marks, and when those things are done in certain variant patterns, it means something. There’s a message being sent.
When a film eschews the standard opening studio logos and simply has a main title and no credits, it tells us that what we are about to see is important. It means something. This is not just a movie. This is a journey. We’re about to go somewhere, and when we reach that other side, we will be changed for having gone. Michael Bay knows how to use the moment, knows full well what he’s saying, and his running time says the exact same thing. You don’t ask your audience for three hours or more of their time unless you’ve got something to say.
”You are so beautiful it hurts.”
”It’s your nose that hurts.”
”No... it’s my heart.”
PEARL HARBOR, screenplay by Randall Wallace
It was David Poland who directed my attention to the story about Randall Wallace’s attempt to distance himself from PEARL HARBOR via an appearance on RUSH & MALLOY over the weekend. Poor form. Wallace went through arbitration in order to get sole screenplay credit on the film. He’s publishing his own novelization of the film, a piece of “serious” fiction. He’s moved on already to a film he’s both writing and directing, a film I gave a very favorable script review to recently called WE WERE SOLDIERS ONCE AND YOUNG. At this point, Wallace should take the lumps for this film. He wrote it in large part, and people familiar with the various drafts all agree that the final film reflects what Wallace originally set down. The film is riddled with historical inaccuracies too numerous to mention, many of which have already appeared in the various Talk Backs under Harry’s review and Alexandra DuPont’s review, but after a certain number, you just stop caring. This film was obviously not intended as a history lesson. Ben Affleck himself told me so, barfing up the party line every time I saw his mug grinning on another of his junket appearances. “History is subjective, and winners write history, and this isn’t history, but if it was, it would subjective, because that’s what history is, and that’s the truth about history, which is true. And subjective.” Isn’t Affleck supposed to be a fan of Howard Zinn, one of the most interesting historians working in America right now? Or am I getting the feeling that Damon was the Zinn fan?
If there’s any one great flaw to PEARL HARBOR, it is the screenplay. It is, simply put, one of the worst structured films I’ve ever seen. There’s no excuse for this to be three plus hours. Not with this story. I don’t think I would have liked a short film any better, but I certainly would have disliked it quicker. Structurally, this film builds to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Anything afterwards is anticlimax by definition. There were a dozen different ways to restructure the love story to make it pay off completely with that attack sequence.
The portrayal of the Japanese in the film is as patently offensive as the portrayal of Dorrie Miller, played here by Cuba Gooding Jr., who seems to still be accepting his Academy Award in every role he plays. I expect backflips and chest-thumping each time he appears, and he’s given any number of golden opportunities to be both celebratory and stoic, his two settings. His role is as clear-cut a case of tokenism in mainstream films as I’ve ever seen, and pointing out to me that Dorrie Miller was real only reinforces the point. He was real, but this script doesn’t do a damn thing right in capturing what life for Miller must have been like. Instead, it reduces him to a handful of scenes, each one a clichÃ©, and it ties things up with a nice neat bow. His is a great story, and one worth telling. It’s done mere lip service here, and that’s a shame.
Like Miller, the Japanese are viewed through the prism of the 21st century. This film doesn’t present a view of the world the way it must have been in the ‘40s. Instead, it offers us a Levi’s commercial version of the ‘40s, all icons and symbols and shorthand. The idea that the Japanese stood around, saddened by the role they were forced to play in WWII, is patently absurd, and any serious study of the forces in play at the time would render it impossible to watch these scenes without laughing loudly. The Japanese generals are directed to mug for the camera like Iron Eyes Cody, the Indian who cried in the anti-pollution TV spots back in the ‘70s. It’s shameless revisionism, as is the portrayal of President Roosevelt (Jon Voight). I give credit to Voight and to the makeup team on the film. It’s a fairly convincing recreation of the man on the outside. There’s nothing for Voight to play here, though, aside from one tremendously corny scene. It seems pointless to cut to FDR in Washington. We don’t learn anything at all about the real political maneuvering that was going on here. The subject of how FDR made his decisions in the early days of WWII is one that could fuel two movies, much less an interesting subplot in a big action epic.
That reminds me... James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Philip Kaufman, Terrence Malick, Richard Donner, and a handful of other filmmakers should get together and petition the DGA to be given co-directing credit on this one. Bay has lifted so many visual ideas from so many other stronger filmmakers at this point that he seems to have confused the meanings of any of the moves at this point, slapping them together haphazardly, leading the film to lurch forward in fits and starts as Bay’s powers of pastiche fail him here and he ends up with a Frankenstein monster, stitched together and out of control.
By film’s end, I remained unconvinced that Ben Affleck can carry a film. I’ve seen FORCES OF NATURE, BOUNCE, ARMAGEDDON, and even PHANTOMS, and I’ve never seen anything that would suggest he has the charisma to be the center of a film of this size. At his best, Affleck is an amiable goofball. His one moment of inspired performance in this film is a bit of slapstick early on with a champagne bottle, but it leads to the dialogue above, as mawkish and phony as the infamous “animal crackers in the underwear’ scene in ARMAGEDDON. Affleck and Beckinsale have nothing resembling chemistry, nor do Beckinsale and Hartnett. One can’t help but feel these actors were affordable, and that’s the best that can be said about the reasons they were put together. All three have done good work in films like CHASING AMY and THE VIRGIN SUICIDES and THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO, so the fault can’t possibly lie with them... can it?
Peppering the film with familiar character faces from better films and other walks of life is an old familiar Bruckheimer tactic, and he doesn’t disappoint here. I couldn’t help but happily bark “SPUD!!” the first time Ewan Bremner showed up onscreen. Every time I saw him, I thought, “Your leeeah-sure... is mah pleeeeah-sure,” and pictured him in TRAINSPOTTING, an astonishing cartoon with a human core. Here, he’s just a cartoon. He’s got a stutter, he’s named Red, and he gets to smooch James King a bit. William Fichtner, so good so often in films as disparate as CONTACT and ALBINO ALLIGATOR, is wasted here in an embarrassing early scene. Tom Sizemore seems to be defined by his goofy hat. Alec Baldwin makes me nervous as Dolittle. Can’t put my finger on what it is. There’s just something corpulent and mannered about his work that puts me off. When Leland Orser showed up as “the twitchy guy who’s freaking out,” I entertained the fleeting thought of walking out. Orser is literally a walking clichÃ© now. He’s done the twitchy freak out in so many times now that it has no power. It’s a joke.
Hans Zimmer’s score for the film and the Faith Hill song that plays over the closing credits are both sonic wallpaper, inoffensive and unmemorable, and it’s the perfect compliment to John Schwartzmann’s lovely but hollow and often inappropriate cinematography.
I could go on, but it seems to me that PEARL HARBOR is already in the cultural rear-view, chewed up over the course of the holiday weekend, and I’ve pretty much said everything I wanted to. Normally, I wouldn’t have even written this review, since the film’s already out there in the marketplace, but I got so many letters and I got asked about it so often in chat, it just seemed right. If you were expecting more rancor, a la my CELL review, I’m sorry to disappoint. I don’t think the film’s worth getting that hot over. If I were to say something positive, I’d say this is the closest Bay’s come yet to making something that actually looks like a real movie. To anyone who says I can't simply shut my brain off and enjoy the ride, I say I don't understand how anyone can. To me, being asked not to think about something in order to enjoy it automatically makes it suspect. I'm entertained by things that make me think. It's all part of the same thing.
In the end, my favorite film of Bay’s is only 60 seconds long, a commercial last year that involved two invisible lovers getting together and shedding clothes with abandon. It was funny and well shot and even a little sexy with what it suggested. There was more genuine human emotion in the interaction between those two special effects... between two invisible people... than there is in three hours of PEARL HARBOR.
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May 29, 2001, 8:42 a.m. CST
But it wasnt that good either. Cut some of the love story and give it a different ending and it would have been a half way decent movie.
May 29, 2001, 8:51 a.m. CST
Man you are SO jaded by your 'movie critic' badge that you can not simply turn off your expectations and enjoy the ride. Sad, truly sad...
May 29, 2001, 8:57 a.m. CST
So now we critize movies because of the premiere parties? It's true the sttructure of the movie is a #$% up and that the two planes fly over the two ships one too many times. Apart from that, I liked the movie very much. And I am not ashamed of saying so.
May 29, 2001, 8:59 a.m. CST
Actually, Doris "Dorie" Miller received his Navy cross on 27 May, 1942, on board USS Enterprise (CV-6). It was presented by Admiral Chester Nimitz at a ceremony while the ship was in Pearl for refit. Here are pictures of the ceremony. http://history.navy.mil/photos/pers-us/uspers-m/d-miller.htm Miller, however, was not the cliche that the film made him out to be, and in fact, had gunnery training on the 5-inch guns on board USS Nevada while on teporary transfer from the West Virginia in July of 1941. Miller, however, had never fired a Browning .50-caliber AA gun prior to 7 Dec. 1941. The movie depicts Gooding as firing a 20mm Oerkelion twin mount, in a configuration more common to the Royal Navy than the U.S. Navy. But that's just one of hundreds of stupid mistakes the movie makes, for no apparent reason (such as the RM RAF sqdrn code, the 303rd, which was not an Eagle sqdrn). I was saddened and pissed off that the movie tacked on the Dorie Miller story in such a manner. Honestly, his true story is more compelling and interesting than the blatant Casablanca rip-off they gave us with Rafe, Danny and Evelyn.
May 29, 2001, 9:07 a.m. CST
For once since I've been visiting AICN, I completely agree with a Moriarty column. And it scares me to death. I have always enjoyed taking Mor to task for his somewhat limited vision, but damned if he doesn't hit the nail on the goddamned head. I went to see PH with dread in my heart, and came out...ambivelant. There are so many things wrong here it's useless to try to pinpoint any. This is soulless cinema, and that to me is the worst kind. Bay is not evil, I think. He just doesn't seem to care whose sensibilities he offends anymore. And why should he?A 75 million opening weekend will allow anyone a free pass. Does this mean Bay is just gonna specialize in true life disasters from now on? You never know, come Memorial Day 2004 we might be discussing Michael Bay's new film about Oklahoma City and Timothy McVeigh. because if they are willing to mine one disaster for pure entertainment why not another?
May 29, 2001, 9:11 a.m. CST
May 29, 2001, 9:11 a.m. CST
When will you guys learn? When you talk about Hollywood films you are not talking about an art-form rather an attempt to make money. C'mon! Film-makers in it for the craft can tell a story without spending more than a couple of million. Once the budget spirals into the tens of millions you gotta get suspicious. And you are right, Moriarty, that premiere was disgusting, absolutely disgusting. I can just imagine the gleeful suits sitting in their offices drooling in anticipation as the opening weekend gross figures came in. Yeah, this was an attempt to make money, not to tell a story. Shame on your country that it has come to this. Raping your own history to make a quick buck. Of course, the rest of the world (minus the Japanese) can only be thankful that this film was largely limited to an American aspect of the war. But this isn't the place to discuss the erasal of Europeans from Ryan or U571.
May 29, 2001, 9:14 a.m. CST
can you say "script"? can you say "character"? nobody seemed to work very hard on those things, did they? by the time the zeroes finally started their attack, I found myself rooting for them, so they would shut everyone up. jeez, this movie is a steaming pile...
May 29, 2001, 9:17 a.m. CST
One more thing. For all NON Americans out there who are waiting to pounce on us for whatever reason concerning this film....save it. It's tired, it's old, and it doesn't make a damn bit of difference. Get your own houses in order then come talk to us about the need to live a better collective life as a nation. One stupid film does NOT represent the rest of this nation or it's people.
May 29, 2001, 9:17 a.m. CST
by Captain Katanga
Very thought provoking, well done. I'm in the UK, so haven't seen this film yet, but my GOD does it look corny!
May 29, 2001, 9:25 a.m. CST
Um, ouch, dear Professor. Between you and the Talk Backers, I'll never go see a movie with my war-movie-loving father again. :) What can I say? Dear Papa lowered my standards, and I enjoyed a war/action movie for its thrills alone. Sigh. Anyhoo. Excellent PH writeup, Mori. I'll make up my apparent lapse in standards to the site with some sort of obsessive DVD deconstruction. Or something. Hi. Traumatized, A.DuP.
May 29, 2001, 9:36 a.m. CST
Anyone who likes this movie, doesn't understand good cinema. They'll avoid a certain movie because it doesn't have 3000 cgi effects, or doesn't have explosions left, right, and center. It upsets me that movies like Pearl Harbour are being spoon-fed to the average film goer. Anyone reading this who says that they liked the movie should really think about it for a second. This is cinematic trite.
May 29, 2001, 9:39 a.m. CST
.. went out of their way to PAN this film, on every channel here in St. Louis. The most mainstream, conservative broadcast available, even put their bad reviews up front with the headlines! They considered it a big story! Sure, I suppose it's a slow news week in American Corporate-Owned News terms, but this still astounded me. The other thing that they seemed to do on every channel was interview Pearl Harbor veterans after viewing the film, and selecting those responses that called the film "offensive" to the memory of what they experienced. The news gloated over the fact that no box office records were broken. They claimed that the only people who liked the movie were teenaged girls drooling over Ben Afflick. What's going on here?
May 29, 2001, 9:48 a.m. CST
Yeah, folks. Pearl Harbor IS corny. It's kinda big and dump in a lot of places, too. Insulting or cheapening to the real Pearl Harbor? Fuck no. Having a gaudy premiere for the film next to the sucken Arizona maybe questionable for its taste but maybe so was opening The Rock on the real Alcatraz. It's just what they do. Maybe somebody should ask the veterans if this movie offends them.
May 29, 2001, 9:48 a.m. CST
I was going to avoid this movie based on the blatant attempt by Bay/Bruckheimer/Disney to make a buck off the tragedy at Pearl Harbor without making any attempt to honor those that fell there. I was going to avoid this movie for the way a real life hero was thrown into the token-black-guy role. I was going to avoid it for the blatant historical inaccuracies. I was going to avoid it because, once again, hollywood has drawn a cardboard cutout picture of Asians in film. I was going to avoid it because they decided a firebombing raid of a civilian center was an uplifting finale to the movie, including a line by Baldwin about "killing as many of those bastards as I can". Bastards, I guess, being Japanese civilians. Nice. After reading several reviews of this movie, I can safely come up with another reason to avoid this movie. Because is sucks.
May 29, 2001, 9:48 a.m. CST
by Key Grip
I had the unfortunate task of attending the Touchstone Pearl Harbor premiere event with my Grandfather who, for reasons that are too long to get into here, was at Pearl when the attack occurred and was one of Disney's "special honorees." My grandfather, who has plenty of good humor (when he saw on the oversized gold-leafed invite that it was an "extravaganza" to "honor America's greatest defining moment--the tragic bombing of Pearl Harbor," he told me that Disney had "more irony than taste."), left the event with more than a few choice words for the "shabby" way in which the "gravity of the situation" was ignored by anyone involved. He was rightly off-put by the "slick" (as he put it) way the day was all about celebration, and when someone (I don't know who it was) called for a moment of silence to commemorate "those who served," as a cap to an otherwise maudlin speech brimming with insincerity, the old man smirked and sniffed through his nose in, I believe, genuine disgust. The straw may have been when Michael Bay met my grandfather and said--and I can't blame the guy, maybe he really thought what he said was a sincere expression of gratitude--"We're going to honor you with the biggest opening day in film history." And then he thanked my grandfather (who he wrongly called "Tom" after he'd been introduced not once but twice as John) and toddled off with a headphone-wearing publicist or assistant who emitted a complete air of we-have-somewhere-better-to-be attitude. Of course, by that point my Grandfather and I had seen the movie and he could not garner the nerve to tell Mr. Bay (as the old man called him when introduced, showing the overly ebullient and astonishingly self-absorbed director more respect than he, my Grandfather, had received from the man) that it was a "complete piece of shit." The old man's words, of course. He had really hoped for something like "Saving Private Ryan," and was more than disappointed. My grandfather mostly laughed about the day--at least superficially--but I think he was clearly pissed-off at the marketing machine Disney rolled out at an event that cheapened the meaning of that day fifty years ago in the eyes of a man who was there to see it. Moriarty's words could have come right out of my Grandfather's mouth, and I think his review (of the movie and the gaudy marketing) hits every nail square on the head. Good for you, Moriarty. Good for you.
May 29, 2001, 9:51 a.m. CST
Yikes. Frighteningly dead on. I too thought the big "premiere" at Pearl Harbour was pretty tasteless, especially since they were ENGINEERING it to make the veterans cry--that's just infuriating. Saving Private Ryan EARNED that notoriety. PH, as it's done the whole time, tried to manufacture it. It's astounding how blatantly this film is trying to go over the same ground as SPR and Titanic in its' marketing, but not naturally--instead the Disney musketeers are prodding it along on a forced march. Sickening. And I agree as well with the comments about the film. Almost everyone who's defending it has to exclaim, "Just turn your brain off and enjoy!" or "Just go along for the ride!" or "Don't go in with your expectations too high!" Sorry, but isn't that pretty much what cults and evil military organizations and every other group who's trying to gain power over thought tries to make you do? I can suspend disbelief, but when you have to simply reduce yourself to a bored idiot to get something out of a film, it's a sign that the movie is too lazy. They should be working UP to our level. Why is that so hard? Action films like Gladiator and The Matrix can do it and still deliver the thrills and chills for those of us with low IQs. So why are we snobs for insisting that other action films, especially ones pretending to be "important", try to engage us on an intellectual level?
May 29, 2001, 9:57 a.m. CST
Yes that's right, and Memento cost as much as the PREMIERE PARTY ALONE of Pearl Harbor. Way to go Jerry.
May 29, 2001, 10:02 a.m. CST
The movie was awesome! It had everything that needed to be in it. There's was the right amount of everything, humour, action, romance, drama, tragedy. Its the best movie of the year and definately the biggest. Biggest being the definate contender for top 25 high-grossing movies of all time and best movie of year being the movie that I'll be watching more than once this year which I already have done--twice this weekend. You know why Pearl Harbor did so well this memorial day weekend? Because most of the idiots that say that this movie sucks decided to watch it anyways. I enjoyed it very much and encourage others to go enjoy this summer ride film. Its definate epic war/love story. Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer put in the right touches to this film. I didn't see lots of Michael Bay's signature shots but they were still there. This movie most definately goes right up there with all the classics. I've been reading up on the premier of this event and the war veterans really enjoyed it. Of course it was painful to watch during that moment of the attack but it the story was told quite well and was not biased. I really loved those scenes with the Japanese planning the attack. It showed them as warriors with integrity and passion. When box office results are more gigantic than critic comments, you know that the filmmakers are doing something right and I'm glad this movie exploded into the screen hit everyone by surprise cuz I've always loved Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay films. Michael Bay was the right director for this job. Nobody else would have done it better. PEACE!
May 29, 2001, 10:12 a.m. CST
Bey/Bruckheimer et al should try to get things right, rely on facts. I am going to rag on the movie called The Rock, I love Connery, he rules. Now for the truth "VX gas" does not melt skin. It is the best pest/insecticide ever developed. Three companies actually developed it at the same time ICI, Ortho, and a Sweedish chemical Co. Why am I telling you this. Organophosphates should make for decent screenplays. Hell I can't write but I have some great ideas. Hanta Virus in NY Subway system, anyone ever see the rodents. Remember USAMRIID says every influenza virus varient remains in the waterfowl population. Oh before I forget, did some terrorist, introduce Nine Virus to the metro NY area.
May 29, 2001, 10:13 a.m. CST
by Fatal Discharge
CGI effects are awesome and bring a lot of unbelievable sights to the eyes of filmgoers. For those who snobbily look down on them, don't blame the technology for the ineptness of filmmakers who ignore making a good film that can stand by itself without the effects. I found the marketing for this film to be tasteless as well. Instead of taking the high ground and being serious about horrific events, it showed the pinball game effects and explosions as something to be excited about. Instead of the bloody hell of Saving Private Ryan's beginning we get a PG-rated war where the horror of a hospital ward in wartime is shown in soft-focus. For those who say a film's historical accuracy doen't matter...well, like it or not this artform accounts for the only thing some people will learn about certain events. Yes, people should be more informed by other media but let's face it - a lot aren't. Moriarty makes a good point about Ebert's review (or lack of one this weekend). When one big media conglomerate controls so many outlets, they feed us what they want the public to know and hide what they don't want us to see. But then again it's been almost 20 years since 1984 took place, hasn't it?
May 29, 2001, 10:15 a.m. CST
by Darth Pixel
"That reminds me... James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Philip Kaufman, Terrence Malick, Richard Donner, and a handful of other filmmakers should get together and petition the DGA to be given co-directing credit on this one." I knew this would be a major concern in the reviews.
May 29, 2001, 10:18 a.m. CST
Hell it's all NBC to the government
May 29, 2001, 10:24 a.m. CST
alright, everyone's entitled the their own opinion, and nobody is actually "wrong". BUT, I do think you are wrong when you say there were none of Bays "money shots" in the film. Now, I haven't seen the movie (and I'm not going to), but the trailers and tv spots are laced with them!! "Cool" angles, people moving in slow motion, those are all money shots, pal!
May 29, 2001, 10:35 a.m. CST
by Buzz Maverik
POKEMON is them getting back at us for George Bush Sr. barfing on their Prime Minister. George barfed as revenge for sushi, which in turn is revenge for the fact that we released a Kevin Costner CD in Japan. The Kevin Costner music was payback for the singing duo Pink Lady, which was revenge for the atomic bombings, which was payback for Pearl Habor. Stop the madness, people!
May 29, 2001, 10:36 a.m. CST
And the ending part where that guy dies? *I say that guy due to spoilers** and he says, "It's getting cold...,write (something) on my tombstone...?????? What cheesy ass shit is that? I laughed in sarcastic unbelievable scorn at that part! Man, oh man. But I did like the repetitive bombing of them boats, man, that was some action! I didn't care about it going on for 30 or so minutes...it made up for the other bullcrap in the movie, I believe!
May 29, 2001, 10:39 a.m. CST
The marketing behemouth that is Disney is doing it again. Getting the general public to lower it's standards so that it will put another buck into the pockets of Disney execs. And this time, they've gone too far; they're using the tragedy that is Pearl Harbor to do it. Another thing? When a picture of this size (epic proportions) cannot stand on it's own merit on opening day, i.e. "...this year's Titanic.....Saving Private Ryan...." - there's something wrong with it. It it walks like a duck, then it's a duck. It it smells than it's shit. I am with Moriarty - I cannot just shut down my brain for some brainless entertainment. Hell, that's not how Disney was marketing this film anyways! They wanted a war epic with a romance at the heart. They are playing the general public like schmucks on a string and luring them in like zombies to see this movie. Sad. Hey, I LOVE cinematic summer entertainment as much as the next person! Witness, "Jaws". Perfect example of a summer film! BUT, it had (and still has) a heart and soul and doesn't play you like an idiot - it respects its audience. Or how about "The Rock"? I liked that movie - it will always be Bay's best, because it was fun and not stupid. And even "Die Hard" will remain my favorite Christmas movie. Remember when John McTiernan had balls? Just see "Die Hard" - the all-too-perfect summer action movie. Oh, those were the days.....might as well re-release these movies. They'll still hold up against such flicks as PH. BTW: I did see the Mummy Returns. Annoying. Uselessly Loud. A entertaining movie invites the viewer into it's world so that you get lost. That's entertainment.
May 29, 2001, 10:40 a.m. CST
by otis von zipper
One of the few times I've read a long article on this site in its entirety. Mindless entertainment is fine. A Lot of people go for it, something I find sad, but I don't have a big problem with it. My problem is with the marketing and media frenzy that goes with these things, and this movie has done it in spades. The talkback about the grandfather who was invited to a premiere summed it up beautifully; this movie is all lip service in honoring an historical event and the real job is to make money. I didn't LOVE Saving Private Ryan, but it had a story to tell and it did it's historical homage with dignity (a concept Mr. Bay and Bruckheimer know nothing about). Some veterns have spoken favorably about the movie; that's nice. I like the idea that these men and women not are not insulted by the picture. I love a good war picture. I love the intermingling of larger than life events and human emotion, of heroism and fraility, of blind hatred and compassion. These are the elements of a good war picture. So far I haven't heard of these elements existing in Pearl Harbour. Would I enjoy a well done movie about this subject? Of course. From Here to Eternity already exists. And we need look no further than the story of Dorie Miller to know that there could be more wonderful films about "the day that shall live in infamy". I've gone on too long, so I'll stop now.
May 29, 2001, 10:40 a.m. CST
Take it back Moriarty.
May 29, 2001, 10:49 a.m. CST
Die Hard, The Rock and Jaws did not rely on a true-life historical tragedy like PH as a basis for "brainless" summer entertainment. They relied on characterizations, plot. You know, things that CGI seems to be replacing these days in our movies. And yes, the LOTR trailer should represent the basis for how movies should make you feel. That trailer has more emotions than the Mummy Returns, PH combined.
May 29, 2001, 11:02 a.m. CST
by Pallando Blue
Or: "If I Got A Cash Refund After The Movie, Did My $8.25 Still Count Toward The PH Box Office?" *** First off, let me say bang-on dead accurate review up there, Moriarty. I still haven't been able to figure out if they crammed amazingly undramatic war footage into the middle of a blah summer-romance story, or if a TV-movie that would have starred Richard Chamberlain 15 years ago got slapped onto either end of a mediocre action flick. Glad I didn't even know about the premiere crap--what I read in Moriarty's piece and the post by Key Grip above makes feel a little ill. *** What the hell was I doing there in the first place? Myself and a few coworkers and other friends had wasted most of the day Friday replaying the new Fellowship of the Ring trailer on our PCs, and generally freaking out over it; that there's finally a sense of PJ that uncounted still shots on the web, and the last theatrical trailer (basically a series of still-shots), hadn't conveyed. (Brilliance. Can hardly wait for December.) I had called the local google-plex the day before, to find out where they had their copy of the trailer. That's when I heard it was before PH. Felt queasy, hadn't planned on seeing that one. And of the 4 houses they were showing PH in, only one had the trailer; he gave me that cinema's showtimes. That Friday I told this to my friends and coworkers, and there was much debate. Finally we said let's get the tix, have many a beer, and see the trailer on the big screen with big sound (that room was the Big One in the googleplex), and check out PH out of a guilty, morbid curiosity. Which we did. When we sat down, everyone noticed how oddly warm the theater was. Jokes about Hawaiian realism and gimmick movies. Overheard many people going to complain, and the buzz was "They're working on it," the busted AC. So we settle in. The lights dim, we squirm, AND THEN NO FELLOWSHIP TRAILER. Everything else, including the Planet of the Apes trailer that's been out for-damn-ever. At least 7 trailers, and no Fellowship. We were pissed. And I was pissed and embarrassed, cause I supposedly had done the research that had partially convinced my friends to be there. Then PH started, and I sank even lower in my seat. [Read M's review above, three or four times] An aside, I don't know about everywhere else in the country, but in my own highly populated urban area there was no particularly long line at the normally very busy theater, and our 8:00 show certainly came nowhere near to selling out. Where the hell did that box office come from? Gone soon, believe me. Anyway. *** PH finally finished, and everyone piled out of the theater, plucking at our sweat-soaked shirts, wiping our brows and doing shirt buttons back up. On our way out we notice a crowd by the theater manager's station. The crowd looks hot, thirsty, and miserable. Gotta be from our show. We ask what's up, and are told that those with a stub for the 8:00 PH will be given a full cash refund. HOT DOG! And Damn Straight, might I add. So, I sat through an uncomfortable piece of shit, uncomfortable on SO many levels, but at least I didn't pay for it. We went to the brewpub downstairs and had a few more beers. (That's when I was told about the grotesque hype machine Disney put out. All I'd seen was the same trailer and TV ads, didn't know about that party. Again, felt queasy, and was very grateful my coin was kept from their coffers.) *** Here's what's veerrry interesting. When I was signing for my refund I asked the manager what had happened to the Fellowship trailer, what we'd REALLY come to see, and that I'd been told on the phone the day before was on that PH print. He told me it WAS on that print when they put it together on Thursday, as per orders--but that they'd gotten a call that morning (I didn't think to ask from whom) and told to remove it from that movie, and put it in front of MEMENTO! So they swapped it with the POTA trailer. While I'm kinda ticked I didn't see it in the big PH theater with the surround sound etc. (and ticked I hadn't called again of Friday to double-check), I can only applaud that a smaller, much more deserving movie is being rewarded with a potential extra audience. I just hope the theater starts advertising this fact. I've already seen Memento, but I'll happily see it again--planned to, anyway! *** NOW then, has this happened anywhere else? I'm trying to figure out if "the call" was from New Line to not help out PH's turnout, or from the theater chain higher-ups, to help get more people in to see a smaller-run film that's still trying to get its word-of-mouth ball rolling. Very curious. *** P.S. Don't see Pearl Harbor. Not for the Action, and not for the Love Story. Both are woefully inadequate, and if possible even detract from each other. There's nothing for either audience. Bluh.
May 29, 2001, 11:03 a.m. CST
by Jedi Pimp
How the hell was Ben Affleck able to write letters to his girl friend if his character couldn't read? Tell me that and I'll never speak of this movie again!
May 29, 2001, 11:04 a.m. CST
TITANIC, love or hate it, had it right. Create characters that are surrounded by history, not taking part in it. Case in point: TITANIC's fictional characters met historical figures during the course of the film. PEARL HARBOR's fictional characters REPLACED historical figures. I.E. Three U.S. planes got into the air during the bombing, not TWO fictional characters. There were many, MANY thing wrong with this movie that were offensive to the memory of P.H. Things that every American should have learned in basic history class. On a cinematic level, the movies main characters were less realized than character with MUCH LESS screen time. Thus, by the time the bombing began, I could care less. The SFX didn't even impress me by this time. I WAS BORED OUT OF MY SKULL!!!! If I was driving, I would have left BEFORE the bombing. On the positve side; Voight, Ackroyd, Gooding Jr., and Mako gave strong performances. They were characters I would have liked to have followed.
May 29, 2001, 11:12 a.m. CST
I saw the movie last night at the IMAX at the Universal City Walk, and it was packed. The audience laughed and "oh my'ed" all the way through it. When it was over, they clapped. As they were leaving, I heard comments like "It wasn't as bad as they said -- I liked it." Word of mouth from the real movie goers is going to make this movie a major financial hit and will not immediately taper off as the critics are hoping. By lowering everyone's expectations with their overkill, the critics have now reinforced the film's success. Remember SCARY MOVIE? Critically panned, box office monster. PEARL HARBOR definitely could have been better, but it delivers. And this is show BUSINESS.
May 29, 2001, 11:14 a.m. CST
This mentality of wanting to destroy the big giant is a hoot. It's so much easier to destroy than to create. Keep munching on those sour grapes, Moriatry, and let's see what happen if one of your screenplays gets produced.
May 29, 2001, 11:16 a.m. CST
Great writing there, encapuslating alot of my feelings why I, much to my friends' astonishment, gave this big movie a pass on seeing opening weekend. Sad to think that by going to see Shrek again I was probably seeing more human characters than the flesh and blood cardboard cut outs that Bay is giving us. *Sigh* If I want a bloated historical epic, I'll pop in my DVD of "Cleopatra".
May 29, 2001, 11:19 a.m. CST
To answer your question, Ben Affleck's character was dyslexic, not illiterate. Like most dyslexics, he scored well in other areas such as math, but had a problem transposing/flipping letters. But he can read and write, only with difficulty and occasionally thanking "dog" he's alive.
May 29, 2001, 11:26 a.m. CST
I do not like B&B movies. Armageddon, The Rock, whatever, although as a former submariner I kind of liked Crimson Tide. I agree with most of the negative comments made on this site as well as other places. The movie could have and should have been done a bit more respectfully in regards to the actual historical event. But don't we have documentaries galore? What about From Here To Eternity, and Tora! Tora! Tora!? A remake of TTT...now that would have been kind of pointless. But that movie was made like 30 years ago! The same amount of time between the real attack and TTT! This movie is designed for the modern movie going audience...namely US. It is not Mr. Bay that is responsible, it is the movie going public that demands this type (read: TITANIC) of movie. That being said, I would rather they do a "fairly" accurate rendition of this important historical event than another Armageddon. If thats what it takes to teach our kids the value of freedom, why not? Better than forgetting about it and starting WWIII....right? And besides, anything that has Jimmy Doolittle, one of the bravest, most talented, influential, yet unsung people of the 20th Century, involved can't be all bad, even if Alec Baldwin played him (yes I felt funny about that also). It may be true that showing the Tokyo raid was unnecessary in the context of the film, but I'm sure glad they did it.
May 29, 2001, 11:34 a.m. CST
by Dark Clown
Moriarity, you've really impressed me with this article on the pop culture rhetoric surrounding and contained within Pearl Harbor. You've shown an intelligence and knowledge of film and popular culture that gives me hope. You are my writer du jour and have inspired me for at least the next couple of hours. Great job!
May 29, 2001, 11:40 a.m. CST
by Brian 2000
I just wanted to say that you were very right about a great many things. I actual admire (yes you read right, an AICN talkbacker who admires something) the fact that you won't accept the "turn your brain off" excuse. It annoys me when people tell me to do so.."oh just turn your brain off" or "oh it's just a popcorn movie". I think thats crap. If you are spending 2-3 hours of a precious day in a theater, then you should have an experience to show for that. By turning your brain off your denying yourself of having anything. When I saw Pearl Harbor Friday night I felt as though I had wasted 6 hours of my life, and worse so because there was not a LOTR trailer!!! I would have given Pearl Harbor an extra star if it would have let me hear that Gollum voice in surround sound!! I say that when people give an excuse for thinking a "popcorn" movie was good because it was a "leave your brain at home" movie, it is just a reason for them to feel secure. They don't want to admit that they liked an unintelligent yet to them inspiring movie. I enjoyed the hell out of The Mummy Returns, but I would be offended with myself if I put that experience aside and told people simply "I enjoyed it". I hated The Patriot, I felt offended by the film as an American. It seemed to be spitting on my past and my intelligence. Some people told me, well yeah it was innacurate and stupid, but it was entertaining. Give me a break. To me you either liked it or you didn't, or you felt it could have been more. I think it's great for a critic to not only attack this idea that offended him but the offensive marketing that resulted. I love movie's because they are an experience, they are OUR mythology. And they are not mere bullshit that is meant to ocupy useless time. I'm reminded of an exchange between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The two were discussing the merits of mythology. Lewis then said Myths are lies, even though lies breathed through silver. Tolkien replied - No, they are not. Then went on to prove the importance and inherent truth in mythology, completely obliterating Lewis's statement. Well movies are our myths, I can't except one that trys to disgrace that fact. Bravo M!
May 29, 2001, 11:45 a.m. CST
Great review. You hit the nail on the head on so many things. The bombing of Pearl Harbor should have been the climax of the film. The scenes afterward were long, unnecessary and anticlimactic. The whole love story plot of the film was soap-opera-ish in the worst way. (SPOILER ALERT, I'm assuming everyone reading this has seen the film so if you haven't divert your eyes now) When Ben Affleck's character apparently dies early in the film I first thought, "Wow, this could be a very bold move, maybe there are some great surprises in store in this film after all. Killing off the name-star of your film before you get halfway through it! This could top the death of that chick in the shower in PSYCHO." But I should have known better. When that "I'm alive" telegram reared it's ugly head I sank in my seat and started thinking to myself, "Alright, so much for that, when do the battle scenes begin." And Alec Baldwin's performance reminded me of some of his comedy skits on Saturday Night Live. (Speaking of which, I'm not sure what to make of Dan Ackroyd's cameo.) Moriarty I commend you for pointing out the real reason this movie rubbed some of us the wrong way -- it was long, it was sappy, it pilfered other moments from other better films, but it was based on a real moment in history that forever changed our nation, and now it's been turned into a merchandised commodity. I'm still pissed at how Titanic turned one of humanity's worst tragedies into a money-making cashcow (buy books, tee-shirts, models, videos! see a musical, play the videogame!). Now we can say the same sad thing about Pearl Harbor.
May 29, 2001, 11:46 a.m. CST
i need you to tell me how to feel. because i can't. let the tv window show me the world. everything is fine. everything is fine. everything is fine. everything is fine. everything is fine. close your eyes. you're bending over. you're grabbing your ankles. here comes the mouse the money and michael bay and they're all taking turns. just enjoy it. shut your mind off. relax. why get upset? be happy with what you have. no need for more. this is the way its been done for years. you're so cynical. there. there. everything is fine.
May 29, 2001, 12:10 p.m. CST
What a wonderful review. It's as if you went into my head after I saw it and took out my thoughts and put them on paper. Well done.
May 29, 2001, 12:19 p.m. CST
I've a few things to say...First up, Congrats to Moriarty on a review which should get some kind of journalistic award, maybe. Secondly, I'm from the UK and haven't seen this movie yet, now I won't be. Not necessarily because of the bad reviews and corny dialogue but because even as a non-US citizen I am seriously and deeply offended by Disney playing up a real-life event of this severity in order to line their own pockets. I can't quite imagine Speilberg premiering Schindler's List in a concentration camp followed by a red carpet meet-and-greet of starving naked Jews followed by a Kosher buffet in a gas chamber. Yet, strong parallels cannot fail to be drawn, whether you want to admit it or not. Countless people died Disney. What's worse, it's not like it happened hundred of years ago. There are people in the US and probably throughout the world who were there at Pearl Harbor on that day, or who's lives were changed forever as a result of losing husbands, parents etc, who were choking back tears after seeing the premiere on TV. Paying tribute is one thing, but cynically dressing a tribute up to mask a marketing push is another thing entirely. Thirdly, Cuba Gooding is a great actor but when will studios learn that tokenism insults the intelligence of EVERY movie-goer regardless of race, and that nobody is fooled by it. Given Disneys wanton disregard for any sort of taste whatsoever surrounding this movie, I'm surprised they didn't try and kill a few birds with one stone and put in a poor black lesbian in a wheelchair just to try and cover a few more ticket sales. I'm surprised there isn't a toy line with battleships with break-apart control towers and soldiers with tear-away limbs. A war movie can be good but just don't treat the audience like snot-nosed idiots without an iota of any intelligence whatsoever. And don't dare dress up a marketing effort by wheeling in soldiers who were there and then making it look as though they like the film. I used to respect Disney. I went to Disneyland and Disneyworld as a child and thought that they put forward morals and ideals that you could be proud of having. The mouse has turned
May 29, 2001, 12:20 p.m. CST
by J Dog Jenkins
Oh My God! That was the most perfect review of this movie I have read (and I've read almost all of them) You nailed every negative aspect of this film yet did it which such enviable class that I was completely taken aback. I am in awe of you sir. Every problem I had with this film you have right up on screen. I'm thinking of writing a story about Pearl Harbor myself (look up my talkback "why?" on harry's review to see how I'm doing it) Not that I feel I could do it better but I'd like to try it myself. As with ID4 they are movies that I had a few problems with that i figured. Go for it. Maybe it'll actually be good. You Moriarty should be the one being animated in the corner of this site for you are the true genius of reviewers on this site. Bravo sir!
May 29, 2001, 12:29 p.m. CST
I saw Pearl Harbor this weekend with my boyfriend, he really wanted to see it, and it was "that bad". I agree with everything Moriarty said. The love story was uninspired, as was the entire movie. I too felt the movie tried to hard to make me care. Every scene seemed geared toward making me feel concerned, outraged, sad. But the more it tried, the more I didn't care. By the time the bombing squence was over I just wanted to leave. Why did they have to stick in the doolittle raid? Dorie Miller and the Doolittle Raid each would make their own excelent movie. Yes, many people did like the movie and think it may have been overly long, but not that bad. But in my personal opinion it was horrible, but I can't say I wasn't warned. I only wish I had listened to the warnings.
May 29, 2001, 12:32 p.m. CST
Don't have a cow, Moriarty, you won't be responsible for one more person going to see this mess. My father wants to see it, so I have to take him, but at least now I know that on a sarcastic level I should have a little fun. Then again, you don't sound at all happy to have seen it, so maybe that Lord of the Rings trailer is all I've got. Now watch the Egyptian 24 take the trailer off and stick it on Shrek just before we buy the tickets. Crap.
May 29, 2001, 12:33 p.m. CST
by Clockwork Taxi
First off, I liked Pearl Harbor, for what it was, a summer film. You think it is insulting that they dared make a film of Pearl Harbor, that I dare say, is entertaining? Spare me. You speak of Saving Private Ryan like it's God gift to cinema, and it had such good taste! Ha! The only talk in tinsletown when that film came out, was about how gory it was! A delibrate move by Spielberg! Hey, if you can't enjoy film, that's fine by me, but don't preach at us.
May 29, 2001, 12:37 p.m. CST
by Buzz Maverik
"I know. I invoked them by retaining my semen after a sex magick ritual. A harmless prank!" "Harmless prank! You're a prick. I was sleeping with this hot 19 year old blonde, when I hear the ghosts of John Wayne and Lee Marvin arguing over whether they should dump the bed or flick a lit cigarette at me to wake me up." "What'd you do?" "I shook the chick and said, 'Wake up, Candy, you gotta see this!' John Wayne said,'It's Mandy' and the chick said 'It's Mindy.' We all said 'Whatever' which sort of broke the tension." "So, what'd the spirits say?" "They were really pissed about me hiring pretty boys for the leads, said those were the kind of characters who played their sidekicks. Although the Duke did say that Affleck reminded him of his boy Pat." "Wow. He's right. There is a similarity." "Then they groused about the love story. I told them about TITANIC and they couldn't believe it. They said TITANIC should be about the first mate of the ship. They drank all my liquor then headed off to haunt James Cameron." "What about the third spirit?" "Yeah. Candy took a tranquilizer and went back to sleep. That's when the ghost of Yukio Mishima appeared." "The gay writer who formed a cult of personality around himself and tried to take control of Japan?" "Yeah. The one Paul Schrader made the movie about." "That was a pretty good movie." "You think so? I didn't care for it? Anyway, he said I had to call him Respected Author Of Novels, then screamed at me about my storytelling." "Sorry about that, Mike." "It gets worse. When he finishes yelling at me, he says, 'I see you have a large penis. A large penis is like a magnetic sausage to the homosexual.' I told him that I was straight and pointed out Candy to him. He said her name was Mindy, then vanished." "What did you learn, Mike?" "I'm going to try to keep Memorial Day in my heart not just at the end of May, and not just as a release date for movies, Buzz."
May 29, 2001, 12:42 p.m. CST
"In their rush to be glib ... they have also been cruel and overstated ... Is it just a chance to flex your sarcasm muscle for the amusement of yourself and a handful of other entertainment writers?" Way, way too many reviews have devolved into nothing more than this: a way to show other critics that you're wittier than they are (not the mention the idiots -- they're idiots, it's taken for granted -- who wrote the script). Friday mornings have turned into one big circle jerk in the film pages, with everyone competing to see who can spew out the cleverest phrases. Few of these reviews tell me anything, except that the writer is full of himself. Why is it no longer possible to write a review that simply tells me what is wrong (or right) with a movie? This is why many movies are now critic-proof: there have been far too many cases where critics gang up on a movie and verbally beat it to death. People who go anyway often find they like it, and many figure that politicians usually lie and film critics hate almost everything. They're just so busy HATING everything. They hate the scripts. They hate the marketing (sorry, I can't imagine refusing to see a movie simply because you don't like the marketing). They hate the acting. They hate the dumb audiences for going to the movies. And they just HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE Hollywood. Sheesh. Why not do something else, so you won't have to watch these movies you hate? I know that my audience on Friday night in NYC was more positive than the reviews. (This from chatting with folks around me afterward.) Mind, I do agree with Moriarity: the visual rip-offs of Titanic (especially) were so blatant I heard people in the theatre gasping. As for all those complaining about the military aspects, I'm not in the military but I saw many uniformed Navy people in the audience from US warships that are visiting NYC for Memorial Day and they seemed to be enjoying themselves.
May 29, 2001, 12:47 p.m. CST
Ow! Fuck that hurts! A few quick points that have no purpose: 1. The Dog Trick. Sure 100s of men can die, but the dog always lives. 2. Didn't people smoke back in 1941? I mean, a LOT of people? Where are the cigarettes, pipes, cigars and (most Importantly) the Zippo lighters? PC revisionist history, or just no smokes in Hawaii? 3. USA! USA! USA! USA! Buy War Bonds And Slap A Jap! Ahh... The rich legacy of the "Good" war.
May 29, 2001, 12:58 p.m. CST
That was pretty funny, Cornellius. First, in David Ansen's review he states that "Fighter planes swoop down between buildings right out of Star Wars." Lucas had choreograped his battle sequences from watching old W.W. II films, so there's the full circle. Second, I agree with Moriarity that the mega $5 million dollar party on "Pearl Harbor" next to the Arizona memorial was disturbing. It showed what money whores Disney really is that they'll even walk over the dead for a buck. No respect. Third, What's with Ebert's line "A two hour movie "squeezed" into three hours?" Shouldn't he have said, "expanded" to three hours? Yes, it could have been cut down by at least 30-45 minutes. The "Battle Of Britain" sequences were good. There were only 8 Americans that participated in the real aerial battle though."Deep Blue World" should be able to clear that up. (One was killed in combat.) I did like the Doolittle raid on Tokyo. The one thing that I didn't buy, is that the pilots who were killed that landed in China, they did not bring their bodies back for burial. One crew did get captured and they were hanged. They made a movie about it called the "Purple Heart" with Dana Andrews and Richard Conte. Great film. The line where Doolittle says that if he was going down that he'd order his crew to bail out and take out the biggest target with his B-25 was true. Overall, I liked the movie and will probably see it again. I'm not a fan of Bay's or Affleck's by all means, but the secondary characters are what made the film. Gooding's portrayal of Dorrie was all too brief, but good, Tom Siezmore as the ground crew chief shooting at the Zero's with his shotgun he was so pissed off, the nurses(Yes, even the one that looked and acted like Rosie O'Donnell...scary.),"Red" and the scene where one of the pilot's dabs onion juice under his eyes to get his girl was classic(There was this woman in the audience I saw it with though it was "Ruffies". This is the 40's lady!)and were well acted out and believable. $75 million for the box office weekend was good, but it will be interesting to see what happens next week.
May 29, 2001, 1:01 p.m. CST
and don't forget. . . back in the day, everyone uses "Jap bastards" while they fight! thx Moriarty, this is by far the most interesting thing I've read on AICN. right or wrong, I appreciate your honesty and conviction. and thx talkbackers for reminding me the dog survived, Pearl Harbor, just went from bad to total garabge in my head. just who the hell runs disney these days?
May 29, 2001, 1:20 p.m. CST
by J Nasty
I've never read a column on this site that echoes my opinion on a film more than this one. Moriarty has not only hit the nail on the head regarding this film, but this is the best thing I've ever read on Aint It Cool. I've suffered through many Bay and Bruckheimer disasters before. I for one am making a promise to myself never to pay to see another of their films again. I don't even need to comment on the ridiculous romantic triangle. But what about the action scenes? Yeah they were technically impressive, but so are NSYNC concerts!!! That doesn't make them great musicians, just like the Pearl Harbor bombing wasn't even close to being memorable. One thing though Moriarty, if you are going to harp on Ebert's show not reviewing Pearl Harbor, why wasnt this column put up early during the weekend?
May 29, 2001, 1:24 p.m. CST
I don't want to 'sit back, turn off my brain and enjoy the ride!' Not to watch a movie about World War! Soon, Bay/Bruckheimer supporters will suggest viewers recieve voluntary lobotomies before entering the theatre. 'It make movie good. Me like pretty colors and shiny things.' I don't want to work to make a movie acceptable to my tastes. If I enter the theatre feeling skeptical or cynical, the film should win me over. You shouldn't have to convince yourself that you like a film. I shouldn't have to sit and actively ignore horrible dialogue, two-dimensional characters or a bloated, hodge-podge storyline.
May 29, 2001, 1:42 p.m. CST
i do it for pleasure. it is squishy and all ready digested for me. why should i expect more? who am i to ask for something else. poo is poo. its made for me. there are people in France who eat cheese. i am in America. i eat poo. you people don't understand. i need to. its in my ear. its in my eye. its traveling down my large intestine slowly stripping my vital vitamins away. i need to eat poo. so feed me. i'm here. we're all here. all you cynics. you haters. you bashers. how dare you be opinionated. how dare you. shut up. sit back. and eat it. cuz cafe hollywood is growling. squatting. biting its lower lip. gripping the handicap bar. sweating. and its comin. bring your charmin. it is not proper etiquette to not dab after meals. damn i'm hungry.
May 29, 2001, 2:12 p.m. CST
... worth the money I paid. Man, I paid 12 bucks to see this movie. What was I expecting? Love story, action, explosions. Did I get it? Damn straight I did. So what the fuck is wrong with all you losers???? What were you expecting?? COME ON PEOPLE. Armageddon sucked ass! This was FAR BETTER than that SPOL. Sure, PH took elements of Titanic and Armageddon, but they worked. A 70 million dollar weekend. That's a success. Maybe you don't like the love story. Maybe you don't like the elements taken from other movies. Want a kleenex to cry a bit??? SO WHAT. It all comes back to what we were expecting. What was promised us? LOVE STORY + EXPLOSIONS + WAR + ACTION. Did it deliver. YES IT DID. I'll tell you why: I also paid 12 dollars to see Angel Eyes. In which film did I get more for my dollar? Doesn't take a wizard: Pearl Harbor. If talkbackers call this film derivitive, you're right, but we were all expecting that anyway, right? If you weren't you're nuts. The trailers had TITANIC and ARMAGEDDON all over them. Bay is sitting back watching this become a HUGE movie. Man, the dogfights in this film were incredible. Sure, I would have trimmed a little here and there, brought it down to 2 hours 45 minutes (from its present 3 hours 10 minutes) but I got my money's worth, and that's what counts. Looking at the finished product, I got what I wanted, and so did millions of other people. Why don't you guys go complain about some REAL pieces of shit out there, like Mummy Returns. For years we had to endure shitty Vietnam films. Now we're getting some great WW2 action. You guys don't like it, tough shit. WHAT WERE YOU EXPECTING??? It is Michael Bay for fuck's sake. If he makes RED DRAGON I bet you'll end up whining about the finished product. I can see it know: "It was too visual"; "The cuts were too quick"; "The story was secondary to the action". It's BAY for god's sake. Who were you expecting?? WERE YOU PEOPLE EXPECTING AN OSCAR WINNING FILM FROM MICHAEL FREAKING BAY? I wasn't - I didn't delude myself. Now all you people that did delude yourself spend your time whining about what a terrible 3 hours it was. You know what? It wasn't a terrible 3 hours. I would have substituted MIDWAY for the Doolittle raid, but oh well.
May 29, 2001, 2:13 p.m. CST
I was doing my World History homework Sunday on World War II (good timing), and I came across the section about atrocities. There were Japanese, German, and Russian atrocities but no American atrocities. This just disturbed me. The Japanese-American internment camps DID exist, not to mention the incredible amount of similarities between those and the Nazi death camps. I guess the only difference is that the U.S. didn't attempt genocide. It just skimped over the firebombings of Japanese cities that killed mostly CIVILIANS!!! That's when it hit me. Pearl Harbor is from what I've read (and I've read plenty about it, believe you me) very inaccurate historically. If the filmmakers take so much time to make the special effects so real, wouldn't it make sense to make the battles historically accurate too? It also seems to portray the Japanese as cold-hearted bastards. A classmate's little sister walked out of the movie saying "I hate J*ps!" No joke. (On a side note, I find it disturbing that people are so nonchalant using racial slurs) I do repsect the men who fought for against Axis oppresssion in WW2, but there is no excuse for some of the tactics used. Firebombing and nuking civilians is the absolutely wrong way to intimidate a nation into surrendering. Not that trying to take over China was virtuous either, but the ends didn't justify the means. It's not hard to imagine how ***there were TWICE as many CIVILIAN CASUALTIES as there were SOLDIERS*** in WW2. Everyone except Britain and France contributed to these horrors (as far as I know, and to be honest, they already fucked up the rest of the world enough before). History classes (or at least mine) seems to skimp on the actual reasons why these tragedies occurred. There are reasons why the Germans believed in Hitler and why the Japanese believed in Hirohito. And to get to my point, I do not want to give money to anything that preserves the people's distorted views of history, that is racist, or uses major tragic events for profits only and not to honor those that fought and suffered. Unfortunately, PEARL HARBOR is all three! You'd have to pay me to see that pond scum of a movie and prove myself right. I could go into a rant about special effects and the current state of blockbusters and why I'm not a film snub as you people might accuse me of, but I'll save it for next Memorial Day, when the next P.O.S. super-hyped movie comes out.
May 29, 2001, 2:17 p.m. CST
This is interesting: People who cite specific sections or moments in PH to say how good it is are wrong, but Moriarty can pick and pick at the film to negatively critique it and somehow he's right. HYPOCRITE! I agree with the t.b.er who said the critics planned their reviews weks ahead of time. If ever there was a film you knew the critics weren't gonna give a fair shake to, it was this. And yes, the word of mouth IS already good, so, sorry, but PH's not going anywhere. And you fucking people who state factually the qualty of the film w/o actually SEEING it are full of shit and your opinions are shit too. SFW if the PH premiere was overblown and cheesy? To use that as a reason to rip the film is beyond stupid. Oh, and one more thing, LOTR's new trailer is awful. Oh, but that's a geek film and so I'm sure you'll all love it, even if it has a lavish premiere.
May 29, 2001, 3:38 p.m. CST
Come on! Was it a late nite or something?!? This review, while mirroring my point of view, is too long! All this could have been said in about 5 paragraphs. I'm not saying you should be edited or cencored or...whatever. I just think you guys could use your power in a better way than writing a NOVEL about why Pearl Harbor sucks. You even make light of the fact that the film is historically inacurate when that is the thing you should have been MOST pissed about. I mean, how about 5000 or so words on what WAS historically inacurrate rather than 5000 words about why Bay, Bruckheimer and Disney all suck. WE KNOW THIS! We know that they are as entrenched in the machine as they can get. It's the whole reason that I don't go blindly see Disney films anymore. And after Armagedon...geez! I though you guys where better than this. Here, check it out...here's my review. Weak character development. Weak love story. Weak plot movement. Too long. Overblown special affects. Simply put, this film sucks. Then all the other words could have been put to some good use.
May 29, 2001, 3:53 p.m. CST
"Enjoy it for what it was" again, I'll scream. Pearl Harbor (the event) deserves much better than an "average" summer movie. Now, here's the thing. When a film presents itself as "nothing more than" a summer film, that's fine. "The Mummy Returns" was fun as *hell* for this fact: for me, it was fun, inventive, and does provide a vital link back to the old Harryhausen films--that, and the fact it has the courage to present a bad-ass Middle-Eastern man (Oded Fehr) as a hero carried me away. "Pearl Harbor", as Moriary pointed out, really *wants* to be "Saving Private Ryan" (which will always be a flawed masterpiece, in my opinion). But, you know what? It's not. I just caught "From Here to Eternity" on TCM this weekend, and *damn*. Burt Lancaster as Sgt. Warden will stick in my mind for ages. Montgomery Clift? Excellent. And, of course, Frank. That was an excellent story, and it ended where it was supposed to. Perhaps the problem is that Spielberg, in "Ryan" and Schindler's List deeply wanted to honor the veterans, the victims of the Shoah. Bay, it seems, merely wanted to have boffo box-office. The fact that he does in fact steal from better directors shows that he is unwilling to let a story make the demands it makes to be told (and perhaps the problem begins with Randall Wallace, who knows). Instead of following the actual history and its importance, Bay follows his own pillaging aesthetic. "Mummy", to an extent, knows what the story it tells needs. "Pearl Harbor" very obviously does not.
May 29, 2001, 3:55 p.m. CST
You've relieved me of the need to spew venom here, especially the disgusting fireworks display over the U.S.S. Arizona memorial at the premiere. For that alone I hope Disney goes in the toilet.
May 29, 2001, 4:37 p.m. CST
I got about 1/2 way through Moriarty's discussion and was thinking what a well thought-out argument he was making. But he beat a dead horse to a bloody pulp. Talk about shoving a two-hour review into three hours!
May 29, 2001, 4:46 p.m. CST
Too tired to redraft and spellcheck...I'm going to just spill my thoughts onto the page like an impromtu interview. Practically everyone who saw this movie knew what to expect, and they knew how to expect it. It's Memorial Day Weekend, friends and family are together, let's barbecue, and then go watch a big summer movie which happens to commemorates both our country and World War II (yeah right). I saw the movie Friday night on a packed house at a 20-screen cineplex. Pearl Harbor was showing on four screens, and most of the shows sold out (thanks fandango.com). I liked the movie, and I was disappointed by it. It's a poor script, and a horribly structured movie. Three one hour movies combined, or actually wconnected, simply as a sprawling narrative of characters and events, rather then a well-designed experienced. Michael Bay did a good job making a big classic-feeling melodrama...it reminded me of The Best Years of Our Lives, a melodramatic WWII flick from the 40s that won Best Picture I think. Must have been a bad year for movies. Shooting PH in in 3-strip technicolor, the same process used for Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz helped. My god, Beckinsale's lipstick was red. Anywho...The first hour was okay, I was basically interested, laughed at parts, not a bad buildup, if overlong. That's assuming it's building up to something really worth-while. However, the movie should have started with the two guys at the air school, and then show, in linear chronology, Affleck meeting Beckinsale, etc. Not, 1928, jump to 1940 or whatever, then flashback to before what we already just saw. And the beginning with them as little boys, although I can see why they wanted it, is redundant. Establish your characters well, and then move with them, and the audience will stick. We don't need fancy shots of cornfields and airplanes to understand they came from Tennesse and love flying. The attack on Pearl Harbor was good...good shots...interesting...good effects, but not good in of itself. Like Moriarty said, it doesn't demand your full attention like the beginning of SPR (and even if it did -- imagine SPR with that opening scene an hour into it: the film would have died). Okay so it's the finale we've been building for, right? Wrong. A third story, barely related, which was interesting...but *another* story. Another movie. Make a movie out of that, if you want, and just have the PH attack 15 minutes long instead. Make up your mind. The love triangle was too ridiculous and back and forth...and it had a cheating, unsatisfactory outcome. In Titanic, there was a love triangle, but one of it's members was a bad guy...you wanted him to lose. In PH you feel bad for everyone, but not in a powerful film kind of way, but in an annoyed kind of way. Ben Affleck wasn't great, but he did the best job I've ever seen him do in a big budget movie. I still don't think he'll ever be able to be Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt or George Clooney. Affeck's still a college frat boy. Really funny cool guy in real life, though. Loved him on Craig Kilborn the other night ("F*ck blistex!") The supporting cast was really good...should have been more of Cuba Gooding Jr. Just about every moment he was onscreen he brought powerful emotion. Men of Honor still fell apart 2/3rds into though. So maybe less is more. I would have liked to see more of a political point of view, more with Voight and Ackroyd. My problem with The Patriot was it had almost nothing to do with the actual Revolution or it's politics, other then the beginning meeting in Charleston. It was a good decent about Colonial Life, and death though. Crappy ending, no good acton besides the ambush scene. Sorry, tagent, I digress. BOTTOM LINE: Michael Bay tried very damn hard, and he's just not a great dramatic, serious storytelling filmmaker. At least not yet. I won't give up hope. In the meantime, Bad Boys 2 could be good (a sequel to The Rock would sully that film, although it is his best).
May 29, 2001, 4:46 p.m. CST
I have not yet seen the movie, and do not plan to, at least until it comes out on video. However I was at IMDB and the Pearl Harbor section and I wandered into the "memorable quotes" section and I am still in disbelief that any of the actors could keep a strait face while spuing out lines that sound like a third grader who has watched too many bad action films would write. I can not understand why any half self respecting actor would willingly sign on for such a project having read the script. As for the review I agreed with the first part about with the first part of the review except the part about placing the blame on Jurassic Park, I thought it was an excellent movie all-around, well at least for an action movie. I also wonder about the statments about Roger Ebert. I noticed on his site the only other movie he reviewed this week was Startup.com, I do not blame the other studios for not wanting to open the same weekend Pearl Harbor. Two movies could not have enough material for a whole show. I am glad he did not do a whole show on just Pearl Harbor, that I would be suspicious of. I read another review of Pearl Harbor at MSNBC.com the title was Recruiting 'Pearl Harbor' Filmgoers. I think that is a perfect title because that is what I felt like was happening. I will now return to listening to Stevie Wonder to try to wash the Pearl Harbor dialogue out of my mind.
May 29, 2001, 4:47 p.m. CST
kittyboot how can you put a movie down when you haven't even seen it? If you can tell people that they're lobotomised for seeing the film, the same thing goes for people who make preconcieved notions that "Pearl Harbor" sucks. "Hurl Harbor", that's real funny. Why don't you say that at the Arizona memorial? The people who put this movie down, have no respect for those that gave their lives during this battle. Most of the people on this site have never had military experience, let alone combat experience and they don't know what the hell they're talking about chastising this film. They'd never hold up in a firefight or tense situation. They'd either shit their pants, eat their tofu and want someone else to do their fighting for them. They have no idea what "The Wet-Ass Hour" is. "Pearl Harbor" is a Hollywood movie, it'll have romantic notions and sensationalism. That's what puts asses in seats and snack bar sales. Its called storytelling. Writers take liberties with it. You want by-the-book realism? Go watch a documentary on the event for three hours and lets see what you have to say about that, if you make it through the three hours. Manda! You forget France had the Vichy. There's a monument at the Nice train station marking the 14 French Resistance fighters that were shot by the Nazi's for sabatage who were turned in by the Vichy; their own people. One was a 12 year old boy. As for similarities between the U.S. and Nazi prison camps, I don't think so. We never had forced labor, starvation or conducted medical experiments on human beings. You're thinking of the similarities between the Japanese camps who had the Bataan Death March where if the soldiers couldn't make it were shot to death, the hot boxes(Ever sit in a sauna? Imagine that for twenty-four hours without water for up to a week.), the experiments at Camp 731 in Manchuria where the good Dr. Ishi injected diseases in Russian, Chinese, Korean and maybe some American prisoners of war to find out the effects. Ishi and his surviving doctors baragined with their lives for the medical information they had hid that the U.S. gained knowledge from after the war. Many of these scientists went on to work for major U.S. companies such as Byrd's Eye and Monsanto. Don't even mention the Rape Of Nanking in 1937 where there was rampant starvation of the people, forced prostitution and rape by Chinese women and girls, some as young as ten years old. With Operation: Paperclip in the ETO, we got many of the Nazi scientists and officers to work for the space program and intelligence agencies.
May 29, 2001, 4:50 p.m. CST
One and a half star is pretty harsh...but that jerk gave Gladiator two stars! No offense Ebert, I still love reading you. =)
May 29, 2001, 4:51 p.m. CST
by The Tao of Joe
y'know, I have never had as many strong feelings for someone, just by reading something they have writen as I have Alexandra DuPont. Y'know, with a mind like that, I would date her if she was a 60 year old cyclopic troll with one leg, and bad breath. I wrote a song just now, about here, and I will post it here for you guys to read. It may not make sense, as it is out of context from the music I wrote with it, but here is goes: (Chorus) /Alexandra DuPont, were you named after Paint?/ /Are you an angel, or a movie reviewin' saint?/ /You are so clear, and consice,/ /you don't convey the same thoughts twice/ /I love you My Alex DuPont./ (Verse 1) /I remember the day Mori wrote about The Cell,/ /And How he hoped Tarsem would go strait to hell,/ /But you came along, with love for film and devotion/ /Never letting your reviews get so clouded with emotion/ /the thing I like best is when you put things into parts/ /from that day till forever you are always in my heart./ (to the chorus again) /Alexandra DuPont, were you named after Paint?/ /Are you an angel, or a movie reviewin' saint?/ /You are so clear, and consice,/ /you don't convey the same thoughts twice// /I love you My Alex DuPont/ (verse 2) /I dont care, if I act like I am very whack,/ I am always so glad you to see that you keep comin' back/ Those guys who will always dis you, are nothing but creatures,/ I hope AICN keeps you as a permanent feature//(final chorus) Alexandra DuPont, were you named after Paint?/ Are you an angel, or a movie reviewin' saint?/ You are so clear, and consice,/ you don't convey the same thoughts twice/ /I love you my Alex DUUUUUUUPOOOOONT! / thank you, thank you~
May 29, 2001, 4:57 p.m. CST
Good points, although your writing style is, ahem, interesting...:)
May 29, 2001, 5:17 p.m. CST
It's all been said before, but let me add my little voice to those who praise this review. A lucid and excellently structured piece. You should restrain the rancour more often, my friend, a cool head suits you better. I agree on all major points, but let me add that, as an Irishman here in Hawaii, I was shocked and filled with a terrible glee by the RELENTLESS warmongering and recruitment references in the movies. Not to mention that, in the absence of the longed-for Fellowship trailer, I instead got a mindbendingly fascistic ad for the marines that looked like Leni Reifenstahl directed it in cahoots with Joel Schumacher. I still feel slightly queasy
May 29, 2001, 5:33 p.m. CST
I think your missing the point. Yeah, so its not THAT bad, I agree, BUT its not THAT good either. Its just an ok movie. Hollywood keeps putting out these "ok" movies because why bother going the extra mile to produce something GREAT when the public will shell out 400 million dollars for some half-assed 3 hour reel of beau-hunks and things blowing up real good. By supporting the movie, by telling all your friends, "Yeah, go see it! Those dumbass critics hate everything. GEEZ, it wasn't THAT bad." your paving the way for dozens more half-assed semi-alright films, which could possibly have been classic SUPERIOR movie blockbusters with brawn as well as brains and soul. Your telling hollywood that you don't care WHAT kind of dilapidated mess they produce just as long as it entertains you for a few hours. As one who really loves movies, characters and stories that thought just deeply disturbs me.
May 29, 2001, 5:47 p.m. CST
Moriarty once again outdoes the fatman himself. Well done. I hadn't thought of the Ebert/Disney connection, but I'm glad you brought it to my attention.
May 29, 2001, 5:55 p.m. CST
by Drive! Kowalski
I do the same thing everytime I see Bremner on screen. It's like a spasmodic, autonomic reflex, or sumthin. He's got chops, though. I just hope he gets a chance to really sell it in "Black Hawk Down".
May 29, 2001, 6:21 p.m. CST
by Captain Loft
So apparently if those of us who were disappointed by PH had military experience we would have enjoyed it more? Or maybe we didn't like it because if we were ever put in battle we wouldn't hold up? Uncapie, that has to be the worst reasoning I've ever heard. EVER. Most of the people that had problems with the film felt that it didn't do the real event justice. The 2406 who died that day deserved better than a popcorn movie that "wasn't that bad." Oh, but WWII vets liked it. The WWII vets are the first to say it's Hollywood, not History. They're happy with it, and should be, because many people in this country (most notably young ones) are horribly ignorant in the WWII department. I heard an interview over the weekend where a girl said she didn't even know where PH was until she saw the movie. From that standpoint, I'm glad it was made- if only to educate the masses who are too lazy to care about their own history and sacrifice of their grandparents.
May 29, 2001, 6:21 p.m. CST
Pearl Harbor is, without question, one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Breathtaking in its banality, the film prances every war movie cliche before its audience in the hope of pleasing every conceivable demographic. The dialouge is cringe-inducing, the love story is straight out of a Danielle Steele novel, and the battle sequences are redundant and uninspired. A turgid, tepid mess.
May 29, 2001, 7:30 p.m. CST
your prose is consistently intelligent and enjoyable to read.---Uncapie, as someone pointed out already to you, people disliking this movie doesn't show disrespect for the dead, that, in fact, is their main complaint about the thing.
May 29, 2001, 7:33 p.m. CST
They get these guys in there that can wipe their asses. They don't know the difference between an f stop and a bus stop and yet they're deciding who to market "XYZ" film to. Let's say you have an intelligently written script and you're going to direct it. You know your stuff. Well, now who do you have attached? No one? Too bad! But, this is a vehicle written for(Bill Pullman and Gabriel Byrne for example.) two well known stars, good actors too. Can you get them? NO?! We don't see it with them. We see it with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon with a soundtrack by Britany Spears. They pay you some money for the script and the directing job. You go away. The movie is made and resembles nothing of your noble effort at a story. It even tanks at the b.o. i.e.,"Reindeer Games"(Remember that epic?) But, so what? Everyone has gotten paid. You get another writing gig. This time they want you to write shit on a stick as they sign a six figure paycheck out to you. You write to their specifications, but guess what? Its rewritten by all the producers, their mistresses(Who have a part in the film, of course.), the hairdresser and the dog catcher, just to name a few. Its even worse now, but everyone gets a paycheck. You think Elia Samaha and Andrew Stevens give two shits and a fuck if their movies bomb? Hell, they paid themselves their large salaries first! They got paid; fuck you Joe Public and Mr. Investor! Von Goethe's "Faust" comes to mind when dealing with Hollywood. When does it end?
May 29, 2001, 7:38 p.m. CST
Moer people need to see this movie. Memento is a great fucking flic!! Man, wake up people!! you like good movies, Go See Memento NOW!!!! -jd
May 29, 2001, 7:52 p.m. CST
I pointed out that I was offended that AMERICAN atrocities were left out. I know the Japanese did some big atrocities of their own. The book left out a part of the story. Same with France. At least there were resistance fighters in France, though. They tried to fight. On the other hand, there are people who have got Nazis breathing down their necks. It IS intimidating. Another thing I pointed out is that history leaves out a good deal of Why's. My point was that BOTH SIDES COMMITTED HORRIBLE ACTS and should've been put on trial like the Nazis. Most people and movies leave out the Allies when it comes to that shit, though. It's sad and I won't give money to something that preserves that distorted view of history. Don't skimp my post next time.
May 29, 2001, 7:52 p.m. CST
Its also obvious that you've never been in the military. You'd know what I meant by my post. If you want accuracy, go watch a doco on the "Pearl Harbor" produced by the military. The one on the military tour on the U.S.S. Arizona is quite good and most accurate. This is Hollywood. Hollywood takes liberties with stories. That's a fact. If people can't tell the difference between the two, that's their problem. As said in John Ford's "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence", "If the legend is bigger than the truth, print the legend." Ford knew this when he shot a doco for the Navy on Pearl Harbor with sensationalism added in for effect. It was successful. As I said before, I'm not a fan of Affleck or Bay, but Disney's $75 million dollars in their pocket. You think Disney cares about the vets? Most of them are in their eighties. Eighty year olds don't go to movies all the time. This was marketed to the 15-30 year old audience. Its a love story for the ladies, an action movie for the guys. It'll be interesting to see what happens next week.
May 29, 2001, 8:53 p.m. CST
I was actually in Pearl Harbor on Memorial Day (yesterday) and visited the Arizona Memorial with a view towards interviewing some of the old guys who make it their business to inform the public on the fateful day in question. Sorry to have to contradict Moriarty on the question of the taste of the film-makers. I agree that the party was a pretty disgusting idea, but the old fellers were euphoric at the attention, the wining, dining, and rapt listeners that they got on opening night. Maybe they're all fakes, or paid off by the makers, but they were singing the films praises to anyone who'd listen. But they are soldiers, not film critics, and may not have had their attention drawn to the movies failings or taste. Nice blokes though. One other point on the subject of the military generally. Whilst I've been here at this exceptionally patrotic time, I've had my ears talked off by garrulous ex-marines and navymen who keep on telling me in ad-man slogans what a fine man I'd be if I signed up for at least five years of dehumanising push-ups and verbal humiliation, disregarding the fact that I'm not even a national. They don't appear to have given a moments thought to the morality of the job about which they enthuse, nor do they care that the american army appears to have clearly finished with ground combat, being content to incinerate the third world from the air, or from home, if it refuses to pauper itself so that we can indulge our selfishness and gluttony. Basically, I got told that the marines would guarantee me better abdominals and more oral sex. Somehow, that doesn't seem enough to overcome my objections. Anyone who believe the modern military (of any nation) has ANYTHING to do with honor, courage or any of that Westpoint crap, probably thinks the legal profession is devoted to the pursuit of justice.
May 29, 2001, 8:55 p.m. CST
I hate Michael Bay's films. I hate the stylized 'hero' shots that are always in slow motion. I hate the way his characters are always underdeveloped and boring. I hate the way the action comes first above all else as if trying to force the primitive brain to enjoy itself. In fact, the only one of his movies that I have ever really enjoyed was BAD BOYS... and you had the dynamic duo of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence to thank for that. So what did I do today? I went to an early matinee of PEARL HARBOR with a small crowd sitting in this huge theater... and my expectations were six feet under. I thought, maybe the action will be worth my $5.50 and then I can go home and tell all my friends how much the rest of the movie sucked ass,... but I was unprepared for what would happen in those three hours. I started to find little things about the movie that I liked. Then I grew to like some of the characters (particularly James King and Josh Hartnett). Then I was completely blown away by the action! I'll even go as far as saying that I almost shed a tear when one of the main characters bites the dust. I liked the movie. Yeah, I know... I really wanted to hate it too. But I didn't. Instead, I found myself crying like a little bitch when Evelyn brushes the hair away from a dead woman's face only to discover that it is one of her best friends who was killed during the attack. I liked Josh Hartnett, too. His relationship with Kate Beckinsale seemed more human and convincing that Ben Affleck's Rafe character. I dunno... maybe I'll hate it in the morning. I might feel guilty for having liked the movie, like some guy who wakes up in bed with a skanky prostitute when has his loving wife and kids waiting at home. You know,... that kind of guilt. But for now, I'll say that I enjoyed it.
May 29, 2001, 8:57 p.m. CST
Do I have to go to war in order to decide that a movie sucks?
May 29, 2001, 9:07 p.m. CST
Although he didn't come right out and say it's a steaming pile of shit the way Harry would have two years ago before he started getting free lunches from the studios... I too was pissed when Roger Ebert didn't review the film on TV this week after I read his excellent print review.
May 29, 2001, 9:13 p.m. CST
the fact that you shed that tear and sort of enjoyed the fireworks and all the bombast is the main reason why you should cling to the self hatred you feel as proof of moral fiber. No one person is w holly proof agains the vast manipulative machinery of modern propaganda, honed to a laserlike perfection by a hundred years of psychology in the name of advertising. Though I feel ill at the memory, I felt the stirrings of a mindless patriotism in me as I watched this cow pie of a movie, even as I retched over the peurile dialogue, I felt that little voice inside me trying to whisper 'War can be virtuous, can build character, can make boys into men, is sexy'. The bombastic music and elephantine pretentions of the movie hide a subtler music behind the obvious; the well placed, slightly unfocussed posters in the background 'NEEDS YOU FOR THE US ARMY', 'LIBERTY', and so forth. The percieved evenhandedness of the Japanese' depiction hides a multitude of old sins and stereotypes. Hang on to that little sense of nausea, it's like sea sickness, it occurs when what you see and what your brain perceives start to differ.
May 29, 2001, 9:17 p.m. CST
....and this review just made me reach for my username and my password. GREAT FUCKING JOB, MORIARTY, this is probably the best deconstruction of a film and it's sorroundings that I have read in AICN.
May 29, 2001, 9:37 p.m. CST
OUTSTANDING work, Moriarty. I completely absolve you of any residual disrespect I thought you deserved after the whole "Cell" debacle... and now I can't applaud you enough for articulating so precisely exactly what is wrong with the movie. And, to a greater extent, its marketing. PLEASE let this be the new standard of writing from the AICN staff! (And please sit Harry down for a few lessons in real review-writing, I beg you.) EXCELLENT job, Mori.
May 29, 2001, 9:40 p.m. CST
It must make things so much easier to enjoy when you have no intellect whatsoever to appeal to.
May 29, 2001, 10:15 p.m. CST
My gosh, it's like you either totally loved it or you totally hated it, and if you loved it then you're a moron and if you hated it then you're an uptight hollywood-hating film school drop out. But the truth is that both sides make good points and even cross the lines. (i.e. "this part was good but the rest of it sucked", or "this part was bad but the rest of it rocked"). Just pick one. I liked the film. I thought it was good, not great, but good. I don't get people who are ragging on how inaccurate it was. THIS IS HOLLYWOOD!!! I'm a WWII buff and I caught a lot of inaccuracies. But if this is what it takes to educate some ignorant people on an important event, then I'm all for it. And trust me, there ARE very stupid people out there. I was at a theater that had people clapping for a 60 year old speech given by FDR. Twister was way off base, but I'm sure meteorlogists were grateful for the acknowledgement, the same with Titanic survivors. I don't know what my grandfather thinks of it (he was a Tuskegee airman) but it seems to me that an overwhelming number of vets like it, or at least like that people are acknowledging them, as well they should. The attack made me feel for the people in it the way Titanic showed how those people suffered before they died. The scene with Affleck and Hartnett trying to get the guys out of the hull of the capsized ship and Affleck's holding on to one of the men's hand as water spills out, that got to me. The day hollywood makes an historically accurate film is the day they stop caring about money. Which brings me to another point. When it comes down to the bottom line, that's all they care about. There's no point in posturing about "they should make good quality films like Memento" (which I've heard good things about and want to see), because I doubt that film will have sold out showings at a theater and get a record-breaking non-sequel release for Memorial Day weekend. For the studios, money is all it's ever about, and I know cuz I work for them. I don't like it, but it's the truth. (BTW, you wouldn't believe how cheap they are) As for the "leave your brain at home" debate, I'm on the fence with that one. I love Bruckheimer movies in general for that reason. But I thought Crimson Tide was an excellent movie that required you to think. I love serious, "thinking man's" movies, and I love big-budget, THX-sounding popcorn movies. One's not better than the other and if you know what kind of movie you're seeing, it shouldn't be a problem. Serious or not, PH is a B&B movie. Nuff said. Of course, this is all just my opinion and most of you are going to skip over this cuz it's too long (I know I would), but I just had to get this off my chest. But take it from someone who works with those who makes this crap and still gets excited over it, it's only a movie. You want the real story, ask your grandparents or watch a documentary.
May 29, 2001, 10:19 p.m. CST
Even though you see fit to mention your trips to Michael Bay's office every chance you get, it seems like you genuinely feel moral indignation at even the people who panned this movie. But Ebert not airing his review on Sunday of opening weekend (when, by the way, the box office tallies are basically in) is not nearly as morally questionable as you giving so much bandwidth to a filmmaker like Michael Bay far in advance of the movie coming out, knowing exactly what kind of filmmaker he is and exactly what kind of movie he will make. Before removing the mote in thy neighbor's eye, attend the beam in thine own.
May 29, 2001, 10:22 p.m. CST
I was going to put aside my anti-Bay stance and see this film. But when I saw Alec Baldwin as Dolittle, I changed my mind. Wasn't this *actor* supposed to move to France because Bush was elected?
May 29, 2001, 11:04 p.m. CST
Maybe that's because no British/European divisions LANDED with American divisions. D-Day wasn't exactly a great mixing bowl.
May 29, 2001, 11:23 p.m. CST
That's the best you can come up with? That's pretty lame even for a low grade chimp like you. No one said anything about going to war to have to enjoy a war movie, but if you were in any branch of the service there's a thing called "Esprit de Corps". Its something you wouldn't understand. Its a respect for the men and women that guard this country from assholes that would do it harm. The guys and gals that do night shifts while you dream of Christina Aguilar or Nsync. You also have a problem with word comprehension too. Learn to read, boot.
i dont usually submit to the talkbacks but there's a first time for everything...Moriarty wrote an excellent review. He made his point without being ignorant and mean about the film. They are his thoughts and he is not trying to shove them down my throat. I agree with his thoughts on the premier, but i disagree about the movie. Personal opinion...it was a good MOVIE. I go to movies and I want to be entertained and taken to another place. I've always found Michael Bay's movies fun and engaging. From modest beginings with a budget of 25 million for Bad Boys, to the gargantuan 175 million dollars for Armageddon, I have enjoyed all his movies. Rich, vivid colors fill the screen as MTV style editing propels the action. Pearl Harbor veers slightly from his usual formula. Some won't see it that way because as soon as Bay's name is mentioned, the worst is assumed. Bay calmed down and kept the camera still for more than 2 frames. Gave the viewer a chance to breathe. The romance is more believable than that of Armageddon but not by much. I've read on this site that the movie entertains and that's blasphemy given the subject matter. Yes, for the first 90 minutes, it is entertainment. A story about a boy and his girl and his best friend who steals the girl. But once the attack begins Bay switches from entertainment mode to Saving Private Ryan Lite. The attack is vividly portraid. The characters become nothing more than backdrops in the attack. Rafe and Danny now become just two more soldiers running around trying to stay alive. My favourite scenes take place during the attack. As the torpedo is let loose from the Zero, the camera follows it down as it screams toward the sleeping ship. It strikes the deck but there's no explosion. It instead travels through the decks, one by one, finally resting in the armory. A deafening silence, and then the ship is torn apart. Cook Dorie Miller, sees a sailor manning a gun killed. A rage builds up and he mans the gun and begins to fire wildly at the planes. He screams savagely, and the camera switches to his POV and we see a plane erupt in flames and come crashing down. You can hate me for this but I personally felt like cheering. That scene, to me, displayed a lot of emotion. The movie placed me in Pearl Harbor and the events that took place on that day of infamy. I did not feel the three hour running time. People nitpick at it for its inacuracies but those that notice them make up about 10 percent of the movie going public. I myself, being uneducated in the technical history of pearl harbor, did not notice the details that mustang pointed out. Most of the emotion in the film, took place during the attack and after the doolitle raid, when the bombers crash and they are sorrounded by the Japanese. I enjoyed watching this movie, and I will watch it again...and again. It is not SPV but it shows us the attack the way no documentary could. MAJOR SPOILER ALERT: andyes,ifyouarewondering,ididtearupattheendwhendandies. SPOILER END.
May 29, 2001, 11:47 p.m. CST
You said it a lot better than i did.
May 30, 2001, 12:07 a.m. CST
The hype and anticipation for this movie was astoundingly positive at first, but then Disney shot off thier foot by over-hyping the film in the weeks before the film came out with the lavish premire, tv ads, billboards, etc... Plus the film had Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer (who have been wildly succesful financialy with almost every film they make, which totally pisses off most film geeks, talkbackers, critics, etc..) so that was another minus in critics eyes. Critics and talkbackers were chomping at the bit to bash the hell out of this film based on the fact that it was Bay and Bruck. If you don't believe me go check out the talkbacks in previous articles before anyone saw the movie... Now look what the critics did. They tore the film to shreds. Every negative review mentioned and compared it to Bad Boys, Armeggedon, The Rock, etc... Every critic had a cute little saying that they put in their review like Borea, Borea, Borea and other things of that nature. Then the box office recipts came in and it wasn't the $100 million dollar opening that everyone thought it was. Everything was going negative. But then something funny happened, people that were coming out of the film were not really bashing the film. A lot of people left saying, "It wasn't as bad as they (critics) said it was." The exit polls were tracking high with women and men alike. Ordinary people were reviewing the actual FILM, not the film history of Bay and Bruck. You see, if you truly go in the theater and judge this as a FILM by itself, it is a decent picture. Don't believe me? Check the polls of regular people who left the theater. Now if you go into this film saying, "Man that premire the threw was out of line and Armeggedon really sucked, so lets see how they fucked this up", you are letting prejudices and misconceptions get in your way. Judge and review this film by itself, not what happend at the premire or during the big chase in Bad Boys. Do you go into every movie and compare it to the producer and directors previous work? If so, that is a pretty narrow way of looking at movies. All this negativity is just going to help the film in the end. Watch and see.
May 30, 2001, 12:33 a.m. CST
One: That bomb-drop shot was such a Dr Strangelove knock-off that I actually squirmed in my seat with pain. Two: Was Jon Voights rubber chin not the most horrific piece of crappy make-up in recent history. I couldn't keep my eyes off the seam running across it, it was like a second mouth.. I'll shaddup now, okay.
May 30, 2001, 12:35 a.m. CST
I heard the word "Corny" a lot as I left my Famous Players theatre when Faith Hill started singing. Even 'something something' "bullshit" from one jaded youth. Honestly, I went to see PH just to see what the hype was about. That and to brag that I was able to get in a sold-out show. Ok ok, and Kate. Lovely Kate. And one scene that actually got me a bit was where, amid the carnage, confusion and bodies, the brunette nurse with the glasses helplessly blurts out "I don't know what to do!"
May 30, 2001, 12:48 a.m. CST
I was all set to bury this film before I walked into the theater. I hated most of the director's previous work and had already judged PEARL HARBOR by that and the little I had seen in the trailers. I kept telling myself that the movie was going to be awful, that there was no way in hell that a PG-13 war movie with MTV-style editing was going to churn out three hours worth of entertainment. Then the lights dimmed,... the movie began... and I was immediately suckered into the cutesy, storybook romance and the loud, bloodless violence. I liked it. I didn't want to like it... but there were things that I really enjoyed about the film that my heart just couldn't deny. Now, I still don't think this is a great movie. I wouldn't even call it a GOOD movie. It's more like a decent, above average movie. In fact, I'd say it ranks just above GODZILLA or END OF DAYS on the entertainment scale. But that's just my opinion.
May 30, 2001, 2:32 a.m. CST
See, it all makes so much sense now. First of all, I simply need to pick some historical event... something, ANYTHING that the whole world knows about, so that way I could say it's "an important film." Plus that, the studio could market it to any and all demographics, being that it *should be seen* by everybody under the sun. So let's say I decide to make a movie about. . . I got it. . . Columbine. Yeah! Not only is it, by some measures, more tragic on a personal level, but it's also more current. Now, being that it apparently doesn't matter how accurate the details are, I think I'll set the film in a suburb of L.A. Not only will it be more cost-effective for the studio, but, well, let's face it, LA kids are the best-looking kids in the country, right? I mean, who wants to see a 2 1/2 to 3 hour film with nothing but rural kids in it?? Hell, we've got enough 16 year-old Britney Spears lookalikes in Southern CA for FIVE teen tragedy movies. What else? Well, I think casting the Klebold and Harris roles should be a high priority... who would work best for them? Let's see... is Haley Joel old enough yet? What is he, 12? You think we could "age him up" a little? Hmm... maybe not. What the hell, we'll just go with the old stand-by... all us filmmaker types have the cast of Dawson's Creek on speed-dial by now, so we'll have that problem fixed by late afternoon, I'm sure. Besides, just think of the marketing formula there... hot, young, misunderstood youths going nutso against the jock social oppressors. Great! This will even attract the "geek" section of the moviegoing landscape! Also, in regards of the script, I'm thinking I may have to extend the body-count a notch or twelve... I mean, if I remember correctly, the total only came up to a single-digit number, and that just won't fly. I mean, in real life, we were all shocked, but in the movies, nobody's *really* going to see the drama in the situation unless there's at least a good 20 or so students done away with by the closing credits. (Don't hate me; I didn't make the rules of the movies, I just know how to play them.) And speaking of the writing, seeing how it's the teen-market we really want in the theatres, it goes without saying that any attempt at exploring the complexities of violent-natured human beings, or even expounding on the specific details that compelled them to do it is pretty much out of the question. Kids hate that kind of shit. What gets asses in the seats and tears down the cheeks is in the LOOK of the movie, man! Why waste precious time on character development when we could show more glamorous, slow-motion shots of crazed 16-year-olds running through the school hallways with shotguns, blasting away in a sociopathic rampage?? THAT'S the good stuff! This is a generation raised on Snoop Dogg videos and Pepsi ads! Let us never commit the sin of removing our fingers from the pulse of young America, especially if it's only in the name of "narrative depth!" Of course, don't think I mean to say there can't be ANY character shit in the flick... obviously, there'll have to be a scene where some guy jumps in front of the buckshot in order to save his girlfriend; that's a given. Oh, wait... even better! We'll make it a love triangle! Now there's character development! Just add a little "Somebody's been bad" kinda thing to the girl, and THAT will keep the audience guessing until the very end exactly which way her boyfriend will go... turn his back to her, or die for her? (DAMN, I'm good!) Naturally, just so that nobody knows-- er, I mean, *thinks* this is all some scheme to cash in on a national tragedy, we'll hold the premiere in the gym at Columbine High. (They have enough space in the lot for all the media vans, right? Access Hollywood takes up ass-loads of parking spots, guys.) After all, we want everyone to think-- er, I mean KNOW this is all about the students. We'll send invites to the more photogenic members of the Class of '99 (scour the yearbooks...) and we'll guarantee that the memory of their friends will be honored by this film when it hits the nation with the BIGGEST NON-HOLIDAY WEEKEND OPENING IN THE MONTH OF MARCH FOR A PG-13 FILM BY A FIRST-TIME DIRECTOR UNDER THE AGE OF 25! Thank you, Talkbackers! I'll make us all something to really be PROUD of! On your backs now, ladies, Lightstormer's ship has come in!
May 30, 2001, 3:47 a.m. CST
by Miss Aura
Its nice to see that someone else actually think the staging of the party for PEAARL HARBOUR was wrong and distasteful. They should be ashamed of themselves for making a party out of all those lives that were lost on that fateful day. It is just another case of Hollywood bastardizing history, but then again does hollywood have any morals. I cant believe that some of you are actually saying that this isnt all that bad, You get 40 minutes of worthwhile watching in a 3hr film. What do you do with the other 2hr 20mins...heres my advice:- Walk out of the cinema and go to watch SHREK or MEMENTO and then come back in for the Money Shots. Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer cannot make films its as simple as that. Roger Egbert should be ashamed of himself for not reviewing it on TV, that makes him just as bad as the pair above and totally unprofessional. The thing is the Japanese wont have anything to do with attacking Pearl Harbour this time, The film does it itself. This film is total and utter crap and people will find that out for themselves, go and watch MOULIN ROUGE at least you would be entertained.
May 30, 2001, 5:59 a.m. CST
by Alonzo Hawk
Hello Michael,I work for you, I won't say in which division I'm with for I know how things work here at Disney. Since you and the studio have only one thing on your mind [money and profits], let me take the time to appeal to you that when this film does see profit and it will, don't you worry, I would hope you give the remaining profits or DVD sale profits to the Veterans Administration or towards the building of the WW II Memorial on the mall in Washington DC. Lets put our greed aside and just for once " Do the right thing "
May 30, 2001, 6 a.m. CST
by Alonzo Hawk
Hello Michael,I work for you, I won't say in which division I'm with for I know how things work here at Disney. Since you and the studio have only one thing on your mind [money and profits], let me take the time to appeal to you that when this film does see profit and it will, don't you worry, I would hope you give the remaining profits or DVD sale profits to the Veterans Administration or towards the building of the WW II Memorial on the mall in Washington DC. Lets put our greed aside and just for once " Do the right thing "
May 30, 2001, 6:35 a.m. CST
for summing up my feelings on the movie industry. I find the "it's great cos they told us it is" and "please don't raise your expectations or you'll be branded a film snob" attitudes to be just past the edge of fightening. They may herd a few million folks through the ticket line ropes (baaaa... baaaaa) to see this edited-for-propoganda, Disney Corp. monstrosity, but neither I nor my significant other will be among them. I was parusing my EW and told my sweetie that we were not, under any circumstances, going to watch Pearl Harbour, and when she said, "Why not?" all I told her was, "It's made by the people that made Amageddon." "Nuff said," was the response. We somehow found ourselves watching the meteor fiasco for free at another person's house (so we can't even admit to have wasted electricity on the 'film') and were left dumbfounded that any living creature would find it even remotely tolerable. In a nutshell, I am frightened daily by the drivel that we Americans put up with being poured on us by media and politics (same thing). Hail, Caesar.
May 30, 2001, 6:55 a.m. CST
Well, at least this time I got to read what you thought of a film without reading 6 paragraphs on the silly little story of how you got there. The reason the Japanese are viewed through the prism of the 21st century is because if they were viewed as they were on or after 12/07/41 then scores of people would have been crying that it offended Japanese-Americans. duh. Was the Disney premiere overblown? Probably. But they did involve the veterans, and the movie was made with their considerable input. If anyone understands the gravity of the situation it'd be them and not you whose father probably wasn't even born yet when that happened. Everyone knew what the premiere was going to be like ahead of time...if the veterans had thought it'd be offensive or disrespectful I doubt they'd have shown up at all. It was a movie that I enjoyed, and that I'll most likely see again. The effects were amazing, the scope of incredible, and the group I went with all enjoyed it...and that's all I really care about.
May 30, 2001, 7:30 a.m. CST
May 30, 2001, 8:33 a.m. CST
People keep acting as though this is the biggest blasphemy in cinematic history. Sorry folks, but you should realize by now that Bruckheimer only makes films that are Big Macs. If you want Fitet Mignon you see an indy film. "Pearl Harbor" was exactly what a mainstream movie always is. Fun, exciting, with just enough power to make you think - at the lowest level. Audiences don't go to mainstream films to analyze them. They do it to escape the world for awhile. Pearl did its job. It was a good cheeseburger. That's all it was ever going to be. Junk food - you eat up, it rots out your teeth, and has no healthy qualities. Having said that, I must be hungry for fast food. Hmm, maybe I'll get some "Shrek" or maybe a nice "Knights Tale" for lunch. I bet those are cinematic genius.
May 30, 2001, 8:35 a.m. CST
Take it for what it is ya cynical bastards. American retro-schmaltz about an American religious event being marketted at middle America - not at you, ya nit-picking, cooler-than-thou, indie-schmindie geeks...
May 30, 2001, 8:54 a.m. CST
I have no problem with your doubling (or even tripling) the actual body count in your "Columbine" movie, but just remember to NOT show any of that gory, bloody type of effects stuff that actually happens when people are shot or blown up. God knows we don't want to offend anyone or possibly make them think about the consequences of these actions. PS - This probably isn't important and I'm sure it wasn't a factor in PH's decision, but leaving all that nasty REALISM out will most likely get you a PG-13 rating and a lot more ticket buyers.
May 30, 2001, 10:20 a.m. CST
by Captain Loft
Of course I didn't earn my "rank," it's the name of a character from a John Steinbeck book (oops). So, once again, let me get this straight. We don't respect our military veterans even though we're the ones who hate the idea of a (poorly made) movie cashing in on one of the worst defeats in our history? Great points. You're clearly retarded.
May 30, 2001, 12:46 p.m. CST
Try not to spill you pablum all over your bib
May 30, 2001, 12:49 p.m. CST
Better change your diapers too.
May 30, 2001, 2:01 p.m. CST
"When Leland Orser showed up as 'the twitchy guy who
May 30, 2001, 2:15 p.m. CST
I was roped into seeing Pearl Harbor by my girlfriend as well...I can't add anything except wait till DVD if you MUST see this movie. On an aside, How much would you like to wager that the DVD will be released around December 7th? I can see the second marketing blitz coming already!
May 30, 2001, 3:17 p.m. CST
by Captain Loft
that I didn't have to do any better than that. You're the guy who thinks that military experience is necessary for judging a movie about Pearl Harbor. You've also said that people who didn't like it should go back to listening to Britney Spears (making a REALLY obvious connection). Diapers? Wow, that one will keep me up at night. Toodles.
May 30, 2001, 4:48 p.m. CST
I have long been a reader of AICN, and have sifted through countless talkbacks over the years. This is the first time I am writing, so please don't "flame" me too badly, hear me out. It is a sad state in the minds of not just Moriarty, but of the AICN community in general to hear some of the bombastic and caustic comments that are made. When we hear of Brits attacking our entire country on the basis of one movie (as another said "get your own house in order first"), or when opinions between writers differ to the degree that we need to verbally abuse each-other, it is too much. We need to lighten up and remember why we go to the movies in the first place, to be entertained. Now while I understand everyone's view of entertainment differs, please don't climb so high upon your pulpits as to lose touch with the rest of the world. The film students, and self-proclaimed "critics" of the films reviewed on the site scrutinze most mundane of topics. And often, many "jump on the bandwagon" (sorry for the copious amount of colloquialisms). There are three types of people in the world, those who dont think, those who think, and those who think they think. And I suspect many of the Disney bashing is the result of the latter. While the premier party may have been distasteful (you'll have no argument here) the movie Pearl Harbor is by no means abominable (if you want THAT, go rent "BATS"). It is entertainment. It doesn't set out to be as profound as Requiem for a Dream, or even Saving Private Ryan. The audience that I saw this with loved it for the sake of having fun. I won't nominate it for an Oscar, but I'll be the first to admit that I walked out of the theater with a smile on my face. And that does more for me, than some of the nonsensical, spiteful talkbacks I've heard on here before.
May 30, 2001, 8:05 p.m. CST
has a lot to do with your expectations prior to entering the theater. Fortunately, due to reading AICN, I knew that the movie was not neccessarily a WAR movie, and, expecting a romance, I was not disappointed. The movie was beautifully shot and the characters were, to me, very engaging. I have never seen Ben Affleck play a role so well(Put Dogma on mute and watch his expression. It never wavers throughout-deer in the headlights) and versatility. I have always enjoyed the way Josh Hartnett conveys the figures he has protrayed while not always liking the movie and while I have never seen Kate Beckinsale prior to this, I am look forward to doing so in the future. The supporting cast were also very true to their roles and made me smile or want to cry in all the appropriate places. I could have done without the stutter though. I cannot believe that was neccessary and I cringed when a small number (and I do mean SMALL number) of people laughed. I live in Hawaii (the fireworks actually woke me) and found it interesting to see the places I have visited on film. Overall, I found it to be a good love story that delivered both tears and laughter. Unfortunately...the movie seemed to become tangled in the editing room with another film entirely! I think it is a real shame that "Mr. Bay"(I don't wish to appear disrespectful:o) did not realize that FOUR movies were accidentally spliced together. Any or all of the four(the love story, Pearl Harbor, Dorie Miller, and the Doolittle Raid) could easily have stood alone and, quite probably, should have done so. The CHIN drove me nuts. I spent the entire time President Roosevelt spoke desperately attempting to recall if he had a scar that I had never noticed. MOVIE: Roosevelt, "Don't tell me what is or isn't possible" or something like that. ME: "My goodness, the poor man must have fallen out of his wheelchair at some point. How terrible for him." The dog surviving was a cliche but I was very affected by the bombing sequence. I even had to remind myself to breathe at one point. After a while I did become rather numb. I think the hospital scenes were "fuzzy" and filtered to not only make the movie eligible for a PG13 rating but to portray the feelings of the nurses and other staff. Can you imagine the confusion and helplessness experienced by those people. Those people were experiencing shock as much as the men brought to them from the harbor. It makes you "fuzzy" and unfocased. Last but not least, Cuba Gooding, how does it feel to have given an outstanding performance as the Token Black? The thing I cannot stand about the thought of this movie is that people are taking a HOLLYWOOD MOVIE, although about a significant event in American history, and using it to express anti-war(it's how every nation on the face of this earth has been created and held)/you don't understand, you've never been there(military and a hospital worker, thank-you)/Americans are arrogant(yes, I am, thank-you. I have a good reason to be!)/atrocities towards mankind(I took care of a veteran who did nothing but lie in bed and cry. He had been a POW of the Japanese for three years during WWII. This was two years ago and he still had not recovered)/etc emotions. This is a movie about three people caught unprepared by events. Gee, this happens to people everyday. This film should not be held to the standards of Schindler's List or even Saving Private Ryan. It did not attempt to be another movie in the war genre, but is a genuine, honest-to-goodness, romance set in which the bombing just happens to occur. I feel the Money and the Mouse are to blame for the misunderstandings and the extremely tacky premier but in all honesty, the more exposure they have, the more money they will make in the long run. This will enable them to make more movies. This is their job. I personally think it should have been named something else so that expectations would have differed. It was a good movie with flaws. And "Mr. Bay" owes "Mr. John" an apology.
May 31, 2001, 1:30 a.m. CST
Is it me, or did it seem like the middle 50 minutes (the attack) of Pearl Harbor was another movie entirely? I wanted to yell at the camera operator to "go back to that other film!!!" whent hey cut back to the BS love triangle with Ben, Josh, and Kate. Ugh. Anyways. Anyone who complains about how repetative two planes flying between ships got, tell that to a veteran, or for that matter, the men who died in the water everytime two of those Zeroes flew overhead, again and again. Those 50 minutes were a masterful rendering of the attack. realistic and heart-renching to watch. I felt the helplessness of the situation. And the Vets felt it all over again too, it seems. http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/showbiz.today/featured.story/0105/28.html Sure, the rest of the movie sucked, but if you find a shining diamond in a pile of shit, don't call the diamond shit. I won't be going to back to the theaters to suffer through this hollywood mediocracy, but I can't wait for the DVD so I can watch the 'diamond' 50 minutes whenever I want.
May 31, 2001, 1:22 p.m. CST
The movie is historical fiction, not history. Historical fiction was around long before Michael Bay (long before movies, in fact) and it uses history as a backdrop for stories that "might have been." Nobody, including Bay, has said it should replace the study of history. Movies or books like this always state that most of their "characters and situations" are fictitious." Actual history and historical fiction co-exist. It doesn't take a PhD to tell the difference. You can enjoy Martian Chronicles but if you're studying astronomy for a test, you use science texts and observations from NASA. You can enjoy Coma but if you get sick, you don't try to treat yourself by using what you read in the book -- you see the doctor. Any intelligent person knows the difference in these cases. It's the same with history and historical fiction.
May 31, 2001, 7:26 p.m. CST
by Lt. Torello
...An honest comparison of America's conduct of WWII with that of the Axis Powers (and those rat bastard Vichy French) shows US forces behaved with the utmost professionalism. Those who've read my posts know I'm a liberal, but I'm also a veteran, as well as the son of a veteran, and I don't take unwarranted, anti-historical criticism of our nation's armed forces lightly, especially those children of the Great Depression who selflessly gave of themselves to beat back Hitler and Imperial Japan. The Japanese internment was shameful, to be sure. But to say it's the equivelent of The Holocaust or the Rape of Nanking is both stupid and dangerous. Watch "Conspiracy" on HBO this month, since you're obviously too lazy to read William Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." And as for dropping the atomic bombs, well my friend, that was simply a case of us being quicker on the draw as both Germany and Japan were trying to gear up an atomic weapon of their own. Do you really think less lives would have been lost had a conventional invasion of the Japanese home islands been launched? Conservative estimates show the war would have continued at least another two years with Japanese casualties alone tipping seven figures. Sorry if this sounds like a VFW speech, but beating back the Nazis and Imperial Japanese was one of the noblest things this nation ever did. We may have come in late (so please no lecture, British posters) but we made up for it. Oh, by the way, Moriarty, that was one of the finest film essays I've read in a long time. Boy, does that film suck, and for so many reasons. Thanks for nailing 'em all.
June 1, 2001, 12:23 p.m. CST
This movie is a horrible excuse for a 'historical' film. The inaccuracies are obvious to anyone who was awake during High School history class, except for that guy in the back who didn't bathe and wrote love notes to Mallory Keaton from 'Family Ties'....by the way, I still love you, Mallory... The Japanese deserved MUCH more of a human portrayal than what we see in PH. Another thing, America: STOP making period pieces which involve the relfex waving of the US flag like and screaming 'USA!' 'USA!' if you want your films to appeal to the world (the planet consists of cultures and countries other than the US of A, ok?). Spielberg did it right with his 2 WWI films, so the rest of you Yank directors & producers should follow suit and give your children an accurate legacy. History is much more exciting than any fictional story could ever be - when told correctly. Braveheart was even MORE historically inaccurate, which is irresponsible to the history of the subject. Same with PH. Shame on you, Bay! For shame (waving finger in an up & down motion)! Damn you and your dog, too! Some of you may say that not all Americans make crappy films like this, and you're right. But it's these horrible ones that the public wants, or they wouldn't get made. In the area of summer blockbusters, this will be one of the biggies, and why? Because of the fact that people (even in my country) WANT crap served to them at $12 a serving, uh, I mean, show. P.H. is a MOVIE, not a FILM. The same way Madonna is an ENTERTAINER, not a MUSICIAN. It doesn't mean one is necessarily more important than the other, it's just that they have different definitions & purposes. So, it seems like Hollywood has proven that the lowest common denominator gets the prize and that telling a story with accuracy & fairness is as about as uninteresting a concept to them as Ron Jeremy getting his back shaved. Of course, that's just MY opinion, I could be wrong...
June 1, 2001, 1:52 p.m. CST
by Critical Bill
June 1, 2001, 6:15 p.m. CST
Very nicely written review, Moriarty. True film analysis, and we didn't have to pay for it on the newsstand. And for those naysayers, 'Pearl Harbor' was that bad. It was *exactly* that bad. It could very well be the corniest frickin' movie i've ever seen!
June 1, 2001, 11:38 p.m. CST
Ya know, those people were all crying because they wasted $8 Frijoles on a 3-hour dog plop that shoulda been a real movie.
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