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Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor is all about bombs- bombs destroying battleships, bombs pummeling airfields, bombs tearing apart hospitals and schools and churches.

So it's only fitting that the movie itself should be a bomb.

Folks, do yourselves a favor and skip Pearl Harbor. Yes, the effects are amazing, yes the battle over Pearl Harbor is fantastic, and yes the battle lasts for almost an hour and manages to bomb the living crapola out of everyone and their stepmother. Sadly, there's over two more hours to this movie, and they are so dreadful to sit through that you begin tearing the flesh off of your eye-sockets to relieve the pain.

This should have been easy. Pearl Harbor! Real-live event with all sorts of great explosions built-in! Tragedy in the making! Film the battle, revel in the tragedy, end with a blurb of text that says "four years later we dropped a bomb on them and won the damn war" and don't worry if the movie doesn't play well in Japan.

But, noooooooooo. They had to include a love story. Blech! The producers were not content with being the action blockbuster of the summer; they wanted something that would make the thirteen year-old girls come back again and again. They wanted to be Titanic!


So here's your story. Two friends want to be pilots. They become pilots. One falls in love with a girl, who falls in love with him. He goes off to fight for England and supposedly dies (yeah, like anyone in the audience believed that for a millisecond). Second friend then falls in love with same girl, who now falls in love with him, since first friend is dead. Everybody meets up at Pearl Harbor on December 6th, 1941.

That takes 90 minutes.

Then you get an hour of explosions. And then, just when you think the pain is over because the attack is over, the movie decides to continue the torment for another 30 minutes. Add it up. It's 3 hours long. This is a crime, and the director should be made to pay.

Here's the entire story of Pearl Harbor.

"I love you!"

"I love you too!"

"I'm going away!"

"He's dead!"

"I love you, now!"

"I have given up on him, and I love you now!"

"I'm alive!"

"I love you!"

"I love her, too!"

"I love everyone!"

"Oh shit, we're being bombed by Japan!"

Pearl Harbor is bombed.

"Anyway, who were you? I forget. Oh yeah, I love you."


"America rocks!"


It's almost as if the attack on Pearl Harbor gets in the way of the nice little war-time love story. Every character arc is put on hold until the dust settles. No time for depth! We have battleships to blow up!

Now, I must reiterate- when they blow up the ships, it is very cool. The ships blow up real well. But I couldn't help thinking that the entire movie belittled the actual experience by having two renegade Hollywood creations manage to single handedly take down a bunch of Japanese fighters during the attack. They're the stars of the movie, so even though America is getting pounded into the Stone Age, our boys are still total studs. It's the Rambo syndrome, where one Hollywood character proves to be more efficient than the entirety of the American armed forces. If they wanted to be realistic, they should've had Ben Affleck blasted into smithereens in the harbor.

Pearl Harbor follows the Titanic formula from start to finish. But like everything else in this movie, it has to be bigger. So instead of two young, pretty, lovelorn people, we get three. Instead of one ship sinking, we total an entire fleet. Instead of one well-placed iceberg, we get the might of Japan. But when all is said and done, the bomb is delivered into theaters, and America loses again.

Pearl Harbor picks up 1 1/2 Babylons. Only the rather incredible pyrotechnic show saves this movie from the depths of a zero. However, the fact that it can rock for almost an hour and still get such a low score should show you just how excruciating the rest of the movie actually is.

As my Editor said to me after seeing the movie "The best part of this movie was the ending, because it was over."

Editor's Note:

I know I usually don't add my $0.02, but, god, I hated this movie even more then the SMC. I embarrassed myself in the theatre by actually heckling. I apologize to anyone at the 4:00 show on Saturday at the Mann's in Glendale, CA.

Pearl Harbor
Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Michael Bay
Starring: Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jon Voight, Alec Baldwin and some chick named James King. I only mention James King because I dig the name. James King. She's a girl. A cute one, too. Pretty, pretty James King. I hear her sisters are named Chuck, Duncan and Bob.

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