Pearl Harbor (2001)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Pearl Harbor</strong> (2001)

(In theaters, June 2001) When all will be said and done, the best two things about this Bruckheimer/Bay production will be A> The stunning centerpiece of the film, a 45-minutes-long re-creation of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and B> a renewed appreciation for the masterpiece that was Titanic. The main problem of Pearl Harbor is its structure; while we could have lived with the trite dialogue, it’s hard to remember fondly a film that makes you wait an hour for the big action scene, and afterward goes on for another hour. You begin at Pearl Harbor and you end at Midway; or you resolve all the stories during the attack, but you! do! not! do it like that. It doesn’t help that the leads are blander than bland (though Kate Beckinsale is cute, and her fellow nurses even cuter), the dialogue is atrocious (they could hear me roll my eyes across the theater) and that Michael Bay’s usually dynamic style here comes across as unbearably pretentious. (I laughed aloud at a revolving door shot that went on… and on… and on…) The result is a mish-mash of a film, a 45-minutes Home Theater showpiece mixed with an emotion-free romance that drags on for a full two hours. It’s just that once you’ve seen the explosions, you just won’t care about anything else. At least Titanic, for all its faults, felt like a genuine story that didn’t waste your time. Here, at least half the film is filler, including most of the celebrity cameos that could have been cut without a moment’s notice. (C’mon; did we really need the Voigt, Gooding or Aykroyd characters? No!) It’s hard to say if the film fails because it’s too ambitious or because morons wrote it. In any case, it’s a half-success at best.

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