Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Tora! Tora! Tora!</strong> (1970)

(On Blu Ray, September 2018) Looking at Pearl Harbour from American and Japanese perspectives (and co-directed by Richard Fleischer, Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku, with script contributions by Akira Kurosawa), Tora! Tora! Tora! has aged remarkably well. There’s a credible verisimilitude to the entire film that is enhanced by the careful character development of characters on both sides of the war, with the Japanese even coming across more favourably than the Americans at times. The various tactics, strategic objectives and errors made by the characters are well identified, and we almost feel as if we’ve learned something from the entire film by the end of it. 1970 was an … interesting year for war movies (with anti-war statements MASH, Catch-22 and Kelly’s Heroes being released the same year) but Tora! Tora! Tora! manages to feel distinct from the other ones by being more analytical than satirical in going beyond the jingoism of earlier eras. Seventies special effects standards mean that the film does have great battle sequences—sadly, they may feel underwhelming to those who grew up on Michael Bay’s typically bombastic Pearl Harbour. Tora! Tora! Tora! does have the edge in terms of character, though, even if Pearl Harbour does just a little bit in providing closure with the Doolittle bombings. In my mind, I have a pretty good mash-up of both movies combining the authenticity and cleverness of Tora! Tora! Tora! with the special effects and story structure of Pearl Harbour (with maybe the beach scene from From Here to Eternity thrown in). Prepare an extra-large bowl of popcorn to accommodate seven hours of movie-watching and see them both as a complementary double feature.

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