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Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

 

Title - Pearl Harbor
My Admission - $8.00
One Line Review - Damn!

 

Review - I just finished a book about the authenticity of the past. A group of people attempting to market an historic moment, not by recreating it aesthetically, but by delivering the buyer to that moment in time.  In this day and age, you may not get any closer to that than Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor does for the Japanese surprise attack what 'Saving Private Ryan' did for storming the beach at Normandy.  With as much emotion and far less blood.  Pearl Harbor puts you into the cockpit of a Japanese Zero as it flies through Battleship Row, gunning down everything it can, as well, the film sets you on the deck of the Arizona as her forward magazine explodes.  It puts you into the mind of service nurses ill-prepared for the horror and tragedy of the living dead and it puts you well in mind of love and loss in a time of great struggle.  It's breath taking.

In addition to the pseudo-experience of the attack Pearl Harbor gets you into the mental frame of its characters; before, during, and after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Something Private Ryan only showed you.  People from my generation know about Pearl Harbor and
WWII but relate the mental military experience to the Vietnam War. A war that was looked upon by many participants and even more Americans at home in a, "Fuck That!" frame of mind.  Pearl Harbor draws the watcher into the understanding of the individuals who are about to enter a war that needs to be fought, not so much for Democracy or political gain but because it's, "the right thing to do."  Pessimists will call it propaganda but the ingrained ideals of honor and sacrifice our what gave us this life.

In that vein, Pearl Harbor re-exposes the watcher to America's innocence.  Of America The Beautiful, of Mom, and Apple Pie. Something rarely seen in films today.  Maybe that's where Pearl Harbor got me.  Right in that soft spot of patriotism and innocence lost.  In the mind where 'the needs of the many out weight the needs of the few'.  In a sense of community and commonality that society has beaten out of American citizens.  Whether I'm right or wrong, is irrelevant.  It's only opinion and interpretation based on a childhood understanding of a generation's experience I can only hope to never see with my own eyes or through the eyes of my children.

Let me simplify all of this by saying Pearl Harbor is a great film. Not heavy like 'Saving Private Ryan' but more like the classic WWII films, I grew up watching.  Stuff like 'The Great Escape', 'The Bridge On The River Kwai', or even 'Mr. Roberts'.  It is an
uplifting and tragic film and is as easy to watch as any of the films I just mentioned or their numerous counterparts.  Even if you've got problems watching Ben Affleck.

I should give some special note to Randall Wallace for his screenwriting.  His work in film includes scripts for 'Braveheart' and 'The Man In The Iron Mask' and his script for 'Pearl Harbor' is on par with the pair.  To Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer, whose history together include 'Bad Boys', 'The Rock', & the horrible,
'Armageddon'.  This is a real return to form for this director and producer.  And a note on an all-star cast that add to 'Pearl Harbor's classic WWII film feel.

P.S. Alec Baldwin is still pretty awesome.

-m-



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Turn Down The Lights, Turn Up The Sound.

Matthew Gilbert © 1999-2015 All Rights Reserved

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