Its no wonder the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, any place that goddamn boring is begging to be blown to bits.
Pearl Harbor is not so much the story of Pearl Harbor itself, but rather follows the trail of two army pilots and their love interest as they make their way across the world loving, flying, and fighting. Truthfully, though it is the focal point of the movie, the battle of Pearl Harbor itself seems to have very little lasting impact on its main characters. Sadly, the battle of Pearl’s effect on its audience is even less.
After waiting 2 hours to get there, wading through blandly written love scenes, poorly filmed dog fights, and moments of such complete and unnecessary boredom that this Hobbit is almost certain he saw the man sitting next to him ask his wife to wake him when the killin starts, the battle of Pearl Harbor itself finally blasts onto the screen. And at this moment is the ONLY moment in the entire film where anyone is even remotely interested in what is going on. Here, director Michael Bay finally wakes up out of the coma he has been in for the previous two hours and puts his talents into full effect. The visuals are terrifyingly beautiful and stunningly real. It’s certainly one of the finest bombing scenes this Hobbit has ever seen captured on film. And its here that Cuba Gooding Jr., despite only having a minor role, shows WHY he is an Oscar Winner.
The movie should have ended there. Two hours and fifteen minutes is enough film for anyone and with the wonders of the battle of Pearl Harbor fresh on the viewers minds, they might have even forgiven the two hours of boredom that came before. But, evidently someone though, not enough. Instead the film meanders on for another 45 minutes for reasons the Hobbit can only describe as sadistic, killing off a few more main characters, birthing a few more children, and attempting to end with some sort of victory for the United States. I just wanted out and so did everyone else.
The real flaw in the film is that the battle of Pearl Harbor tries to tell us too much. In many ways it tries to copy the feel and flow of Titanic, but misses most of the things which made Titanic such a success. Where Titanic was a snapshot in the lives of two characters brought together to face impending disaster, Pearl is this huge over weighted story spanning months and years of time as it dips in and out of the lives of its characters in some sort of utterly misguided attempt to make us care about them. Where Titanic is a slow and continual build to impending doom, Pearl is a flighty jaunt through a poorly written love triangle briefly interrupted by the battle of Pearl. Pearl struggles for intense honesty and candor about the events of those times, as in its wonderful, human portrayal of the Japanese as real people with the same feelings and hopes as their American counterparts. But, in the end the film leaves its audience feeling as though they’ve been fed convenient lies by a gun-toting clown.
Sixty years after it happened, Pearl Harbor is once again a crushing defeat for America, only this time nobody cares.
Buy Pearl on DVD