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Pearl Harbor...

Pearl Harbor

Movie Review: Pearl Harbor
Starring:
Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Director: Michael Bay
Producers: Michael Bay, Jerry Bruckheimer
Music: Mid Way
Writers: Randall Wallace

The movie grafts 30 minutes or so of riveting air-and-sea battle sequences onto a simplistic, cliché-ridden, 2 1/2-hour love triangle.
  

Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett play childhood pals who grow up to become dashing young pilots. Just before Affleck ships out for Great Britain to help the R.A.F. battle Hitler’s Luftwaffe, the Yank flyboy meets and falls in love with a beautiful nurse (Kate Beckinsale). Screenwriter Randall Wallace doesn’t sketch in so much as a hint of a reason why we should care for any of these characters.

While Affleck fights the good fight over Europe, his pal and his gal wind up in Pearl Harbor. When they receive word that the Germans shot down Affleck’s plane, they console each other .
  

Of course, as any fan of soap opera-style melodrama could guess, one should never assume that the hypotenuse of a love triangle has actually kicked the bucket unless you’ve killed him yourself. Affleck’s character arrives in Hawaii scant moments before the Japanese zero in on their sitting-duck targets. The bombing scenes take on a life of their own, as if culled from a different movie. From Bad Boys to The Rock to Armageddon, Bay and Bruckheimer have demonstrated an escalating proficiency with pyrotechnic mayhem. They blow up stuff as well as anyone in the business, and their hell-breaking-loose montage of destruction as Japanese bombs decimate our Pacific fleet rank with some of the most intense, gut-wrenching war. They could have -— and should have -— gone out in a blaze of

glory. Instead, Bay and company cave in to their worst yahoo instincts. After admirably resisting the

temptation to demonize the Japanese attackers, the filmmakers tack on an anti-climactic half-hour during which the brave American pilots get a chance to go back out and kick some Japanese.
 
The ending ties up the loose ends of the belaboured three-way romance. But it also reminds us that there’s something terribly wrong with a movie that takes nearly five times as long to resolve a generic love story as it does to

recreate the infamous battle from which it gets its title. The two problems with PEARL HARBOR are the writing and the charisma-lacking cast. Director Michael Bay delivers a truly exciting long sequence on the

bombing of Pearl Harbor but one has to sit through the weak love  story to get to the high-octane entertainment of devastation and destruction.  

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