Combustible Celluloid
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With: Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Alec Baldwin, Cuba Gooding Jr., Dan Aykroyd, Mako, Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, William Lee Scott, Colm Feore, Michael Shannon, Peter Firth, Jennifer Garner, Catherine Kellner, James King/Jaime King, Scott Wilson, William Fichtner, Ewan Bremner, Leland Orser, Graham Beckel, Tomas Arana, Guy Torry, Brian Haley, Tony Curran, Kim Coates, Glenn Morshower, John Fujioka, Tim Choate, John Diehl, Ted McGinley, Raphael Sbarge
Written by: Randall Wallace
Directed by: Michael Bay
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 184
Date: 05/21/2001

Pearl Harbor (2001)

2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Was anyone really clamoring for a longer version of Pearl Harbor? I confess I got away without seeing it until now, and I confess that it's not really as bad as many people say it is. Oh, it's bad all right -- I was wincing at the overwritten dialogue within the first five minutes. And, as expected, director Michael Bay shakes the camera every time an action scene comes around (these can be especially awkward intercut with the smooth exterior scenes). But some of the giant spectacle shots can be effective, and some of the cinematography -- mostly in the early peacetime Hawaii scenes -- is quite lovely.

I received the impression that Pearl Harbor was made in complete ignorance of the last 100 years of film history, using incredibly hackneyed and old-fashioned devices that might have come from D.W. Griffith himself. For example, Kate Beckinsale actually leaves her handkerchief behind while dining with Josh Hartnett. But at the same time, it was made with Titanic's huge box-office take in mind, and copied that formula exactly.

DVD Details: The Pearl Harbor: Director's Cut four-disc box (Buena Vista, $39.99) set comes with the 184-minute version of the film (1 minute longer than the theatrical release) and plenty of self-important and noble extras; commentary tracks, mini-documentaries, photos, etc. For masochists only.

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