When I first heard about this film I was excited to say the least. The thought of watching the epic bombing of Pearl Harbour was something I just could not imagine. And to the films credit that part was at least satisfying. However it is quite obvious they did not want to go down the “Saving Private Ryan” road and do the full on cold hard reality style war film. It is also quite obvious they wanted something there for the ladies to see. This all by itself seems fair, reasonable and smart but the execution is an absolute shocker!
There is in essence two films here, a love triangle and a war movie. They have been rolled into one and they fail to complement each other. The war scenes and the love scenes are two seperate entities and the filmmakers never seem to be able to fully roll them into one. It is kind of like ‘now lets have them kiss and be lovey dovery’, ‘now lets bomb that absolute heck out of Pearl Harbour’ – does this match? However as sperate films in themselves they lack so much.
The love story is not engaging enough. I found myself at the start when the female lead was explaining how she met Affleck I wandering what I had missed. Had I walked in late or something, I was thrown into an already developed relationship and felt lost. The characters in the start of this film get some poor lines to use and the film never sucks you in. I know my girlfreind loved the love story angle just as much as I loved the war scene but she agrees she felt like she was not part of it all. And that is where it fails. The film fails to ‘suck us in’. In “Titanic” we see the lovers before they meet, when they meet, when they have fun, when they fall apart and then finally then end. In this film we jump straight into when they are having fun, have them fall apart and then the end fails to give us any sence of conclusion. And this goes for three hours!!!!
The war angle too has its problems! For starters the battles near the start are kinda cool but they are woven into a monologue by Affleck about writing to his girl – boring! Everyone needed a release from the intense love angle trying to be portrayed and some aciton was needed. The we get to the Japanese who in relaity were very barbarrack, patriotic people! The Japanese Admiral says towards the end “I fear all we have done is awoken a sleeping giant”. What a load of tripe, the reality was the Japanese thought they were going to take over all of Asia and America. As for the films justification of why the 3rd wave was not sent against Pearl is also full of it. The reality is so much more complex and believeable. And of course you must cut most of Alecs and Johns speeches so the American “we are so great” is no longer there. However the actually bombing was awesome! I could feel the tingle in my throat as the planes flew in! This was what made the movie and made it bearable to watch!
So all in all what is it? two hours of an uninteresting, unengaging soppy love story mixed with just over an hour of historically inacurate, Americanised war scenes. But it is all saved by one thing, the bombing of Pearl Harbour itself. This is proof you can save any film by bombing the absolute heck out of something