So once again we have survived.

Pearl Harbor

chapter 4
chapter 4

2001posterreleased May 25th, 2001

WARNING: contains spoilers for PEARL HARBOR and World War II

After three financially successful action movies in a row (BAD BOYS, THE ROCK, ARMAGEDDON), Michael Bay got a once-in-his-career itch to make An Important Movie. He probly had SAVING PRIVATE RYAN on the brain, and definitely TITANIC.

Ever since James Cameron’s movie broke all box office records studios had been threatening to make asses of themselves by blatantly trying to catch more lightning in that same melodramatic-love-story-during-historic-disaster bottle. Jan de Bont almost did a love-story-on-the-Hindenburg movie, for example. PEARL HARBOR wasn’t as obvious of a copycat as that because 1) it was a love story set against a war movie as much as a disaster and 2) the love song on the end credits was by Faith Hill instead of Celine Dion. Totally different.

Ben Affleck plays Rafe, a functionally illiterate pilot; Josh Hartnett plays Danny, his best friend since childhood and fellow pilot; Kate Beckinsale plays Evelyn, the nurse that Rafe falls in love with and then immediately abandons to fight with the RAF Eagle Squadron. Of course he crashes his plane, so he’s reported dead, Danny has to tell Evelyn the bad news, they spend some time together, a few months later they’re making beautifully-lit, camera-rotating love in the parachute hangar.

I mean obviously they have really conflicted feelings about this, they both feel guilty but also they really love each other and maybe it’s Danny’s duty to give his best friend’s girl the happiest life she can have after this tragedy. But they both resist and take time but it just kind of happens, and who is to say this is not what was meant to happen? Maybe a tragedy has opened the window for a small miracle. In fact, Evelyn has been vomiting in the morning.

So wouldn’t you know it turns out Rafe is still alive, and when he gets back he doesn’t take kindly to the new arrangement. This could get complicated. The truth is that nobody really is wrong or right here, they all just reacted honestly to their understanding of events and unfortunately what should be good news has opened up rifts in a life-long friendship and two love affairs, and covered them in layers of guilt, envy and resentment. Oh yeah, also there’s a subplot about how military intelligence (Dan Aykroyd) is noticing alot of odd data but not in time to figure out that the Japanese (Mako, c-htCary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) are planning and executing the attack on Pearl Harbor that took 2,350 lives and pulled the U.S. into WWII.

It follows the typical war movie formula. You got the young naive individuals and the reasons why they get into it, how they have fun together getting into mischief, going to the social events, falling for the girls. But meanwhile shit is getting real. Even if they knew it somewhere in their heads they didn’t fully comprehend that the war would happen and that they’d be there. And like any movie we follow this group of friends as they go through it all together. What’s not 100% believable in my opinion is that this group of friends all stays intact. This clique of soldiers are all together with a matching clique of nurses and when the day that still lives in infamy happens they get in a car together and drive to an airfield where they can find shotguns and planes to fight off the third wave.

Ewan Bremner plays a stuttering soldier from their group of friends. Instead of redoing his performance from JULIEN DONKEY-BOY he does it more like “Simple Jack” from TROPIC THUNDER. In the point-of-view of this movie one of the great tragedies of WWII is that a retarded guy landed a super-hot wife but then she got killed.

For racial diversity or something Cuba Gooding Jr. has a brief guest appearance as Dorie Miller, in real life the cook who performed bravely during the attack and therefore became the first black man awarded the Navy Cross. He’s introduced a good way into the movie in a boxing match against the guy who would play Leatherface in the shitty remake of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE if such a movie were to exist, which fortunately it does not, never did and never will. This scene has a weird feel because we see pretty much all the whites rooting for the white guy and all the blacks rooting for the black guy but going by the dialogue there’s no racial component to this at all, it’s because the sailors and cooks have animosity toward each other.

After the fight Dorie goes to be nursed by Evelyn, and luckily they have time to go for a quiet walk together so Dorie can tell her his life story and how sad he is that he signed up for his country and hasn’t even been allowed to fire a gun.

Finally we see him during the attack and he’s able to man a gun, shoot down a plane and yell a whole bunch. (in real life there’s no evidence he shot down a plane. Not sure if the yelling can be verified either.)

mp_pearlharborObviously I skipped this at the time, but reading up on it it’s clear that it didn’t go over well. Alot of people seemed to agree there was something shitty about making a movie like this out of this particular historical event. It does so much to simplify, glamourize and sensationalize an event that is pretty sacred to Americans (and I’m sure Japanese) because of the huge ramifications it had for human lives, for our countries, for history. I know I found it ridiculously tacky when I saw Michael Bay go on the MTV Movie Awards and accept his popcorn shaped “Best Action Sequence” prize. That put “Japanese attack scene” in the books next to “Motorcycle chase” from M:I 2, “Truck drives through farm equipment” from TWISTER and “Mel Gibson’s motorcycle crash” from LETHAL WEAPON 3.

But I gotta admit, if it’s at all possible to set aside that huge matter of taste, PEARL HARBOR is technically better than most of the other Michael Bay movies, for two main reasons:

1. Not as much bad comedy, although there’s one wacky dog reaction shot in Alec Baldwin’s office at the beginning

2. The action scenes are pretty well staged for the most part

The whole thing is beautifully shot. I bet the clouds didn’t look quite that gorgeous during the real attack, but the vivid look of the movie makes it kind of feel like you’re really there. There are some excellent special effects, because most of them don’t look like special effects. I even think the show-offy stuff like following a bomb as it drops on a ship work pretty well. I think some people took exception to it, like it was making a rollercoaster ride out of the deaths of real people. True, but in a smarter movie it could probly work as an audacious way to shove your face into the horror of what’s going on.

This is the Bay movie that seems the most like an AT&T commercial. He delights in creating idyllic scenes to be interupted by the surreal sight of Japanese bombers. A little league kid’s baseball game, a woman hanging up her laundry, an astronaut eating a slice of applie pie off of a Bible.

In fairness to Bay, it should be noted that the battle is scored with TITANIC-y sad music, acknowledging that this is a horrible tragedy unfolding and not an awesome, award worthy action sequence like “Bus escape/Airplane explosion” from SPEED or “L.A. freeway scene” from T2. At one point I was thinking it was trying to be “TITANIC with flags,” and then sure enough there was a shot from underwater with a crowd of shipwreck victims struggling to stay afloat and an American flag floating in the middle of them. It really does look like a shot lifted from TITANIC with digitally added flag. My heart will go on, like a proud eagle.

The attack scenes are upsetting, even in the non-gory PG-13 version I watched. Seeing all the nurses running like hell and getting shot at is brutal. But it would be nice if everything that came before wasn’t so laughable. It has lines like “I’m not anxious to die, sir. Just anxious to matter!” And “We thought you were dead, Rafe, and it gutted us both.” I mean I kinda like Josh Hartnett, but there’s a limit to what he can pull off verbally, and it stops before “it gutted us both.”

If there was some depth to this thing it would be praise-worthy that it follows the nurses a little bit. That’s not a story we’ve seen in much detail, or at least I haven’t. They spend the whole movie being pretty and then during the attack they use their lipstick to mark patients and their nylons to tie tourniquettes. Nice symbolism, but it would be better if they got characterization instead, or also.

The silliest thing about the movie in my opinion is the convenient way the love triangle works out. She falls in love with Rafe, then with Danny when she thinks Rafe is dead, then Danny really does die, so she gets to go back to Rafe, but with Danny’s child. The best of both worlds, no tough decisions required. (But maybe if there’s a part 2 it’ll turn out Danny’s alive and he’ll come back and the tables will re-turn.)

I have to say I was thankful to watch it on DVD and be able to take some breaks. At one point I was checking the timer on the player to see how much was left, I thought “Oh, this isn’t really that long, I’m not sure what everybody was complaining about.” Then at some point I realized there wasn’t enough time left for the end credits to fit. Sure enough I had fallen for the old “insert disc 2” deal. Then there was another hour left.

For the purposes of this study (and my own sanity) I watched the theatrical version. But then my buddy convinced me I had to listen to Bay’s commentary track on the director’s cut. Bay starts out very serious because he was recording it “250 hours after” 9-11, but he almost immediately jumps into complaining about the “tight budget” he had to work on. It was greenlit at $135, the highest ever intentionally approved by a studio at that time, but Bay thinks that wasn’t enough money for the subject matter. To be fair it is true that nobody had ever made a movie about World War II, the Ten Commandments or even Cleopatra.

In conversation with his proud Wesleyan professor Jeanine Basinger, Bay also brags about singling out a kid in front of 500 other extras and chewing him out for screwing up a shot. He doesn’t tell the story like it’s funny or awkward, but like it’s something that we’ll be really impressed by. Good job millionaire director of Victoria’s Secret commercials. You really showed that kid who couldn’t keep a straight face in the background of your universally despised movie. I hope you made him cry.

* * *

Of all the movies that came out in the summer of 2001 this is the one where coming out shortly before 9-11 is most significant. Shortly after the World Trade Center was attacked a Pearl Harbor (the historical event, not the movie) comparison started to get thrown around very liberally in the media. Pearl Harbor was considered the last attack on American soil (previous terrorist attacks didn’t count) and both the conventional wisdom and the propaganda had it that 9-11 was the wake up call to pull America into a world war.

The movie shows Americans attacked, killed, wounded, running for cover. It shows the attempts to interpret data about an attack but failing to predict or prepare properly. It shows care free young people suddenly transformed and wanting to be sent off to war to get revenge or make things right. When PEARL HARBOR (the movie this time) came out it was trying to introduce these concepts to young people, but they’d all become familiar again a few months later.

I can’t help but wonder if this exact movie had come out one summer later if it would’ve been a massive hit. Of course then it would seem like shameless knee-jerk propaganda, but the country’s mood at the time might’ve led us to pay less attention to the characters, acting, etc. and more to the flags and the heroism. Around that time the miniature flags attached to every pickup truck in the country were beginning to rot, but they were still waving. People might’ve been inspired by the closing narration: “America suffered, but America grew stronger. It was not inevitable. The times tried our souls… and through the trial, we overcame.”

But maybe not. 2002 was a summer of fantasy and escape. Affleck actually starred in THE SUM OF ALL FEARS, a Tom Clancy terrorism thriller, and that did pretty good but was overshadowed by SPIDER-MAN and ATTACK OF THE CLONES. And coincidentally (since it was filmed before 9-11) they had changed it from the Tom Clancy book so the terrorists weren’t Arabs anymore.

People enjoy Indiana Jones melting greedy Nazis, or Brad Pitt blowing up Hitler. Enough time has passed that you might even be able to do some kind of fictionalized thriller tying into the real historical events of the attack on Pearl Harbor. But Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer making old timey TOP GUN and then presenting it as a representation of the real event… that’s not gonna go over well. So no, maybe there wasn’t a good time for PEARL HARBOR to come out. No matter when they did it it still would’ve been fucking PEARL HARBOR.

* * *

legacy: Like almost all of Michael Bay’s movies it made some money, but if Bay was looking for respect he’s gonna have to keep snooping around for it. It has 27% on Rotten Tomatoes and its biggest mark on pop culture was in the song in TEAM AMERICA that compares the strength of a character’s love to the suckiness of PEARL HARBOR. Bay hasn’t tried for respectability since.

This was somewhere in the middle of Affleck’s process of burning through the public’s good will toward him as an actor (it was a couple years after PHANTOMS and a couple before GIGLI) but he has since become a respectable director.

datedness: Being a period piece and being well executed visually it doesn’t seem dated to 2001 at all.

2001-2011 connections: Ten summers ago Bay tried to graduate to more mature material. This summer he’s doing his third toy adaptation in a row (and in 3D this time). That’s probly a better idea for him.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Sunday, June 12th, 2011 at 11:36 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews, Romance, War. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

88 Responses to “Pearl Harbor”

  1. Honestly, I hate this movie. In the beginning it felt great: great camera work, nice colours and everything but after the attack-scene the movie fell apart. It went downhill. Generally I kinda like Bay’s movies (especially The Rock and the Bad Boys-flicks) but when he’s trying to be serious, it’s disaster.

  2. Thanks for the WWII spoiler warning. Classic Vern.

    Was Affleck’s character really named Rafe? I forgot that. When I saw this in a theater on opening night, there were audible gasps when he came back into the movie. Did people really think Ben Affleck died 20 minutes into the movie he stars in? And that they didn’t make war love triangles where the “dead” guy comes back?

    Was that actually a little league game? I seem to remember it as just random kids playing baseball, because that’s what random kids do whenever possible. They get together and play baseball, even if they have no uniforms, just their wife beater tank tops. They’ve just got to get some baseball in.

    But you didn’t say anything about Alec Baldwin’s line about what he’d do if he got shot down. “I’d fly my plane into as many of those Jap bastards as I could.” I was kind of impressed that the last hour of the movie is what happens after Pearl Harbor. And I have not seen it in 10 years so that’s quite an impression it made.

  3. Just like any other Michael Bay movie without ROCK or BAD BOYS in the title I NEVER bothered. However I’m positive reading this review was way more entertaining than ever sitting through this. This entire summer retrospective has been greatly inspired. Kudos once again Vern for taking so many bullets for the team on this one all for the sake of quality insights on all sorts of filmatism.

  4. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 13th, 2011 at 12:50 am

    I watched this on dvd on the recommendation that the action was good. Unfortunately, I was not told just how much hard work it would be sitting through the rest of it would be. I found myself watching the timer on the dvd player, willing it on to the end.

  5. Vern: For what it’s worth, the characters played by Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett are based on actual U.S. pilots who managed to get airborne during the Pearl Harbor attack, and shot down 6 Japanese planes between them. All the rest (romancing the same woman, their past childhood link, etc.) is bullshit. To his meagre credit, at least Bay included a thin line of truth about them.

    Yeah, I agree with you in that, in large part it’s a mediocre movie… its reach far exceeding its grasp. But at its core are two great performances:

    1.) Alec Baldwin as James Doolittle, seeping manly fortitude and gravitas from every pore, and just BARELY avoiding going OTT. His work here grounds the second half of the movie, and God knows where it might have spun without him.

    2.) Jon Voight as President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Four stars to the makeup dept. for the sake of appearance, and the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor That Never Was for Voight’s masterful, commanding portrayal of FDR. Seriously… watch it again sometime when the mood takes you. Jon Voight can be justly accused of coasting at times in the near past (“Enemy Of The State”, “Transformers”), but he nails this role SHUT.

    Aside from that, I do believe the attack on Pearl Harbor itself, and the 15-20 minutes prior to it that build the tension, are Michael Bay’s finest moments as a director. Which may not be saying much, but within the context of the movie… quite commendable.

  6. I don’t get why Bay didn’t just remake From Here to Eternity. Both the movie and the television series has everything he tried to do in Pearl Harbor.

  7. as i mentioned in another thread, i went to this movie on opening day SOLELY because the first full trailer for THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING was gonna play before it. man, that was stupid. i pretty much began sighing with boredom about five minutes into the movie and didn’t stop for the entire, ungodly running length. i felt so guilty about dragging my then girlfriend to it. the script was atrocious. the melodrama painful. but i guess the whole thing was worth it in the end, if for nothing else than for the fact that it inspired vern’s line about the astronaut eating apple pie off the bible.

    btw, just an aside, since i live in japan… weirdly, pearl harbor (the incident) isn’t something that the japanese in general have a huge awareness of. i mean, i’m sure everyone’s heard of it, but it’s not like a major event in their collective minds. i guess it must be glossed over in their history lessons, along with some other, um, shall we say, unpleasant episodes in japanese history (*cough* nanking *cough*). the movie PEARL HARBOR came out in japan right after i moved here, and for some reason it was a huge hit here, relatively speaking much more successful than it was in america. i don’t really get it.

    as for bay, vern i suggest (once again) that you give THE ROCK another look if you haven’t done so recently; it’s a really entertaining, well-done action movie, with two fun, central performances (and a bunch of cool actors in secondary parts), and the action is mostly really well-staged and not hard to follow. otherwise i agree with you about bay.

  8. So it looks like the Japanese are the complete opposite of the Germans, in terms of talking about WWII. Here you get Hitlered to death, as soon as you enter your 5th year in school. Every single year we had to talk about the rise of Hitler, the Holocaust and so on. And believe me, after the first time, they don’t care of adding anything new to the lesson plan. They just repeat what we learned the last time. SCHINDLER’S LIST is a good movie, but after being forced to watch it in school for the 6th year in a row, it gets pretty old if you ask me.

    Although to be fair and with all respect, sometimes I wonder what other countries learn in school about WWII anyway. Even my Canadian girlfriend, who is one of the most lovable and unprejudiced persons I know asked me once if it’s true, that Hitler’s Birthday is STILL a national Holiday in my country! (Not to mention all those assholes who think that the Nazi party still runs Germany. Seriously, what the fuck?)

  9. Have to say as tacky shit goes, The Sum Of All Fears was as bad taste as this Titanic Lite (Lite-anic, if you will). They actually have a nuclear blast decimate a city, even taking out Morgan Freeman, and it still managed to end with Affleck pulling his goofy grin as he smooches his girlfriend. I’m amazed the camera didn’t pull back to show them feeling each other up surrounded by burning corpses.

  10. Hey the movie gave us Vern’s astronaut/apple pie/Bible line in this review. Fair trade.

    I’d still argue this movie has one of the best trailers of the past 20 years. That only reinforces everything Vern said here though of course.

  11. CJ, there must be something wrong with the educational system i Canada, because WWII is covered pretty intensely in every country on the globe. Show her Der Untergang and she won’t ask silly questions again.

  12. If it was only her, I wouldn’t make such a fuzz, but do me the favor and mention somewhere else in the world, not necessarily in Canada, just for fun that you come from Germany and listen to all the bullshit that people suddenly start to tell you.
    I even read somewhere an article, written by none other than Leonard Nimoy, where he talked about how he refused to come to Germany until the mid 90’s, because he was scared that they would kill him as soon as he leaves the plane, just because he is jewish or something like that.

  13. I think Vern hits on something really sad about this movie: it gets so much right and has some really great effects and action scenes that are well staged. It’s just a shame that everything else sucks that when the action does happen no one cares because seriously the rest of the movie was awful.

    I remember that this was going to be the big summer movie. That didn’t quite work out at the theatre I worked at.

    Also, it’s weird to see John Voight as FDR. I remember being at a Tea Party rally in DC last year and the event was really excited to have John Voight speak to everyone there. He eventually came on to say some really ugly stuff. That he had previously played someone like FDR just seems weird. It’s like if Alec Baldwin were to play Reagan.

  14. I’ve never seen this (matter of fact I’ve only seen two Bay movies), but I remember it being hyped to hell when it came out, I really thought that it was going to be something on the level of Saving Private Ryan

    and then it came out and promptly became a punch line, so I skipped it

    on a related note, does anyone know why Bruckheimer gave up on Bay? did they have a falling out or something? I think the last movie they did together was Bad Boys 2

  15. CJ – Considering how big the Star Trek fanbase is in Germany, I’m certain Nimoy there is as safe as the President is in the White House.

    As for your education system possibly overdoing it, quite a swing of difference from from before the 1970s when German schools apparently didn’t even cover the Holocaust.

    From your description it sounds like they overdo it, in overreaction to well you know. I can’t blame them personally since nobody wants a sequel to that bullshit which Germany finally in last decade or two finally got out of the International black cloud.

    But there’s one big reason why that can’t happen again, or not like that again: Democracy. Unlike the Weimar Republic, Democracy is accepted and supported as part of German identity after 65+ years and its got a decent political constitution to make it not be such a dysfunctional fuck-up like the Weimar was.

    (Not to mention the modern German economy can’t function, nor the population rate not able to positively maintain, without all those migrants and immigrants from North Africa, Eastern Europe, and Middle East. )

    As for SCHINDLER’S LIST, I think they (over)show it because the “hero” is an ethnic German. That’s my only contribution for why several years back in that German movie magazine readers’ poll, it was voted one of the greatest films ever made.

    Personally if they want to show movies on that horrible topic, then I would personally also suggest GREY ZONE, a movie which does push your morality views in the face of death.

    Enough of all that misery, Dallas Mavericks won the NBA title! The Deutchland Dagger Dirk Nowitzki now has a ring on top of his Hall of Fame resume. WOOOOO!

    Fun Fact: Even though it flopped in the states, TORA! TORA! TORA! was actually the biggest box-office hit in Japan ever at the time.

  16. Casey, just out of curiosity, what’s considered ugly at a Tea Party rally?

  17. RRA: Oh, believe it or not, but what convinced him that the Germans are allright, was a visit at a Star Trek convention over here (which is Rabbi convinced him to do).

    SCHINDLER’S LIST is IMO constantly shown here (on TV even without commercials breaks, contrary to every other WWII movie), because it’s an Oscarwinning film by Spielberg, that isn’t too old.

    And well, in some parts of Germany (especially in the east), some Neo Nazi parties gain a scary amount of power again. It’s easy. The current government os so fucked up that really nobody has anything positive to say about them and the Neo Nazis come with the same old arguments, that frustrated citizens love to hear. (“Jobs for everyone, low taxes, bla bla bla”) Even worse: Many people vote for them as a form of protest! They don’t believe them, they just for them to show the current government that they can vote other parties too! That’s bullshit.

    Also I think that the overdoing of WWII in school seems to cause a huge backlash among the youth. So instead of wearing hipster glasses or whatever else you can do to show the world that you are different then the rest, they start to say things like: “Hitler was just misunderstood”.

    On the other hand the political correctness in this country runs amok too! It goes even so far that you get weird looks by some, if call jewish people Jews, because that might be taken as offense! Oh well, it’s too frustrating what’s going on here right now. I’m NOT saying that we are standing close before a new Holocaust, but the high unemployment and the clueless government cause way too much anger. And anger makes people dumb.

  18. Fair question, Mr Pegsman. In retrospect I should take it back, Voight’s speech wasn’t as ugly as my wife and a female friend being yelled at for having abortions (they’ve not had abortions) and a gentleman yelling at me for socialism or something and threatening to shoot me if he had remembered to bring his gun. So, yeah, I guess his speech wasn’t ugly in relation to everything else that day.

  19. {{an astronaut eating a slice of apple pie off of a Bible}}

    As amusing as that sounds, the woman hanging laundry is hanging laundry off a cross.

    Vern gave us proof–a poster was made of the shot!

  20. Casey, I didn’t know that Voight had changed side. He was considered a liberal in his younger days, so I figured he still was. I googled him just now and he truly has said some ugly things lately. You learn something new every day.

  21. Yeah, it’s really weird. He’s a friend of Mark Levin and there’s just a whole set of insane beliefs you have to believe to be part of that group.

    I just found it really odd that after hearing these people go on about Hollyweird and how actors should just shut up and keep to themselves that this crowd was going completely nuts over Voight.

  22. “My heart will go on, like a proud eagle.”

    Vern wins one Internets.

    Hilarious.

  23. Knox Harrington

    June 13th, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Damn, you guys make me wanna watch Schindler’s List and The Rock now. Maybe not as a double bill. Ed Harris’ character in The Rock is one of the coolest movie bad guys ever. And I kinda remember Candyman being in it as well and getting shot with a rocket and then impaled or something. Good times. Also, it has Michael Biehn.

    A friend of mine recently told me that his favourite movie character of all time was Biehn’s Hicks in Aliens. Kinda made me think: Who is my favourite movie character? I’m thinking Edward D. Wood Jr. in Burton’s Ed Wood. Such a loveable, optimistic moron.

    It’s a tough choice, though. I love Donnie in The Big Lebowski, Dave Bowman in 2001, Terry Malloy in On The Waterfront, Will Smith’s Ali, John Rolfe in The New World, Lee Byung-Hun’s character in A Bittersweet Life, Lee Marvin’s Walker, Vincent Freeman in Gattaca. There’s just too many, man.

  24. “CJ – Considering how big the Star Trek fanbase is in Germany, I’m certain Nimoy there is as safe as the President is in the White House.”
    Come to think of it, has there ever been a German crewmember in Star Trek…ever? American, Scottish, English, Irish, French(with an English accent), Mexican, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, African, Native American…but no Germans. Or Australians.

  25. There was a German in one episode of the original series. He died, despite wearing a blue shirt.

  26. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 13th, 2011 at 11:19 am

    They should show Kelly’s Heroes in German schools. Thats a great WW2 movie.

  27. I’ve been to Berlin. Seemed like a nice place. I think I know where Nimoy is coming from, though. I don’t imagine all of the disgusting Antisemitism disappeared immediately after WW2 anymore than the South stopped hating black people after the Civil War.

    That’s a fun question, Knox. I’ll have to think on it. I think Ed Wood is a great choice, though. I’m no Tim Burton fan and Ed Wood is the only movie of his I really enjoy but boy do I think it’s a great movie.

    I do think this question gets a little murky since I’m tempted to say characters based on real people and I feel like that’s cheating some. I think it’s fair if it’s a person primarily known for the movie about them, like Rudy, instead of a famous person who had a movie based on them.

  28. I do enjoy war films. PEAR HARBOR made me have a right good think about that for a minute.

    The dogfight scenes in Britian are good, with squiggly tracer fire.

    The rest is diabolical.

    Vern, if you ever have a war movie season, and if you haven’t seen it, try DOWNFALL (Der Untergang or something in German). Not a lot of laughs but everything PEARL HARBOR isn’t.

  29. DOWNFALL was pretty good; saw that many years ago and it still sits fresh on my mind. It’s now known for being the source of the “Hitler comments on _____” youtube meme’s since one of it’s most powerful scenes is humorously used to convey whatever message whoever edits new subtitles onto that scene at the moment wants to say.

  30. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 13th, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Its not Kelly’s Heroes though is it?

  31. Vern, great review. I give you props for toughing out sitting through the film not only once but twice so that you could also listen to the commentary. I applaud your commitment. That could not have been easy.

  32. All I remember from the R-rated cut was Tom Sizemore’s excellent delivery of the word “motherfucker” and a shot of a severed head during the Pearl Harbor attack that lasted way too long, because Bay was less about the horrors of war and more about the audience going “SEVERED HEAD, KEWL!”

  33. Joe, since you like the trailer for PEARL HARBOR so much, I want to remind you that it took the Hans Zimmer score from THE THIN RED LINE, which is my favorite movie.
    I’m going to start saying, “An atronaut eating apple pie off of a Bible” in situations where I have been saying, “America…Fuck Yeah!”
    Also, the exact same thing happened to me when I watched this movie: I didn’t realize there was MORE MOVIE on disc 2, and thought I was getting through it decently well until that point. It was like Michael Bay was raping me and I thought that it was almost over and then he moved to a different hole. Nah, it was just kind of headache-inducing.
    Also, another element of PEARL HARBOR which was weird to me was how the same two pilots were supposed to fly American and British fighters and then switch to Flying Fortresses later on. I’m no military expert but that seems unrealistic.

  34. When this film came out, a German comedy show showed the trailer of it with a new narration that said (And I know that telling you about it isn’t nearly as hilarious as it really was):” Pearl Harbor. A movie about airplanes. Airplanes. Airplanes. Women who do their laundry and see Airplanes. Airplanes. Airplanes. Two men staring at each other. Airplanes. A man staring at a women. A woman staring at a man. Airplanes.” And so on. You get the point.
    (They also showed a re-dubbed scene of that Disney movie about ATLANTIS, where the hero constantly was mistaken for Harry Potter until he freaked out, but that’s a different topic.)

  35. Knox Harrington

    June 13th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I seem to recall that Pearl Harbour trailer stealing music from The Crow as well. Fuckin pisses me off when they do that. The most recent culprit was that goddamn Water for Elephants trailer stealing Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ music from The Assassination of Jesse James. Motherfuckers.

    And remember how many times Sunshine’s music was used in other films and trailers and TV shows? And before that it was Requiem for a Dream and 28 Days Later’s music (it seems to happen to Danny Boyle’s movies a lot. That guy has some great taste in movie music).

  36. I thought maybe they used music from other movies in trailers because they didn’t have the score done for the finished film when they advertize it.
    You’re right Know, that REQUIEM FOR A DREAM music seemed to be in so many places.

  37. Knox Harrington

    June 13th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    They also had The Thin Red Line’s music in the final episode of the first season of Carnivale. I have to admit it was used quite effectively, but then again, that score is so damn good that I’m not surprised it worked so well.

    Still, it feels like a cheap shortcut. Kind of like having Bright Eyes in your movie and not expecting everyone to think of Watership Down. Write your own damn music, you lazy bastards.

  38. Knox, the biggest example of that is the trailer for Forrest Gump using the music to Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. That music sold the epic scope and romance of Gump, but no one remembers Rob Cohen’s Bruce biopic.

  39. This is also making me remember when the Pearl Harbor trailer came out. I had a problem with the kids playing baseball then. I would say, “Come on, that’s blatant. I really don’t think kids were just playing baseball in the middle of the day and saw the planes go by.” My best friend was with it and he told me, “Fred, you’ve got to understand what this event represented for America. It was such a loss of innocence, they have to illustrate it in the film.”

    Then he saw the movie and said, “Yeah, that was stupid.”

  40. I remember seeing a trailer for the Indiana Jones 4 movies and hearing they took music from Children of Dune from it. I really dig that soundtrack so I guess I was glad to hear it somewhere unexpected.

  41. Knox Harrington

    June 13th, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Man, I do like Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. I still watch it every couple of years and it still has the same effect on me every time. Such a good mix of action movie and biopic. Probably the only Rob Cohen movie that’s worth a shit.

    So I guess we are all in agreement that the Pearl Harbour trailer is a far better movie than Pearl Harbour the movie. Let that be a lesson to you, Michael Bay. Keep it short.

  42. Were there any other Titanic rip offs, or did this movie pretty much sink them (pun fully intended)? I can’t think of any other films that tried to steal the formula. I wonder whether 9/11 killed any enthusiasm for a Titanic knock off. I never got around to watching this film, and I probably never will. It’s not like Bay is completely talentless, it’s just that whatever talent he once had and chose to display in films like Bad Boys and The Rock dried up as he became more successful.

  43. I can’t think of any film that rips off Titanic’s narrative, structure, plot, pacing, and story as much as this.

  44. The main thing I recall about this movie is that I believed completely that Ben Affleck was going to die again at the end for real so Josh Hartnett could be with Kate Beckinsale. But the complete opposite happened and threw me for a loop and I even expected Josh Hartnett to wake up and start talking again during his death scene. I swear to god, the writing and the way the story was told was leading up to that and I don’t know how Ben Affleck somehow lived at the end. Was I crazy to think that?

    As for the German vs Japanese and how they treat WW2 history and their part in it… Yes, there is a pretty distinct difference culturally with how they do so.

    Question for everyone: Can anyone think of films made from the point of view of German or Japanese soldiers during the war made in their respective countries? Not about Hitler though, Hitler’s been the focus in many German movies from my film-going experience.

  45. Of all of Bay’s films, I appreciate the pure ridiculousness of The Rock the most.

    Speaking of Nick Cage and Bruckheimer productions, Con Air is probably the most over the top actioner from that time period with the craziest characters. It did seal the deal for me that Simon West was one of the most inept directors ever and I don’t know how anyone trusted him with a budget like that. If anyone thinks Bay is bad, West was a 100 times worse. He might have learned something over the last decade though since I don’t remember The Mechanic remake being as bad.

  46. I cannot imagine subjecting myself to the torture of sitting through this.

    Thank you, Vern for not only doing it, but using the experience to write yet another review that makes the world a just a bit better place.

    And I think everyone can agree it’s a good thing they haven’t tried to remake TxsChnswMsscr.

    Also, I second the notion about Pearl Harbor (the historical event) not being a big deal in Japan. In my limited experience, when it comes up here, people usually have a ”oh yeah that happened..” response. I know that enrages American Grandpas everywhere, but the 7 year event we call WWII (only 4 years for the US) was a 14 year long affair for Japan that included huge scale attempts at aggressive colonialism, drastic societal change and upheaval, and a whole lot of carnage and tragedy. An air raid initiated by a group of delusional fascist generals really doesn’t register as an event of national importance.

    Even so, Pearl Harbor the movie was pretty popular here. I remember standing outside a theater in Kyoto, staring at the poster with a distinct feeling of awkwardness…

  47. Cassidy – “Fires on the Plain” would fit the bill for Japan, and it’s a great movie to boot. Someone said somewhere thatits impossible to make a truly anti-war film, because the combat stuff is always inevitably exciting. But “Fires” is one of the very few films that disproved that proposition.

  48. caruso_stalker217

    June 13th, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Hey Cassidy, there is a film called STALINGRAD that is told from the Germans’ perspective. I never got to finish it, though, because I fell asleep. Not because it was boring, just because I was tired.

  49. I’ve never seen this movie…I doubt I ever will.

  50. while we’re on the subject of WW2 movies…

    it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, but there’s a movie called Max about a young Adolf Hitler when he was still a painter who befriends a Jewish artist (played by John Cusack) and I think it was based on a true story

    I’ve always wondered why it’s not more well known

  51. Cassidy, there are a TON of films here in Japan about the Japanese soldier’s experience… though not so many will be available outside Japan.

    Most of the films during the war portrayed the soldier’s struggle as heroic, but hard, he was struggling to fulfill his duty to the Emperor and unite Asia and free her from the yolk of western colonialism (the co-prosperity sphere shtick).

    Well as you may imagine, things changed after the war ended. Volumes can and have been written about this period in Japanese film, but for war movies you get two flavors:
    1. Movies about stoic generals (Yamamoto is a popular one, especially since he died in battle rather than on the hang man’s noose) in a hopeless situation fulfilling their hopeless destiny.
    2. Movies about soldiers suffering in the Jungle, brutalized by their commanders and the insanity of the orders coming from Tokyo which have no relation to the reality the soldier is stuck in. War is not so much conflict with the Americans (it is almost always the Americans rather than the various other forces), but conflict with the hell and insanity of the situation the soldier has been forced into.

    These are the two main genres of Japanese war film until the late 70s, when war films dropped in popularity dramatically. In the 80s, few major productions of note (that I can think of) took place in either war genre. 90s was also dry. But recently, in the last 10 or so years, there has been renewed interest in the topic.

    This new wave of war films is in a single flavor: the *young* soldier is forced to go off to war and *into battle* where he finds hell, but cherishes the comradeship of his fellows and think of the preciousness of all that has been lost.
    I highlight ”young” and ”into battle” because these are not usually part of the war films previously described. In those films soldiers are either aged square jawed, stoic, bushido following generals OR somewhat grizzled grunts in their 30s, sweaty, unshaven, manly in either case. This new breed of war protagonist is young, has nice hair, boyish pop idol looks, a sense of duty (thus he can’t shame his family by protesting the war or joining the underground resistance), but also a sense of innocence/naivety about life. He can make a rousing speech to his comrades about the tragedy of their situation or working together, but he cannot command with fierceness.
    ”into battle” is important because older films were usually (though not always) rather limited in budget, but now cg can make big battles cost effective to recreate (though with dubious success). Now a big battle is a must for the war film.
    Um, this is getting to be kind of long. Sorry, you probably wanted just a list or something. I’ll shut up now and do that.

    (availability assumes you have access to DVDs from the US or Europe)

    War time films:
    None available, as far as I know. These are very hard to get even in Japan.

    Post war:
    Fires on the Plain (50s) – this is a masterpiece and easily available too. Realistic gritty Suffering soldier genre.
    The Human Condition trilogy (50s) – epic look at the madness and suffering of imperialist conquest and the chaos of asia during the period. Very thoughtful stuff going on here, the protagonist is an outright pacifist/socialist, which is kinda an awkward thing for most Japanese war films.
    Burmese Harp (the 50s version) – Also classic. Suffering soldier genre.
    Japan’s longest Day (60s) – Classic, probably one of the most watched war films in Japan. Stoic general genre.
    Battle of Okinawa (70s) – This is gritty Suffering soilder film, really pretty intense atmosphere. Does a good job of showing the intense desperation and paranoia surrounding the prospect of inevitable invasion.
    Father of the Kamikaze (70s) – Stoic general genre on an epic level.
    Black Rain (80s) – not a war film, but a tragedy-of-the-aftermath-of-the-war film.
    Grave of the Fireflies (80s) – Ghibli animation that falls into the domestic suffering during/after the war genre. The recreation of the firebombing and the scenes of slow starvation are very disturbing in their almost detached realism, yet this is a very emotional film.

    Oh man there are so many more, but I can’t think of many that have releases in the US. Those are all good ones though.

    As for that new wave I mentioned… Um none of them are particularly all that great, and I don’t think any of them have official releases. If you want to search for torrents, I bet some have been subtitled out there.
    Yamato, Sea without Exit, Hotaru, For Those we Love… Man there have been a lot of them, I would have to sit down and look them up, but I kind of hate most of them so I will let someone else do that.

  52. I saw this opening weekend as part of a girls’ night out with some old friends from high school. As we walked out, my two girlfriends went on and on about how emotionally affected they were by the love stories and “oh yeah” the attack scene. I walked out feeling more like the game show announcer from Billy Madison. (“Everyone in that theatre is dumber for having seen this.”)

    We don’t go to movies together anymore.

  53. Excellent! Thanks for the recommendations Chris and gingersoll. I think it’s generally much easier to find films based on the German viewpoint of the war as it’s a history they seem to look back at repeatedly.

    I haven’t heard of Stalingrad so thanks for mentioning it, caruso_stalker. (David Caruso stalker?)

    I’ve watched Max, Griff. It’s good. I liked it.

    If we’re talking Hitler biopics, one that I’ve seen is called Moloch. It’s not mentioned as much as Der Untergang and probably for good reason since it’s very slow. It was directed by Russian Ark’s Sokurov, which is not surprising since his pacing can only be described as leisurely or snail-like or just flat out boring. It’s a simple film that just illustrates Hitler on a trip to the alps with his inner circle. It’s shot beautifully but it’s basically Hitler and Eva having an extended picnic. I guess it’s supposed to contrast with what was going on (unseen in this film) in the war.

  54. Cassidy: Das Boot?

  55. Grave of the Fireflies is of course one of the best anime films ever made

  56. The Bridge from `59 is a german WW2 movie. I`ve never seen it, but I read the book as a teenager and it was brilliant. Something about a group of horny nazi teenagers who has to defend a bridge from the allies against all odds.

    I remember Stalingrad being quite boring. Cross of Iron is a pretty good ww2 movie with german characters, but it was directed by an american even though it was a german co-production, if I remember correctly.

    Russian war-movies; COME AND SEE from `85 is one of the best anti-war movies ever.

  57. gingersoll – i can’t motivate to see any of the newer, young pop idol war movies you’re talking about, but i’m a bit curious about YAMATO, since it was written by tokyo’s controversial, right-wing governer shintaro ishihara. have you seen it? like i said, i am curious about it but maybe not curious enough to actually watch it.

  58. @cassidy

    there is DAS BOOT obviously and the other One that we got showm in German School is IM WESTEN NICHTS NEUES, english title is ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT. Its a ww1 Movie though but the original is from 1930 and therefore made before Nazi Germany.

  59. Oh yeah and i second THE BRIDGE as mentioned above.

  60. German or otherwise, the coolest war movies have always been those where the main characters wear German uniforms; Guns of Navarone, Von Ryan’s Express, The Dirty Dozen, Where Eagles Dare, Kelly’s Heroes, Play Dirty, The Eagle Has Landed, Cross of Iron, Force 10 From Navarone, Sergeant Steiner…the list is endless.

  61. Virgin Gary – Are you talking about Yamato the WWII film? Or the live action Yamato the Space Battle ship movie? Or the new animated Yamato film series? The one his Japanese wiki page lists him working on his the animated one.
    It is supposed to be a two parter, but I didn’t really finish the first part. It was very pro-war in sentiment and felt very out of step from the feelings of the original series. For obvious reasons the Yamato franchise was probably very attractive for a guy like Ishihara…
    In any case, there are entirely too many movies called Yamato these days. The other Yamatos (WWII film and Space movie) are both pretty typical Japanese summer popcorn films, well made but fully of sappy sentimentality and very melodramatic, but nothing too terrible.

  62. gingersoll – i was talking about the war movie. i think it was about pilots. the japanese title was i think “otoko-tachi no yamato.”

  63. here’s the one: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0451845/

    oops, guess it’s about a boat, not pilots.

  64. I recently discovered the WWII French Resistance movie, The Train. It’s directed by John Frankenheimer and stars Burt Lancaster as part of the French Resistance (most of the French strangely enough have American accents) who must stop a train shipment of great art that the Germans are smuggling out of France and into Germany. It has some great action moments, including a huge explosion that destroys a train yard, but at the same time there are interesting sections that appear to be anti-war. Lancaster and his crew question whether or not it’s worth risking people’s lives over paintings, no matter how great they are. There are also other moments that seriously question the worth of the mission. It reminded me a little of Saving Private Ryan in that it has some tremendous action but at the same time attempts to complicate “the good war.”

  65. Yeah that’s the one I called the WWII one. It is pretty sappy and oh so conveniently side steps any attempt at meaningful observations or commentary on the times and situations it takes place in. But to be honest, if you like war movies, and especially if you like battle ships, then you will probably at least enjoy the movie on that level. It isn’t pro-war, but more like ”the empire was really glorious and all, but you had to die in service of it just like any real red blooded Japanese would do without fail”

    Talking about war movies leads to a lot of grey zones, I think we all just have to kind of shrug a bit and let people enjoy what they enjoy, and those who want to think realistically or critically about the real events portrayed on films… well those people just have to live with the fact that folks love to day dream about war.

  66. Oh, and I would also like to second Kelly’s Heroes as a great WWII movie. In my opinion, it deftly accomplishes what Inglorious Basterds unevenly attempts. It manages to meld contemporary music and pop culture onto a WWII setting in a bizarre but fun way.

  67. RBatty024

    The Train is brilliant, one of the best actionmovies from the sixties.

  68. I love those men-on-a-mission movies, like Kelly’s Heroes, but somehow they’re a bit hard to swallow today. The scene where they massacre all those people at the train station doesn’t work at all now. And I doubt that people hated Germans enough even in 1970 to feel comfortable with all that killing of innocent railroad workers etc. The Eagle Has Landed has a far more interesting premise; German commando soldiers disguised as Polish soldiers take over an English village in order to kill Churchill. It’s a really cool thriller war movie where the Americans are portrayed in a good way (believe me, they’re not often shown like that in English movies).

  69. One notable thing about this movie is that it introduced me to the lovely Kate Beckinsale. Thank you Pearl Harbor.

    This is an odd thing to say but I think its in really poor taste to make the action scenes so “cool” in this movie. It’d be like if they made a 9/11 movie and shot it in a way that when the planes hit the towers it looked “cool” with the camera rotating in slow motion matrix style. The action scenes are really well done but they belong in another movie. Saving Private Ryan’s action scenes are amazing but they’re not shot in a way to make you say “Wow. Kewl Action!”. They’re consistant with the tone of the movie. Titanic’s climactic sinking of the ship looked pretty great but you’re meant to be horrified and saddened by it. So kudos to Bay for making some of the best action scenes he’s ever done but sticking them into a war drama/love story where they don’t belong was a bad move. As a viewer you end up torn between enjoying the violence on screen and feeling bad about it at the same time (and Bay did not do this on purpose like say Tarantino did in Inglorious Bastards). Don’t put Bad Boys II action scenes in a serious war movie. The Patriot (The Mel Gibson one) came dangerously close to doing this as well. I guess Bay doesn’t realize that not every action scene should be a “Yay Violence!” Blade 2 type action scene. Spielberg and Del Toro are perfect examples of directors who can make great summer movie violence (Raiders/Hellboy) and and great serious drama violence (Ryan/Pan’s Labyrinth). Bay is all summer movie violence.

  70. I really appreciate you using the word “propaganda” to describe the post-9/11 equation between Pearl Harbor and the WTC attacks, Vern. Nice to see you still telling it like it is, even if you rarely Tell’s It Like It Is anymore.

  71. This was the Vern review I’ve been waiting for for so long without knowing it. :) Really good, balanced look at the film, Vern.

    To my great surprise, I didn’t hate this one when I saw it. (Although that might change if I ever re-watch it.) It’s SO obviously cheesy and flag-wavingly American, and everything looks clean and nobody ever smokes. I’m sure this wasn’t the effect that Bay was going for, but it all comes off as rather quaint and old-world naive.

  72. This makes me wonder what Vern would think of The Island. Can’t imagine ther’s any reason Vern would watch it except as an exercise, but I still wonder.

    I remember they showed the first 40 minutes of it to press early and I thought, “Wow, unless they totally mess it up from here, this is going to be great.” When I saw the whole movie, literally as soon as they break out of the institution, it turns to total crap.

  73. “City of Life and Death” is a recent Chinese movie about the Rape of Nanking, but it actually spends a considerable amount of time presenting the story from the perspective of a Japanese soldier. The director, Lu Chuan, apparently received death threats from angry Chinese viewers because of this. The movie is easy to find on DVD and is currently playing in limited release in the U.S. but will sadly receive only a small fraction of the attention it deserves. When all the awards hoopla comes around at the end of the year, this will unfortunately be ignored. I honestly think it’s one of the most immersive and powerful films I’ve ever seen. The recreation of the demolished city and the chaos within it is staggering.

    As for “Pearl Harbor,” I thought it sucked. I do remember watching some of it in a theatre and a guy behind me kept making fun of the Japanese characters (e.g., mocking a pilot’s accent during a voiceover when the character is reading a letter in English.) I also remember seeing news coverage of a special screening that was held for veterans who experienced the attack and when one of them was interviewed regarding the film’s accuracy, he said, “Well, they got the date right.”

  74. Ftopel – Baldwin’s line about “taking out as many Jap bastards” as he could was definitely edited in the DVD version I saw. I remember hearing they reshot that scene to be more PC, so now he says something like “if I go down, I’m going to point my plane at the nearest MILITARY INSTALLATION i can” or something else a guy at the time would never say.

    I do have to give Bay credit for not demonizing Asians as much as you think he would. (and adding the scene where the soldiers are being racist to the Asian doctor), but I think I read somewhere the Japanese traitor/spy/dentist from the movie was totally cleared and innocent in real life but the screenwriters just decided fuck it.

  75. OMG they took out the Jap bastards line for the DVD? Now that is the most offensive revisionist filmmaking I’ve ever heard of. At least I can be one of the only audiences to remember how outrageous Baldwin’s Dolittle actually was.

  76. Man, his acceptance speech at the MTV Movie Awards that year was the moment I really started hating Michael Bay. I remember him getting up there and going on about how awesome the speech was, and then, practically as he was leaving the stage, mumbling something about how this golden popcorn was dedicated to all the people who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor (so he could make an awesomely shitty movie)…CURSE YOU BAY!

  77. I know it’s been mentioned here before but the Russian war movie Come and See make just about everything else seem like Mary Poppins in comparison.

  78. Neal – do you think the dentist was supposed to be a spy? I thought it was supposed to be that he genuinely didn’t understand why someone was calling him and asking him questions about what he sees out the window. So I guess he was an unwitting spy.

  79. It occurred to me while rewatching this that most modern summer movies (even the ones that get good reviews) are more like Spielberg’s 1941 than they are Jaws, Star Wars, Terminator 2 or Die Hard; not so much exciting as big, loud, aggressive head in a pinball machine type movies that make the viewer feel like they’re simultaneously on speed and Quaaludes (stole that description from somewhere that I now can’t remember).

    This movie, I thought it’d be better if they cut 30 or 40 minutes out of it (especially during the begininng), and if the Kate Beckinsale character weren’t boring and vaguely unpleasant (if the two leads were cooler they’d be fighting over her more fun and interesting friends).

    I actually like the soap opera/Douglas Sirk feel of it; if there were real screenwriters working in Hollywood they could have given that aspect some cleverness (like in a Sirk movie), but unfortunately those guys seem to be in short supply.

  80. Vern, no offense but you’re taking forever with these 2001 reviews

    at this rate it’ll be fall before you’re finished

  81. Griff, you know how the old saying goes, “good things come to those who wait”.

  82. I’ve also been thinking about how Michael Bay always gets military cooperation for his movies. He always shows the military in a positive light, so he always gets the authentic toys for his Transformers movies. Kinda sick that an intelligent morally ambiguous movie wouldn’t get to show the military’s real stuff because it might make people think the military has to do bad things to serve good sometimes, but for fighting giant robots, oh yeah!

  83. It’s not a secret that Bay has VERY good connections to the US military even though they are very picky about what kind of movies they support. (They refused to give INDEPENDECE DAYS any of their support, because in the end Randy Quaid’s drunken heroically sacrifices himself and finds out how the starships can be destroyed, but the Army wanted Will Smith’s character to do that.)

    Also even though I do not care if Megan Fox is in Transformers 3 or not or if she got fired or quit by herself, I read this morning that she got fired by Spielberg, because she called Michael Bay Hitler. Bay didn’t care, but Spielberg apparently takes these things VERY serious. Don’t know if that’s true. Like I said, I don’t care. But it’s an amusing thought that all you have to do, do feel the wrath of Spielberg, is to compare somebody to Hitler.
    (In all seriousness: I’m not too fond on Hitler and Nazi comparisons either. Just because someone is very strict or has a no nonsense personality at work, it doesn’t mean he is as bad the people behind WWII and the holocaust. I wouldn’t fire someone because of that, though. Just a good ol’ fashion “What the fuck are you talking about”, maybe. It’s also weird that people who throw Nazi comparisons around, are often the same people who use “gay” for lame and stupid things.)

  84. Actually, the story is the Bay is saying Spielberg told him to fire her for the Hitler comment. Now it may be true, and certainly it’s an immature comparison, but somethign still sounds fishy to me about “Spielberg told me to do it.”

  85. if he did well then I side with Spielberg on this subject, partly because I just don’t like Megan Fox, but also because her comment was a cheap attempt at seeming edgy

  86. My favorite story is that Bay fired Megan Fox because she was rail thin, which, if true, would make him a hero. (In my eyes, at least)

  87. Terrible movie. Just terrible. Bay is a hack. His movies are all surface. Utterly soulless.

    Compare “Pearl Harbor” to its most obvious cinematic forebear, which is “Titanic.” Clearly, after seeing James Cameron fill a wheelbarrow with Oscars for his effort and line that up behind truckloads of cash, Bay was jonesing for the same reception, i.e., box-office AND critical glory through SFX-driven tragedy, doomed romance + spectacle = success. It’s just that easy, right? Well, maybe if you have a degree of soul.

    I’d never say James Cameron is the world’s most brilliant engineer of dialogue — there are some outright howlers in “Titanic,” we all know them well — but line up his picture against Bay’s and you see it’s easy ten times the film.

    Here, Bay was copying moves with no insight into what made them strike such chords in audiences and critics to begin with. One imagines him screaming at the reviews for “Pearl Harbor:” “But it’s PRETTY! And people DIE!” Yeah, Mike, those things are true. But you forgot the crucial ingredient – you left out the soul. People can forgive craptastic dialogue here and there. But an essential lack of respect and transparent manipulation makes them cross.

  88. I cannot imagine subjecting myself to the torture of sitting through this.

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