Hello, Movie Buffs! My name is Lucy and I am a HUGE movie buff with 700+ movies, so I decided to write a blog. Ask Lucy: Movies is a blog review dedicated to movies both new and old. Here I review movies as unbiased and spoiler free as possible, as well as rate the film on whether its worth buying or not.
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November 11, 2019
Pearl Harbor (2001) --- “It Takes A Moment To Change History. It Takes Love To Change Lives.”
The lifelong friendship between Rafe McCawley (Ben Affleck) and Danny Walker (Josh Hartnett) is put to the ultimate test when these two ace fighter pilots become entangled in a love triangle with beautiful Navy nurse, Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale). But the rivalry between these two friends is put on hold when they find themselves at the center of Japan’s surprising and devastating attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Directed by Michael Bay (13 Hours, Transformers: The Last Knight) and written by Randall Wallace (The King, Passion of the Christ: Resurrection), Pearl Harbor (2001) is a sweeping tale of a fictionalized love triangle set amidst the lead up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and its aftermath with the Doolittle Raid. Now, many have said that Pearl Harbor's agenda was too ambitious for a single three-hour film. It had to tell a love story, represent a major historical event, and offer a somewhat happy ending that does not come naturally to what transpired at Pearl Harbor. The film does manage to achieve most of its goals but where it fails is in its lack of dramatic tension and empathy for the story’s main characters. This is in part due to the film’s reliance on clichés and gimmicks to move the story along rather than allowing the characters to pull the audience into the story. One could almost say that it is a soap opera-style storyline that leaves the audience feeling detached from the situation before and after the attack. Fortunately, the attack contains a lot of action that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats with drama, explosions, and emotion.
The film stars a slew of characters - Ben Affleck (Triple Frontier), Kate Beckinsale (The Widow), Josh Hartnett (Penny Dreadful, Paradise Lost), Cuba Gooding Jr. (American Crime Story: OJ vs the People), Jon Voight (Ray Donavan), Alec Baldwin (A Few Good Men TV series), and many more - and all leave their mark one way or another. Affleck comes across as a little too cocky to be truly likable, and while Hartnett underplays deftly, he also manages to deliver a few scene-stealing moments. Kate Beckinsale and Alec Baldwin give strong performances but they were also underutilized nor were they given the chance to go outside of the box that the story placed them in. Cuba Gooding Jr. has a supporting role that gets more screen time then one might have expected and Jon Voight offers a credible performance as President Franklin Roosevelt. The rest of the cast - including but not limited to Tom Sizemore, Jaime King, Catherine Kellner, Jennifer Garner, William Lee Scott, Ewen Bremner, Greg Zola, Michael Shannon, Matt Davis, Dan Aykroyd, Kim Coates, Tony Curran, Nicholas Farrell, Eric Christian Olsen, Colm Feore, Mako, and Tom Everett - also gave some good performances.
Overall, Pearl Harbor(2001)is a sweeping tale of a fictionalized love triangle set amidst the lead up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and its aftermath with the Doolittle Raid. The story stays pretty accurate to historical events and the audience is treated to 35 minutes of dramatic, thrilling, and emotional action when the attack on Pearl Harbor takes place. But the love story is lackluster and causes the film to drag. I can understand that like the 1997 film Titanic the filmmakers were trying to place a fictional love story amidst a tragic event in our history but the story remains one-dimensional and is never given the opportunity to be fully explored as it should be. The cast is comprised of a slew of characters that all leave an impression one way or another with the most noteworthy being: Kate Beckinsale, Josh Hartnett,Cuba Gooding Jr., Jon Voight, and Alec Baldwin. All in all, despite its faults and issues, Pearl Harbor remains to be one of my favorite films and if you don’t seek to put it on a pedestal that it will never reach, then I believe you will be able to enjoy too, in your own way at least.
Final Vote --- 7 of 10 stars
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