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Bombs AWAY!!!!

  • May 25, 2001
  • by
Pros: Great Effects

Cons: Cliche filled, not alot of Historical facts, borrows from many other War Films.

The Bottom Line: A missed chance, could have been so much better,

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

With the 60th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor coming this December, it stands to reason that Hollywood would give us a epic war film that would arrive in a mass of Hype and controversy.
The proposed $160 Million opus by the team of Director Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer, set out to do a picture that was grand in scale as well as being a gripping drama and visual masterpiece. In many ways, the creative team behind such hits as “Armageddon” and “The Rock” achieved what they set out to do, as “Pearl Harbor” is a visual masterpiece. Sadly the dialogue and characters as well as many of the liberties that have been played with Historical facts caused many elements of the film to bomb with a fury far greater than the ordinance that was unleashed onscreen by the Japanese fighter planes.
The backdrop of the film is the year leading up to the attack and how the lives and loves of a group of young nurses and pilots were effected. They key players in the film are two young pilots Rafe McCawley and Danny Walker. (Played by Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett) . It seems the two have been friends ever since childhood with Rafe constantly watching out for Danny.
A chance meeting between Rafe and an attractive nurse Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale) soon leads to a romance between the two, and while they are a picture of bliss, there is trouble brewing. It seems that Rafe is unhappy with the notion that at 25, he is close to being to old to be a fighter pilot and may soon be reduced to little more than a flight instructor rather than a combat ace. With war raging in Europe, and the US standing by its policy to not get involved in a foreign war, Rafe has signed up with a squadron to fight in England. No sooner does he receive the news that he has been accepted and must ship out in the morning. What follows is just about every cliché from every war movie complete with the send off at the train station and letters filled with notions of sunrises and joyful reunions.
Without giving to much away, lets just say that things do not go as planned for the two lovers as life, circumstance and the war soon catch all of them by surprise.
The big star of the film would have to be the special effects as the wizards at ILM have come up with a gripping 40 minute sequence for the attack that shows the brutal attack in all its horror as well as just how devastating the damage inflicted was. That being said, many of the stars including a very under used Cuba Gooding JR. are little more than charactures and spot lines that seem to be a conglomeration of every war movie ever made. We have the young couple who plan to get married, the grizzled old sarge, the desperate mission against all odds, and young lovers unaware that destiny is about to arrive.
My biggest issue was not with the lack of any character development or the lines that would make a first year acting class groan; rather it was with the historical gaps in the film. The movie shows much about the attack but precious little as to why Japan attacked, and completely forgets to mention how the Ambassador from Japan was left waiting with a formal Declaration of War in Washington D.C. until after the attack was under way, as it has been speculated that FDR wanted to bring the US in the war, and by allowing the surprise attack to happen, the American people could be whipped into a frenzy of revenge and thus entering the war. The film also is very obvious about putting the Japanese pilots in the bad guy rolls as numerous shots of hospitals, unarmed civilians, and men clinging to the side of sinking ships, or trying to swim to safety, are riddled with bullets and bombs by the merciless pilots.
The film seems to fit the standard profile that I have been complaining about for two summers now, lots of great special effects, but no real story, or character development, leaving one a film that is all sizzle with no steak, and not worthy of the men and women whose lives were changed that day, as a nation lost its innocence.

3 stars out of 5

Gareth Von Kallenbach



Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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review by . December 07, 2008
This is one of my favorite movies I consider this a must have. It has brilliant picture and sound. I am not sure why there are so many complaints about this movie because it looks great to me. It seems like a fair depiction of Pearl Harbor from what I have learned. I did own the DVD and upgraded to Blu-Ray and there is a huge difference.
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #111
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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About this movie


Pearl Harbor is a 2001 war film directed by Michael Bay. It features a large ensemble cast, including Ben AffleckAlec BaldwinJon Voight,Josh HartnettKate BeckinsaleCuba Gooding, Jr.Dan AykroydColm FeoreMakoTom SizemoreJaime King, and Jennifer Garner. It is a dramatic re-imagining of the Empire of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Base and the subsequent Doolittle Raid and was produced by Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer, who had previously worked on blockbusters such as Bad BoysThe Rock and Armageddon. Some of its scenes were among the last to be filmed in Technicolor.


United States Army Air Corps First Lieutenants Rafe McCawley (Affleck) and Danny Walker (Hartnett) are childhood friends and reckless, but talented pilots under the command of Major Jimmy Doolittle (Baldwin). McCawley volunteers to serve with the Royal Air Force's Eagle Squadrons. He meets Evelyn Johnson (Beckinsale), a Navy nurse, before leaving for England; Johnson and Walker are transferred to Pearl Harbor. In Japan, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto plans an attack on Pearl Harbor after the U.S. freezes its trade.

McCawley is shot down in combat over the English Channel and presumed killed in action. While mourning for ...

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Director: Michael Bay
Genre: Drama
Release Date: May 25, 2001
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Randall Wallace
DVD Release Date: December 19, 2006
Runtime: 3hrs 2min
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
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"Bombs AWAY!!!!"
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