Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pearl Harbor (2001)

What an ill-advised project; a large-scale depiction of the epic attack sandwiched in between a cochamamie love story with 2 hunks and a babe. As strong as the central attack is, and some of the side scenes and performances are, assuming the main plot here would keep the viewer's interest alongside the action is borderline offensive. Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale are wooden and lifeless, but the script does not do them any favors; the dialogue in their scenes could've been written by my kid sister. Josh Hartnett comes out relatively unscathed by downplaying every nuance of his ridiculous character, as does Cuba Gooding, Jr. Alec Baldwin, Dan Aykroyd, Ewen Bremner, and Tom Sizemore register strongly in their stock roles (especially man-god Baldwin), and Jon Voight is a convincing F.D.R. It is a painful reality that the side stories of the film, as derivative and predictable as they are, end up being far more diverting than the central story. They have camp value, and are energetic and lively enough to provide consistent chuckles, whereas the love story vacuums all residual interest. There is potential here; Cuba's scenes, based on real life, actually achieve a very high level of war-film energy. But the main thrust of the story is total and complete contrived bullshit, and no amount of heroism, spectacle, or hard-boiled Baldwin can make up for it.

Skip it, save for a casual viewing for camp value. That's how I got through the 3 hour shitstorm without feeling like I wasted my time...but I still can't recommend it, even slightly.

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