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Old 12-09-2012, 07:24 PM
Penrose Penrose is offline
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Best and worst movies about Pearl Harbor

The anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor was this week and several movies about it have been on TV. A great list of Pearl Harbor movies can be found here. Some good, some awful. I don't think the Michael Bay film was as bad as people think, but I still favor "The Final Countdown" about a US nuclear carrier that goes back in time and has the chance to intercept Japanese forces before they attack (as a kid I thought it was the greatest film ever made). Any other favorites?
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:42 PM
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The Michael Bay film IS as bad as people think. Worse, actually.

The best is still Tora Tora Tora.
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:46 PM
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The original From Here to Eternity is probably the best.
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
The Michael Bay film IS as bad as people think. Worse, actually.

The best is still Tora Tora Tora.
+1


One scene I like is when the Japanese pilots are practising to recognize the silhouettes of the ships they will be after. Flash cards are held up and they call out the name of the vessel. One comes up the can't name, and they're told "It's your own flagship idiots!' with a slap upside the head, and they all burst out laughing.
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:13 PM
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best: Tora Tora Tora
worst: Pearl Harbor


those are all the Pearl Harbor movies I know exist
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:27 PM
toast pakora toast pakora is offline
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I like In Harm's Way.

It's disconcerting to see the mid-60s hairstyles and fashions on the women though, seriously what's up with that? I know period movies always have contemporary makeup but there's usually a reference to the appropriate hair and clothes are the easiest part to get right, especially when it's referring to a period only 20 years previous.
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:34 PM
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Tora! Tora! Tora! totally deserves its three exclamation marks.

Pearl Harbor was an abomination.
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:53 PM
Accidental Martyr Accidental Martyr is offline
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I'll just echo what others have said about Tora! Tora! Tora! and Pearl Harbor.
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Old 12-09-2012, 09:30 PM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
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Originally Posted by toast pakora View Post
I like In Harm's Way.

It's disconcerting to see the mid-60s hairstyles and fashions on the women though, seriously what's up with that? I know period movies always have contemporary makeup but there's usually a reference to the appropriate hair and clothes are the easiest part to get right, especially when it's referring to a period only 20 years previous.
To me, that was a jarring detail in Tora Tora Tora. The female parts were tiny--office workers, ladies at a party and one officer's wife. No problem--it wasn't that sort of story. The filmmakers worked very hard to get the military hardware right (or close enough--I know there weren't enough real Zeroes to go around). Couldn't they have hired one expert on period style to dress the ladies?

Still, I admire the film. Haven't watched Pearl Harbor--I know enough history that just reading the reviews vexed me....
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Old 12-09-2012, 09:35 PM
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With some good editing, namely removing Kate Beckinsale's character entirely and all the pointless romantic/emotional baggage that character inflicted, Pearl Harbor might be salvagable.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:01 PM
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With some good editing, namely removing Kate Beckinsale's character entirely and all the pointless romantic/emotional baggage that character inflicted, Pearl Harbor might be salvagable.
What? Kate Beckinsale was the only good thing in the movie.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:13 PM
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And if the movie was a straightforward wartime romance, I'd have no problem with her, but this was a blurry-speed blow-shit-up-good eyefest - the audience has no reason to care about the emotional entanglements of the characters, and indeed the entire subplot is a huge waste of time.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:22 PM
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I haven't seen Pearl Harbor so I can't confirm its awfulness, but without needing to see any others I can confirm that Tora! Tora! Tora! is the best.
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Old 12-10-2012, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
And if the movie was a straightforward wartime romance, I'd have no problem with her, but this was a blurry-speed blow-shit-up-good eyefest - the audience has no reason to care about the emotional entanglements of the characters, and indeed the entire subplot is a huge waste of time.
I'm not talking about her character. I'm saying any movie is improved by having Kate Beckinsale in it.
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:10 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Another vote for Tora Tora Tora.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:21 AM
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I agree about Tora! Tora! Tora!, having just watched it this weekend. Lots of time I "watch" a movie while surfing the Internet, but this is one where I had to turn my laptop off so I could read the subtitles.

A question about the movie - if you listen to the Japanese when they say "Tora! Tora! Tora!" there's an extra syllable at the end of the last Tora - what does that mean?
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:28 AM
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Another vote for In Harms Way.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:24 AM
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As a side note, apparently if you can have only one black military character in a WWII film, it has to be Cuba Gooding Jr (The Tuskegee Airmen, Pearl Harbor, Men of Honor, Red Tails). Even if you have a bunch, he still has to be in the film.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:30 AM
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I miss you more then Michael Bay missed the mark
When he made Pearl Harbor
I miss you more than that movie missed the point
And that's an awful lot girl
And now, now you've gone away
And all I'm trying to say is
Pearl Harbor sucked, and I miss you

I need you like Ben Affleck needs acting school
He was terrible in that film
I need you like Cuba Gooding needed a bigger part
He's way better than Ben Affleck
And now all I can think about is your smile
and that shitty movie too
Pearl Harbor sucked and I miss you

Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making movies?
I guess Pearl Harbor sucked
Just a little bit more than I miss you

Team America
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:33 AM
BobLibDem BobLibDem is offline
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Tora x 3 was a great movie. You had the slowly increasing tension on the American side as the pieces of the puzzle started falling in place while we see the Japanese methodically prepare for the attack. Some great scenes- the diplomats hunting and pecking away at the typewriter as the zero hour comes and goes, the honor band rushing through the national anthem as the attack begins, the flying insructor being surrounded by Zeros, the desperation in the naval officer trying to pass his warnings up the chain of command, and of course the combat footage itself.

In contrast, Pearl Harbor was about an historic battle getting in the way of an improbable love triange.

Make a romance movie or make a war movie. Don't try to combine the two.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by BobLibDem View Post
Make a romance movie or make a war movie. Don't try to combine the two.
I agree with this. In addition, the Michael Bay film once again shows that special effects don't improve a story.

I'd like to see I Bombed Pearl Harbor someday.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:42 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Make a romance movie or make a war movie. Don't try to combine the two.
You can put a romance into any kind of movie. Pearl Harbor just did it wrong.

The events of the movie should interfere with the romance. In Pearl Harbor, the romance interferes with the events.

"Tora! Tora! Tora!" reminds me of "Apollo 13," in that both movies are about historical events where you know the outcome, and yet both are crafted so well that they still maintain an air of tension. Where they are different is that Apollo 13 is a wonderful, complete little story about people working together to overcome what seems to be the most ridiculous adversity, and they somehow do it, tying it all up at the end. In the case of Tora! Tora! Tora! it's precisely the opposite; the tension is doubled by the fact that you're watching two opponents, with warring subgroups within them, engaged in a series of events that you know will result in a horrifying outcome; one side is engaged in a series of acts of systemic incompetence, while the other seems caught up in a rush to start something they'll never be able to finish. The movie ends perfectly, with Yamamoto's (possibly apocryphal) quote that leaves the viewer in a state of tension, knowing the terrible events that just unfolded are merely the beginning of years of even more terrible events.

Apollo 13 is a study in how human beings can do brilliant and great things. Tora! Tora! Tora! is a study in how human beings can do monumentally stupid and awful things. And yet they both effectively solve the same cinematic problem.

Last edited by RickJay; 12-10-2012 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:52 AM
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You can put a romance into any kind of movie. Pearl Harbor just did it wrong.

The events of the movie should interfere with the romance. In Pearl Harbor, the romance interferes with the events.
I don't think it's a matter of putting in romance in the film, it's a matter of making the a film in the romance genre. A romantic subplot was a staple of the old family friendly movies.
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:17 AM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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Pearl Harbor is a bad film for people who prefer their war films to have the dark and serious tone of Saving Private Ryan or Thin Red Line, instead of Michael Bay's documentaries on the Cybertron Civil War.
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:19 AM
BobLibDem BobLibDem is offline
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You can put a romance into any kind of movie. Pearl Harbor just did it wrong.
It wouldn't be impossible, but it still wouldn't be a good idea. What I consider the best war movie, The Longest Day, had zero romance in it. Perhaps a skilled director and writer could add a romantic subplot, but why? You can throw a little war into a romance movie (Dr. Zhivago, GWTW), but boy it sure is hard to do the other way around.
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:21 AM
Alka Seltzer Alka Seltzer is offline
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The Japanese cut of Michael Bay's Pearl Harbour isn't bad. It's just one hour and ten minutes of bombing, with a big cheer at the end.
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by BobLibDem View Post
It wouldn't be impossible, but it still wouldn't be a good idea. What I consider the best war movie, The Longest Day, had zero romance in it. Perhaps a skilled director and writer could add a romantic subplot, but why? You can throw a little war into a romance movie (Dr. Zhivago, GWTW), but boy it sure is hard to do the other way around.
Well, you do it because you think the romance will add something to the movie. I mean, asking why you'd put romance into a war movie is exactly the same as asking why you'd put some war into a romance movie; if it helps in developing the characters or the theme, it's a good idea.

Here's the thing; if you take all the romance out of Pearl Harbor, it's still a terrible movie. All you get is less eye candy. The romance is awful, but the movie is otherwise still an awful mess; it would still lack any sort of coheremnt dramatic arc, the air combat scenes would still be utterly ludicrous, the special effects would still be over the top, the Cuba Gooding Jr. part would still be the most offensive bit of token throw-in casting I've ever seen, the bit where FDR stands up in defiance would still be unintentionally hilarious, and it would still have Alec Baldwin in it. Blaming the romance for ruining Pearl Harbor is like a person floating in the water after the Titanic sank saying "You know, I don't like the color of this life jacket."
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:27 PM
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It wouldn't be impossible, but it still wouldn't be a good idea. What I consider the best war movie, The Longest Day, had zero romance in it. Perhaps a skilled director and writer could add a romantic subplot, but why? You can throw a little war into a romance movie (Dr. Zhivago, GWTW), but boy it sure is hard to do the other way around.
Last of the Mohicans.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:11 AM
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...and the aforementioned From Here to Eternity.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:49 AM
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Yep, really, Tora!, Tora!, Tora! get's my vote. Kurosawa was supposed to direct the Japanese parts, but it didn't work out.

I didn't know I Bombed Pearl Harbor existed. Has anyone seen it?
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