Saturday, March 26, 2011

Things I Learned From the Movies: Pearl Harbor

I remember when this movie first came out and I was SO EXCITED. I thought this was going to be the Pacific theater's version of Saving Private Ryan. Man, was I wrong. SPR was an Historical Epic; Pearl Harbor is a Historical Action movie.

Lesson #6: Southern Accents are not difficult to master.
From the kids at the beginning of the movie to the less-than-stellar acting of Hartnett and Affleck, the accents are horrible in this movie. Hollywood underestimates the difficulty of both the Southern American and English accents. Drew Barrymore in Everafter? Not an English accent. It was just an accent. Affleck manages to speak in the hickest, dumbest redneck accent of no particular area in the land. This goes for Scottish accents as well--as long as their unintelligible and unlike Mel Gibson's, then they must be fine. Right?

And where is Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s accent? His character was from Texas.

Lesson #7: Nothing emphasizes the tragedy of war like some slapstick comedy.
Affleck's character, Rafe, is a mess. He somehow manages to get Evelyn through a comedy of errors while getting inoculated. Their first date is also a mess, with his nose getting broken (again), and then nearly plunges the two of them into an icy ocean. This is highlighted by some of his pilot buddies using all kinds of means to get a girl, like stuttering and tears. And the sad thing? It works.

Lesson #8: Revolving doors are dangerous.
Did you see how fast that door was moving when Rafe was saying good-bye to Evelyn? I can't see how anyone could leave that building without losing a limb.

Lesson #9: Want to elevate your film to be art-house worthy? Put in subtitles!
Bonus points if it's in a non-European language. Double bonus points if it's a little known dialect. Points will be taken away if it's Affleck's southern accent.

Lesson # 10: When you are being chased by the enemy, have a video camera handy.
You'll get money for it later on--that is, if you survive.

Lesson # 11: When attempting to run from one air field to another, wait until the planes are not about to attack you.

Overall, apart from fifteen minutes at the middle which should be the heart of the movie, Pearl Harbor was a dud. Instead of focusing on the attack of Pearl Harbor, the movie veers into Titanic territory, with the tragedy sandwiched in between the love triangle of the main characters. The best part of the movie was the section of the attack. The movie would have been more powerful had they focused on the build-up to the attack from the point of view of the military alongside the Japanese preparations. Everything got lost on the focus of the love story.

It could have been so much better.

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