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PEARL HARBOR

My blood is red white and blue to begin with, so I think you know the kind of review you'll be reading here.

We all know the plot before we even head to the theater. But, I think they did a great job in bringing that day to life, for those of us too young to remember what a shock this attack really was.

Plus, Pearl Harbor is a manfest extravaganza to the tenth power. As one of the lovely starlets of the film explained, Pearl Harbor has "four thousand, Navy, Marines and Army boys just looking to dance..." Whew, she wasn't kidding.

All of us remember, or were taught to remember Pearl Harbor. It's always so far away from a reality though. Even the movie 1941, with John Belushi, kept us happily oblivious to the suffering our grandparents or friend's grandparents went through. 3000 men and women lost their lives, 1177 men on the ship the Arizona, alone. Warning, you are going to go through about a half an hour of non-stop war. Watching helplessly. Be ready.

This Pearl Harbor is also a wartime love story. Rafe (an adorable almost Gene Kelly-esque all-American hero looking Ben- humma humma- Affleck) is ready to take on the Nazis but America is not involved in the war over there. None the less he's an army pilot hell-bent on being a hero for the flag. At his physical he meets the girl of his dreams, Evelyn ( Kate Beckinsale). But he follows his other dreams and agrees to a special assignment with the Royal Air Force. Off he goes.

His gal Eve, also in the service, is sent off to Hawaii, Pearl Harbor along with his closest friend Danny (Josh " packs -sting" Harnett) and some others from his squad.

Then the news of the feared and dreaded kind comes to his friends; the poor gunner's a goner.


Ralph's friend and childhood pal, Danny consoles the grief stricken Eve...and....well...These things happen. Yeah, didn't see this love snaffu coming. But they had to have something besides the bombings...What's this...a telegram has arrived on base...

Meanwhile, we watch the dates moving slowly toward December 7, as our hearts ease up our throats. The date we now know that lives in infamy. Gulp.

Pearl Harbor is bombed. Lives are changed forever. Some lives are reborn...

But enough about the sadness. Let's talk about Ben's affect. Ben Affleck is simply gorgeous. What is it that makes him so handsome in this? What's the smitt-bug trying to tell me? Ah-ha! It's the old-time clothes. Manly form fitting 100% man cloth. Not big baggy icky jeans and tee shirts that bring even the cutest of men down to a twelve-year-old level. No loud sneakers with logos emblazoned across them. No. He was in manly knickers with a belt to boot. For those of you too young to remember a belt is an ancient device used by men of yesteryear to hold there pants up, against the fear of their underwear being -heaven forbid -exposed. Well, this look works for young chuck steak Affleck in the strongest of ways. His acting was impressive too. Not that they gave him much...But, he lost his signature smirk and stayed concentrated on his character. How'd they get the lad to do that?

This other lamb chop, Josh Harnett (Danny) grew on you like those fig newton things tend to... At first he was "okay" but as the frames flowed into the next his smile got sexier, his arms dreamier, until you were ready to nosh on the whole damn man plate. Josh has certainly come along way in his career. Let's keep an eye on him shall we...

Now, thank you Hollywood for casting this gal Kate Beckinsale. She's the daughter of British comic Richard, who had quite a loyal following -over there. Kate did a wonderful job and is simply lovely. She really looked the part of the 1940's American pinup beauty. LOVED her clothes too. Too bad that style wouldn't come back. Somebody call Madonna, she can make it so.

The rest of the cast, too numerous to spotlight, are also well cast. Cuba Gooding Jr. has almost a bit part, but it's an important one. Jon Voight almost made me laugh outloud at his John Barrymore, a' la Dr. Gillespie , President Roosevelt scenes.

This is definitely an epic action blockbuster. It's trying to be with out shame. Why is the buzz comparing it to Titanic? Probably because they are both real-life tragedies that intertwine those overly dramatic heart tugging scores and colossal special effects along with a mix-a-blockbuster director that practically puts us front row center for these the terrible events. Both, also, had huge casualties that could have been avoided if not for the infamous "missed message."

If Hollywood could get a working script from Cameron Crowe, involving the Hindenburgh Zeppelin in a love story between a British super agent with a secret passion for pro-wrestling and an American debutante run away from her arranged marriage to a wall street meany, of course starring Russell Crowe and Julia Roberts, and directed by Steven Soderbergh, they'd try that too! Okay, maybe not. But they are different films.

And don't worry if this is just a love story. The action is there. Mr Testosterone himself, Jerry Bruckheimer, directs it. So, even with it's heavy subject matter, there's almost a Madtv mock movie flair to it at times...Like the extreme close-ups of Affleck and Beckinsale's nose and mouth as they speak in low hushed tones, passionately in love. All we see are six foot flaring nostrils and pouty lips.Then you have that nonstop piping of sad- story- "epic" music, which goes to work on your emotional psyche from the very first frame. You'll want to weep immediately at it's commencement, but won't be sure why! Oh, and the patented Bruckheimer® slow motion action scenes. Those all wrenching running scenes as the tough guy banter and one liners bombard you as fast as the bazillion bullets fly around picking off extra after extra.

This film puts it in perspective for us. We were ambushed plain and simple. It's a war thing. We've even done it. Also it was 1941, not the high tech world we live in. A 300 plane air attack coming in undetected? Not gonna happen now buckaroo.

Pearl Harbor, it seemed, tried to be honest. Especially in it's portrayal of the leaders and their lack of information that ultimately may have prevented the loss of so many people. They were honest about some of the not so up-and-up tactics the Empire of Japan. They skirt around the issue of life threatening oil blockades a neutral America had set upon Japan which ultimately was the reason for the attack. They mention it but, briefly. We are the "good guys" after all. War is hate. People do things unimaginable to each other. And remember, please, no one is guilt free! That's the beauty of war, it's an equal opportunity ass*%$ maker. Before you go storming into your favorite sushi parlor proclaiming- 'you Jap' this, or 'you Jap' that, remember it was war, a long time ago, and according to, not only history, but the blurb in the film, we "left them no choice but to attack."

Just try and remember the folks who did fight these wars on both sides without judgment. Oh, and enjoy Ben and Josh's happening good looks.

Snack recommendation: Hamburger, French fries and a large American coke.

Soundtrack->

Official Site->

Pearl Harbor In Depth->

Starring: Casey's brother Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett,Kate Beckinsale,Ewen Bremner, Alec Baldwin, James King, Catherine Kellner, Jennifer Garner, Michael Shannon (V), Jon Voight and Cuba Gooding Jr

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