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Region Reviewed: Region 2
Number of Discs
: 2
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Picture: 2.35:1 Anamorphic

Special Features: Journey To The Screen - The Making Of Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor - The Japanese Perspective, Faith Hill music video (There You'll Be), Theatrical Trailer, Scene Selection, Animated menu.

Pearl Harbour Plot: Based around the events of December 7th 1941 when Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor. The film focusses on two young American pilots, Rafe McCauley (Ben Affleck) and Danny Walker (Josh Harnett) who both fall for same girl, Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale).

Pearl Harbor Review: I went to see Pearl Harbor at the cinema back when it was released back on May 30th this year. It was the first event movie of the year and hype was building up from weeks and weeks before. I was in Leicester Square the night before where the film had its UK premiere, so you could say that I was looking forward to seeing the movie more than most people especially after this imense build up and months and months of writing about the hype online. A film like this is meant to be seen in a packed cinema right? Lights down, Dolby Digital blaring from each of the six channels and a fistful of popcorn to boot. Right? Right, but this is lunchtime and there are only a few people in the auditorium (even though this is the cinemas first screening) and my popcorns stale (leftover from yesterday), but at least the Dolby Digital will recreate some atmosphere and enhance this Bruckheimer movie extravagansa experience. It did, to a certain extent, until the final reel which jammed in the projector and stopped the movie at one of the movies most important moments. Damn! The cinema's management apologised and we were whisked into screen 2, where the film was also being screened to an equally small amount of people, but was running about 20 minutes behind. In other words we had to sit through some of the stuff we had already just seen, which was a pain in the arse as it completely ruined the rest of the film that we had not yet seen. The credits rolled, the film ended and we left (well, me anyway) dissapointed. The Pearl Harbor experience first time round sucked. Now 8 months later, the DVD sits before me.

This time around, I am sat in my own home, alone in a darkened room with my own ('fresh') microwave popcorn, my own Dolby Digital setup turned up to the max and my own TV positioned the right distance before me. PLAY. FAST FORWARD three(ish) hours and I have seen the film in its entirety at last. And its okay. Just okay. The film is overlong, but the 25 minute attack sequence an hour and a half in is the films redeeming feature. Emotionally and dramatically it's not a patch on Private Ryan's opening sequence as we're treated to a more 'family' friendly war movie. This film may have benefitted from a higher rating (which we are promised next year) to capture and somehow recreate just how much of an American tragedy this was, and to hit home to audiences, just as 'Ryan' did. The whole this is just too cartoony and as cliched as it may sound all just 'too Hollywood'. In the hands of a different director and production team, including screenwriter Randall Wallace who dissapoints with his follow up to Braveheart, this could have been a totally different film. The central love story is totally unbelievable and the performances by the actors involved are all just average. Michael Bay was probably the wrong director to do Pearl Harbor as this is just the same as his previous movies, most of all the awful Armageddon and considering the delicate subject matter of this (not forgetting a lot of the surviviors are still alive, and even helped on the production), it should have been handled a little more delicately. I would have hired Spielberg. Imagine that, Jerry Bruckheimer producing a Spielberg movie. Wouldn't happen.

There are positive aspects too. The attack sequence is both spectacular and is edge of the seat stuff, but still doesn't capture the horror. Bay shows signs of hope with the footage shot by the cameraman during the attack (black and white), the 'money shot' of the bomb that falls from one of the Zero's to the deck of one of the battleships is excellent and Jon Voight's Roosevelt is well acted.

To wrap it up, Pearl Harbor is an event movie that should have been more personal. It's all big bangs, God bless America and too much emphasis has been put on the central romance plot and not enough on what realistically what happened on that dreadful day.

Pearl Harbor Disc Review: The disc is a little bit of a let down too. My wish list for this would include at least a commentary from Michael Bay, but preferably with Bruckheimer, Randall Wallace and the always entertaining ben Affleck too. No sign of any commentary on the disc at all. We have a lengthy documentary ' Jouney To The Screen - The Making Of Pearl Harbor' which is one of the better ones that I have seen. It includes interviews with Bay and Bruckheimer, some of the cast and also some of the survivors of Pearl Harbor. The trailer is on the disc, as too is a music video by Faith Hill and another documentary 'The Japanese Perspective'. The menus are animated and we have the standard scene selections too. The extra features are okay, but certainly not what I had expected from a film as huge as this. We're promised a three disc edition and a version with an 'R' rated cut at a later date though.

The picture quality is excellent in this 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer, but it's the sound that excells the most and easily the best mix i've heard in a while. The attack sequence features great bangs and dynamic range that echoes in the rear speakers, plus there's the sound of gunfire from all around the channels that put you into the thick of the action.

Overall Rating - MOVIE: 6/10 - DISC: 5/10

Read the original Pearl Harbor theatrical release review.


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