Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
USA, 2001. Touchstone Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Screenplay by Randall Wallace. Cinematography by John Schwartzman. Produced by Michael Bay, Jerry Bruckheimer. Music by Hans Zimmer. Production Design by Nigel Phelps. Costume Design by Mitzi Haralson, Michael Kaplan. Film Editing by Roger Barton, Mark Goldblatt, Chris Lebenzon,Steven Rosenblum. Academy Awards 2001. Golden Globe Awards 2001. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2001.
Complete and utter bore that runs an excessive three hours and is rife with plastic dialogue, overly-photographed scenery and impossibly dull pacing. Ben Affleck (looking like he’s in a coma) plays a hotshot pilot who is anxious to fly a war plane even though America has yet to enter the war. He volunteers on a mission that has been initiated for American pilots to help the British in battle, but right before he ships out from New York, he makes the acquaintance of a pretty nurse (Kate Beckinsale), an annoying little imp who decides to helplessly fall in love with our hero because he tells her how beautiful she is, twice. After his departure, he goes missing in action, she and his best buddy (Josh Hartnett, the best and only sympathetic performance in the film) get shipped to Pearl Harbour, and she mourns her lost love while chatting with her other equally airheaded nurse friends. Naturally, Hartnett steps up to the plate to comfort the young lady, and thanks to his taking her out for really good dinner, she can’t help but spread ’em for him too. What’s the girl to do when Affleck returns and creates the love triangle to end all Harlequin love triangles? Nothing, because the very day he arrives to see her, the Japanese launch a massive attack on the extremely vulnerable Pearl Harbour that goes on record as the most destructive attack on the United States in history. Randall Wallace’s script is a complete dud, and Michael Bay’s characteristic use of loud noise and MTV imagery is ill-suited to the material and kills whatever potential it has to be moving or exciting. Even the forty-minute battle sequence that makes up the centrepiece of the film is never more than mildly distracting. The period details have been recreated faithfully, but the characters’ and their idiocy makes the film feel strangely anachronistic.