If Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer movies were any less subtle, their showtimes would be announced via air raid siren. You wouldn't have to call the theaters or check the newspapers -- you'd just wake up in the morning and listen to the showtimes blasting at 150 decibels throughout your local neighborhood.
If you think that any of the four movies these guys have made together ("Bad Boys," "The Rock," "Armageddon" and "Pearl Harbor") approach art, then you simply have the brain of a small rodent. As we walked out of the theater, the guy next to me nodded enthusiastically and said "good movie" -- except that it sounded like "gold moby", because he suffered from slurred speech and was wearing a propellor beanie and giant diaper. In other words, he represents the very demographic that makes Michael Bay possible. Bay's movies are for people who think Red Lobster is a classy restaurant, who think Coors is a robust beer, and who think that wearing clothes so tight that their genitals actually squeak is an attractive fashion statement. Another woman who caught my attention in the theater was so obese that the fat from her stomach was bouncing off her knees. She came in late and when it was suggested she might have to sit apart from her husband in the crowded theater she wailed to him at the top of her lungs, "But I wahhnt to sit with you!!" Excuse me, but are you two years old? Bay's films are for people whose ages must be measured both physically and mentally.
This is a three-hour film due largely to the fact that political correctness demands it jump through a few requisite hoops. The first of those is the Japanese point-of-view. Okay, if you're an idiot, maybe you need to understand that the Japanese weren't evil in an objective sense but were actually a nation of people with legitimate reasons for attacking the United States. Everyone should already know that. The fact of the matter, however, is that war is about dehumanizing people. How ironic that Michael Bay humanizes the Japanese, but dehumanizes the rest of his cast because he can't direct.
The story revolves around two fighter pilots, Rafe (Ben Affleck) and Danny (Josh Hartnett), and the nurse, Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale), they both love. Cuba Gooding, Jr. has an embarrassingly brief role as a cook who becomes a hero because if the filmmakers didn't show a black guy doing something, liberals would get all upset about lack of black representation. First of all, I don't recall seeing a single Hawaiian in the entire film. Secondly, what does Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character have to do with the story? It's actually an insult that he's in the film, because the scenes are so clearly a patronizing effort to appease the black community. Do they really need or want appeasement by every mediocre flick that comes stumbling down the pike?
Naturally, since this is a Bay/Bruckheimer film, every single important moment is lathered in emotionally appropriate music. That's because the people who like these films need musical cues to direct them how to think. The filmmakers use the music to instruct the audience to feel sad or happy -- or fearful, as the Japanese planes hone in on Pearl Harbor. Because subtlety is a part of life and there's none in this film, there's also nothing genuine about it. Every single line of dialogue is spoken as though it's being announced -- as though the speaker is painfully aware that he's giving an important speech.
Naturally, Bay manages to get his signature shot in the film: a bunch of guys walking in slow motion about to head into battle. I'm so sick of that shot I could beat a rhino to death with my penis. Every Michael Bay moment is like an advertisement for itself, as though he wanted to make every scene suitable for the trailer or for the cover of the DVD. The irony of "Pearl Harbor" is that it's trying so hard to be patriotic that it ends up having the opposite effect. I left the theater thinking, "Is everyone in America really this stupid?" Let's see how much money "Pearl Harbor" makes. I suspect the answer is yes.
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