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The opening Pearl Harbor sequence leaves one with the impression that Japanese Zero fighters were capable of single-handedly blowing up a battleship, simply by strafing it with machine-gun and cannon fire (I groaned at the number of times Zero fighters were shown coming down to nearly deck level BETWEEN the US battleships with the apparent express mission of taking out USS Arizona's band). I did see what appeared to be a Kate torpedo plane launching it's weapon bow-on to Battleship Row. Interesting tactic. Why aim for the broadside of a stationary warship when you can make it more challenging by trying to hit the skinny end?
The CGI seemed uneven in quality throughout the film. Some scenes were breathtakingly realistic, as when we get a panoramic view of Akagi, Kaga and Soryu burning and billowing huge clouds of dirty brown smoke or when the destruction at Pearl Harbor is viewed from a distance. Dauntless dive-bombers on the American carriers are rendered in loving detail, down to their individual rivets. But other scenes came off as too video game quality, especially the battle sequences.
There are some notable visual gaffes too. When the Japanese carrier strike wave nears Midway atoll to begin its bombing run, I noticed the Nakajima "Kates" (acting as horizontal bombers) had no visible armament on them whatsoever! As in, no bombs attached to their undersides. I just went, "Huh?!?!" Did someone forget their CGI drawing assignment that day? Did no one bother reviewing this footage after completion?
I do give Emmerich (and scriptwriter Wes Tooke) credit for not repeating the long-propagated myth that the Japanese carrier flight decks were packed with planes only minutes away from taking off for a retaliatory strike against the USN carriers. That would have made for a more dramatic finale, but instead we see just a few Zero CAP fighters on the decks prior to the Dauntlesses going into their dives.
The film runs 2hrs 18 minutes but could have been trimmed without any great loss to the story line. The most deserving cut to me was the scene with Hollywood director John Ford, shown with his film crew filming the Japanese bombing attack on Midway. It's a needlessly distracting and rather minor sidebar with no discernible reason for inclusion in the film other than, "Let's throw everything we possibly can into this thing...".
So, overall, it's worth seeing...at least once. But it didn't leave me wanting to re-visit it anytime soon. And that's my usual barometer to gauge terrific absorbing films from so-so average ones. This one rates just a little above average.
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Quite right. For such people, there is the history chan...oh, nevermind.
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- Joined: 16 Aug 2004 01:51
- Location: Pennsylvania
I saw it, I did not like it, and I believe the original film made in 1976 was much better. How, Hollywood could spend all that money on computer generated imagery and then make a lousy film is beyond me. I only saw the new version once, the old version I have watched 20-30 times. The battle scenes were just plain stupid, and if anyone believes that a US Navy dive bombers flown by Lt. Best would pull up and fly just above the deck of a Japanese aircraft carrier and release his bomb just before he flys past his target, this movie is for you!!
Why can’t Hollywood jus make a historically accurate movie and just tell the true story is beyond me!! The real story is good enough! They really didn’t even cover the Japanese side of the battle.
I give this movie a thumbs down! They could of done much, much, much better!
Maybe Hollywood should of hired the guys that wrote “Shattered Sword” as advisors!
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- Joined: 15 Oct 2019 10:13
- Location: Adelaide
Hollywood is dealing with many things in a movie. One is the issue of historical accuracy and that I'd suggest is the least of their worries. Their is audience expectation, which is a major worry. Technically they have problems with camera angles and fields of view, the lack of realistic and accurate aircraft/ships/vehicles/weapons/uniforms. Finally there is the writing/scripting and so on. Naval battles in particular pose difficult questions. They occur traditionally at long distances and are conducted by either big guns or aircraft. I have yet to see an ultra-realistic movie about a naval or air battle.
Ground combat is easier but the narrow field of view means directors have the actors bunch up and all too often they talk too much to tell the audience what is going on. Only one move I know of overcomes that - "The Odd Angry Shot" which is about a mythical SASR Squadron in South Vietnam. In the field on operations, a minimum of talking and a minimum of bunching occurs. "Long Tan" is another although both suffer from over-directing and bunching of troops in some scenes for "dramatisation" Both are worth watching.
What is required is a director who knows how aircraft and ships operate. Fighters manoeuvre like aircraft, not starfighters. Ships fight like ships, not starships. Aircraft attack like aircraft. Bombs fall like bombs and torpedoes swim like torps do. Even in the 1950s the British tried much better than Americans do in the 21st century it seems. I'd much rather watch "Hunt the Bismarck" 100 times than any of the recent Midway movies.