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Pearl Harbor

Despite tremendous success at the box office, and a lot of spectacular effects, there's something disappointing about this film. Perhaps the way so many women—not the usual audience for war movies—flocked to see this one provides a clue. Rather to the horror of the war movie aficionado, what "Pearl Harbor" turns out to be is (gasp!) a chick flick.

You have to give the producer and director credit for trying. The action sequences are good, with much of the pre-production fears that the warships would be obviously modern turning out to be incorrect. (The modern hulls in the live-action sequences were altered by computer generated effects to resemble the correct ships.)

Despite this, there are still some rather horrible errors. Fighters flying between buildings somehow manage to completely ignore the most basic laws of aerodynamics. A steeply banked plane has no option but to lose altitude if it’s flying in a straight line, so the planes would have crashed in the real world.

Buoyancy and hydrodynamic balance also take hits. When a ship capsizes, the center of rotation isn’t going to be several yards above the surface of the water.

Someone also seemed to be in love with furiously spinning fusing propellers on bombs. Sorry, but that’s not how time fuses work and, in any case, the propellers would have been completely destroyed as the bomb smashed through the superstructure of any armored ship.

There's a pointless, and seemingly endless, love story that gets in the way of the action. Tora! Tora! Tora! did it better. My own advice would be to fast forward through most of the preliminaries and just watch the action sequences.

The "60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition" includes a History Channel documentary on Pearl Harbor that helps make up for the mush.