Wartime epic could do without poorly-scripted love story

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2001, 12:00am

Romantic-historical-epic wannabe Pearl Harbor has, by luck, become a popular time-killer over the rainy long holiday weekend when people had nowhere else to go.

It was surprising to see long queues at the cinemas despite scathing reviews.

Most movie-goers seemed to come out bored and regretting the waste of three hours and the money spent on tickets.

Aggressive marketing for the highly commercial American blockbuster revives enthusiasm over the events at Pearl Harbour. Also important are three pretty faces in the leading roles.

The plot centres on a bland love story involving two guys and a girl against the background of the Japanese bombing of the American port in 1941.

A scene set in Tennessee in 1923 introduces the film's two heroes, Rafe (Ben Affleck) and Danny (Josh Hartnett), as childhood buddies who are both obsessed with planes as kids.

Rafe grows up to be a handsome bomber pilot. He falls in love with pretty navy nurse Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale). As soon as their romance blossoms, Rafe leaves her behind and volunteers for the air force.

His plane gets shot down and he is presumed dead.

Danny, also a fighter pilot, delivers Evelyn the bad news in Hawaii where she is posted. Love eventually sparks between the two who find solace in each other's arms.

Only after enduring about 40 minutes of drivel can the audience finally get to enjoy the battle scenes where most of the US$135 million (HK$1.05 billion) budget was spent.

On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy led by Admiral Yamamoto (Mako) launch bomb attacks on the Pacific Fleet's naval base.

In 1942, the Americans carry out an air raid on Tokyo in retaliation.

The film delivers panoramic views of high-impact warfare, including fleets of fighter jets flying in the sky, the sinking of the warship Arizona and devastating bombing and destruction.

In fact, the war scenes could stand alone to make a passable documentary with the irrelevant and poorly scripted romance taken out.

Pearl Harbor is showing on the UA and Broadway circuits and at JP, Silvercord, AMC Festival Walk, Metro, Miramar, Chinachem and Cityplaza.


Graphic: YPFRGLO

Graphic: F11GLO