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Pearl Harbor Reviews

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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pearl Harbor is a blockheaded, hollow-hearted industrial enterprise.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

May 28, 2014
Emanuel Levy
Screen International

As impressive as the physical verisimilitude is, it only accentuates the contrast with the banalities of a script that lacks any fully developed characters.

Full Review Source: Screen International

May 28, 2014
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
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The best way to see the movie is as I did: expecting nothing and being pleasantly surprised, and strangely moved, by Mr. Bay's audacity in filming his lovers in end-of-the-world close-ups, however briefly.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

May 28, 2014
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
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The effect of watching a Michael Bay film is indistinguishable from having a large, pointy lump of rock drop on your head. His new picture, Pearl Harbor, maintains the mood.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

May 28, 2014
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
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Pearl Harbor is a bomb, make no mistake. But the movie is such a noisy, persistent bomb that it is guaranteed to draw a crowd.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 2/4

May 27, 2014
David Germain
Associated Press
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For all the 118 actors listed, the movie offers almost no sense of authentic humanity. The faces the filmmakers plaster on their characters are as flat and stereotyped as those on war-recruitment posters.

Full Review Source: Associated Press

May 27, 2014
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
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Leave it to Bay and Bruckheimer to reduce one of America's biggest military tragedies into a three-hour avalanche of Kodak moments, and one of America's defining crises into a facile exercise in fake uplift.

Full Review Source: AV Club

May 27, 2014
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
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Three hours and three minutes of guff and goo about the nobility of killing and/or being killed for arbitrary reasons.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

May 27, 2014
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
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There's no dismissing the film, if only because it offers another long, loud example of how Hollywood remains the hagiographic spinmeister of American war history.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

May 27, 2014
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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The centerpiece is the attack. For 50 minutes, the filmmakers unleash nonstop eye candy.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune

May 27, 2014
Leah Rozen
People Magazine

Bloated and boring, Pearl Harbor is a collection of war-movie clichés.

Full Review Source: People Magazine

May 27, 2014
Richard C. Walls
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Bay seems temperamentally incapable of holding a shot for much more than five seconds.

Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI) | Original Score: 2/5

May 27, 2014
Andrew Collins
Radio Times

Weaknesses of plot and characterisation are only amplified by the film's unwieldy size and patriotic portent, and the script is toe-curlingly bad.

Full Review Source: Radio Times | Original Score: 2/5

May 27, 2014
Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

While the film manages to drag the actual attack out to 45 minutes of its ponderous 183 minute running time, that still leaves a lot of movie to be taken up by what passes for plot -- a convoluted romance of the heavily cliched kind.

Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC) | Original Score: 2/5

May 27, 2014
Peter Preston
Observer [UK]

This is so bad, it's good. This is a real disaster.

Full Review Source: Observer [UK]

May 27, 2014
Michael Sragow
Baltimore Sun

Those who should be offended are American veterans. Their service has been reduced to a sentimental fable of two heroic pilots and their noble lass proving their gumption and their bravery. Even as a tall tale, it's puny.

Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun

May 27, 2014
Dennis King
Tulsa World

Go for the rousing flag-waving, for the sense of experiencing a terrible and profound moment in history, but be prepared to swallow it all with a huge dose of treacle.

Full Review Source: Tulsa World

May 27, 2014

Total Film

Watch, enjoy, and then forget about it entirely.

Full Review Source: Total Film | Original Score: 3/5

May 27, 2014
Stephen Humphries
Christian Science Monitor

Even the much-vaunted depiction of the Japanese attack, while often visually arresting, still suffers from over-frenetic editing and more emphasis on adventure thrills than befits the tragedy of Pearl Harbor.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: 1/4

May 27, 2014
Burl Burlingame
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

There's a certain symbolic symmetry here. The Navy and Walt Disney have teamed up on the production, and both view history as something to be managed and exploited.

Full Review Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser | Original Score: 1/4

December 20, 2012
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