If Fox’s 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora! was a little too academic and dry, then Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor is simply all wet. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve rarely seen a movie find more ways to put the wrong foot forward. The tacked-on romantic triangle makes Titanic look like Jane Austen and Shakespeare combined. The historical accuracy is slightly more suspect than O.J. Simpson. The special effects turn one of the most solemn moments in American history into a video game.
You have the power to kill but not negotiate. In Somalia, killing is negotiation.
Ridley Scott’s fact-based epic is probably the most patriotic anti-war movie ever made. It successfully honors the men and their mission, while simultaneously acknowledging the politics that ultimately made their sacrifices rather futile in the end. It may be the first modern war movie about a truly modern war and watching it now, I realize that the current occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have either not seen this movie or have at least never internalized the lessons from the events depicted. The prior tenant may have learned the wrong lesson from the Battle of Mogadishu, but at least he was paying some attention.