Please distribute this URL as you see fit. By Ted Baldwin
Amusing, isn't it?
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Pearl Harbor" It is

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Best Picture 2001
 Panned by many critics, this incredibly beautiful and daring film shows the savagery and insanity of war. More importantly, it shows the determination of a great country when put to the test.
     I went to PH half expecting to see a drowsy behemoth of a film with overblown egos crowding the screen and rank amateurish storytelling. This attitude was courtesy of the unbelievable barrage of bad press about this film. Half-way into it I discovered this movie was the real deal, and there was probably some other reason for the critics to be ganging up on it.

     Film has long been recognized as the most effective propaganda tool in existence. It is second to none in its ability to sway minds, touch hearts, cement opinion.

     And when that power is coupled with accuracy, truth, determination - then it is awesome indeed.

     Pearl Harbor is propaganda to some, and they fear it not because it distorts the truth, but because it lays truth bare for the public.

     PH paints the US as a victim, which it rightly was, savagely and mercilessly attacked by a nation whose leaders talked peace until the moment they struck. But it also paints the US as a righteous victor, rallying to the brutality of the Japanese and giving them a small dose of their own medicine, before shoving in the whole bottle four years later.

     It is no wonder that this majestic and swift moving panorama of an innocent people rising to the call of War has been panned by left-leaning critics and "news"papers - PH shows the US as a military might, justified - while painting cowardice in bright stripes across the foreheads of the Empire's strategists.

     The film is three hours, but the time goes by unnoticed as events loom larger and larger on the horizon. We get to know the characters, and see how they fit into the scheme of international events.

     It made us feel for them, their rights and wrongs, and brought home the tragedy.

     What is real purpose of panning such a terrific film? One of the more important social agendas of the '90's, was the idea of revising Japan's role in WWII to be that of victim. This was in a concerted effort to illegitimize the use of nuclear weapons to end that war. One idiotic curator of a museum actually had an exhibit on the dropping of the A-bombs over Japan suggest an apology to the Japanese.
(Never mind that the bombs conservatively saved two million lives...lives that would have been lost in hand to hand combat - and never mind that one raid of conventional weapons alone killed more people than Hiroshima)

     There can never be any justified use of such bombs, the reasoning goes, because we live in terror of the bombs and we have to make it impossible for them to be used ever again. Etc. Etc. This is a pitiful attempt to wrest power from the US [capitalists] and redistribute it among [whoever], by invalidating our primary means of defense. Let's get rid of our Nukes, whether anybody else does or not? Please.

     We were weak and unprepared before WWII, with a fifth of the troops Japan had - ranked 18th among world powers (so I have been informed). Since we became #1, fewer surprise attacks have claimed American lives.

Any time the US is portrayed as righteous in the Second World War, propagandists will viciously attack whoever or whatever carries the message.

Ignore their futile lies.

Pearl Harbor carries it beautifully, and shows just what a sleeping giant can do when aroused.
Reasons why Pearl Harbor is Best Picture for 2001
     I imagine A.I. will be be a terrific film and no doubt others will play heavily for the top spot, but I will consider this best picture for this year - nothing in the works has the promise to unseat this giant. It is grand, and sweeping, and puts you into the moment.

1. Panorama of war

2. Revenge on unjustified attack

3. Performances of stars in minor roles - it's what I would have done.

4. Accuracy of historical facts relative to problems of making a movie

5. Brilliance of special effects and production teams

6. Beauty of cinematography

7. Concept of story spanning generations

8. Daring to present non-Politically Correct history

9. Refutation of Japan as Victim revisionism

10. Use of news-reel footage in attack sequences

11. Making Pearl Harbor attack only part of the story

12. Three battle sequences

13. Depiction of horror of war

14. Evenly paced tenor of film, building to genuine terror during attack

15. Effortlessly drug tears out of audience as hero after hero fell

16. Refusal to make movie only about attack

17. Effort to show political climate affecting indecision on entering war.

18. It packs in betrayal of trust on personal level as imagined by one player, contrasting it with literal betrayal of Japanese.

19. Focuses on events as part of whole - big picture concept is paramount in determining the impact of a feature film.

20. It is honest and frank in its portrayals - no phony moments or hidden agendas. No smarmy asides to the camera or winks about conventional wisdom - and not a single apology to the bastards that attacked us.*

21. It is respectful.


This film is terrific.
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*And today they are a strong ally. Which is better than having them as masters any day.
     To see how right-on Parker and Stone were with "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut", review it after seeing Pearl. It does not diminish Pearl Harbor as a film, but it shows you how radically different anti-war messages can both be effective, and how WWII newreel documentaries have a certain feel....

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