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TOPIC: Tora! v.s. Pearl

Tora! v.s. Pearl 01 Jun 2001 10:19 #1723

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I've heard that although a lot of sweat and hard work went into "Pearl Harbor" it wasn't much more then a glorified love story. True it probably did pay great respect to the men that fought there, but was the fluff really needed? It seems that most of the people I talked to agreed that "Tora! Tora! Tora!" was a much better account of what really happened. What are your thoughts?
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Re: Tora! v.s. Pearl 01 Jun 2001 18:14 #1724

  • Ken Layton
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Tora wins hands down!
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Re: Tora! v.s. Pearl 02 Jun 2001 01:26 #1725

  • Avalon
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Let's see . . . . Tora! was a historically accurate POV from both sides of the attack. PH was a badly written(fictionalization), horribly acted, sexist, racist, that sucked so badly i had to make sure i wasn't laughing out loud at the rotton dialogue and Afleck's acting when others were moved to tears in the auditorium. I'll try not to sugar coat my opinion next time.

Important note: disrespecting the piece of garbage being pawned off as entertainment called "Pearl Harbor" is not intended to disrespect those who were actually involved in that battle. The movie, in my opinion, exploits the emotionalisum sirrounding a significant piece of history and uses that to try to account for some really bad filmmaking.
Paul Turner
Avalon Cinema
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Re: Tora! v.s. Pearl 02 Jun 2001 20:44 #1726

  • Mike
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er.......Paul.......what are you really trying to say?

If they made truly accurate movies about close combat no one could handle them. There's been smidges: Platoon, Thin Red Line, Hamburger Hill, Ryan.......

My biggest problem with Pearl is the need to turn it into a Love Story. Going to war is not a love story. The guys on those ships who died had a story all their own which we all grasp intuitively. we know they were all individuals with real lives they hoped to continue. The "love" angle does nothing for me.

I feel stupid having never seen Tora.

And if you think Pearl beats up on the Japanese how about Nanking? Now that would be a movie. Great porn too.

Mike Hurley
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Re: Tora! v.s. Pearl 02 Jun 2001 23:09 #1727

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Avalon:

How old are you? Why do I ask that question... because it seems as though you don't understand what it was like back in 1941. I liked PH. It was entertaining. Was it a great movie... NO. Was it a good movie... YES! Was it made as a historical documentary... NO. It was a fictional love story using the Pearl Harbor tragedy as the backdrop to bring the love triangle together.

Where is this racism and sexism that you talk about? Do you mean because the Japanese were made to look bad for attacking us, or that the blacks were all cooks, and the woman were all nurses? Well guess what... the Japanese DID attack us, the blacks WERE cooks, and the woman WERE mostly nurses back then. Was it right, from todays perspective... NO. But that is the way it was back then. Why should that be changed if it's the truth. And why did they have that comment about us cutting off there oil supplies and thus provoking the attack. It makes it look like it was our fault. We cut the oil to try and stop their war effort in China and southeast Asia where they were already brutally destroyibg those countries and butchering there people.

It really bothers me how people today are trying to rewrite history. We can't change the way things were, we can only change the way things are today... and even that's not easy.

Let's remember that we are not in the education business, but show business... movies are made to entertain first and foremost. If we are making a movie using a historical event as the setting, then we should try not to distort it, but we need not give all the facts beyond what is needed to carry the plot.

When I watched PH, I noticed people enjoying it, and the vast majority that I have talked to since then that have seen it enjoyed it.
That's all that is important... that the viewers were entertained, had a good time and left feeling that they had gotten there moneys worth.

That's what we're in business for.
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Re: Tora! v.s. Pearl 03 Jun 2001 18:27 #1728

  • Avalon
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Since you asked . . . .

I’m 40 years old. When I was a kid, several WW2 vets lived in our area. When I started in theaters, many of my first employers were WW2 and Korean combat vets. Having been raised in CA during the Viet Nam era I feel I was pretty lucky to have many differing perspectives on wars this country was involved in.

I realize most are not going to agree with this, but ANY media is in the education business. TV attempts to educate you what products are available and educate you toward buying them (don’t watch TV for a year. Once the trance is broken, it’s hard to go back). Movies more and more are doing the same thing. Movies also educate us, and the rest of the world, about attitudes prevalent in the United States. Being outside of the education business doesn’t give us the right to feel good about distributing misinformation.

The racism in Pearl Harbor was very subtle but very much there. The Japanese dentist was too stupid to realize he was giving information to the enemy – a transparent justification of the herding of the Japanese Americans into concentration camps in this country during WW2. And that’s racism. We sure got enough footage of everyday white soldiers, but the only black I remember the movie concentrating on was the one who went from a cook to a gunner. I guess the other blacks weren’t that important unless they were dying and being given last rites. This is also a form a subtle racism. And the best litmus test for racism: if you were Asian, how would you feel about watching this movie with your kid or working in the lobby once it’s out? If you were a black soldier who served in a segregated army, how would this movie strike you? I guess since we’re all white or passing as white, it’s not really an issue.

The nurses in the film are portrayed as husband-hunting nit-wits whose talents are restricted to treating sunburns and giving shots. The training to become a nurse is totally disregarded by the 17 year-old who lied about her age to get into the service. What did she do to get her training? Start at 15? Every actress was shown mostly in stunning dresses from the era – perpetuating the idea that their only “real” asset was their looks. And that is sexism. The scenes in triage were distorted which displaced the real horror of war. It also displaced the “real work” these nurses were there to do. We get to see the guys covered with blood and bullet holes, but the women get stuck behind a soft filter when they do their dirty work. I guess we’re not supposed to see women like that. That is sexism.

This sexism and racism does more to rewrite history than anything I could post.

In many recent war films, we are seeing a new type of intelligence. Quality film makers are shying away from dehumanizing the “enemy” to generate flag waving. We are accepting the fact that BOTH sides do really bad things and that war is not glorious or cool. War is not a three-hour recruiting film that conveniently omits chunks of history.

It is very easy to go back and forth, point by point on whether something is racist or sexist. I’m sure there are plenty of things I’m wrong about – I’ve yet to be canonized. I only saw this film once and I didn’t take notes. But, it really comes down to the over-all feel of a piece of work. I raised three daughters in a small Oregon mill town and had to fight every day to make sure they had the same chances the boys did. So, things are going to piss me off that others will see as “liberal hyperbole.” “Pearl Harbor” pissed me right off. I did NOT like listening to the audience cheering the deaths of the Japanese pilots.

I am not going to change the way anyone thinks who reads this. All I can do is offer an explanation of what I’m thinking. Flame away if it makes you feel better. We are all in the movie business, which means trashing a product many may be counting on to pull out of a depressed financial state is somewhat uncool. “Pearl Harbor” is going to be a big film for many people. It just seems the bigger the film, the more care should be put into doing it “right.” RoxyVaudville made some good points, and I may decide to go see the film again. But, I doubt it’s going to change the way I feel about it.
Paul Turner
Avalon Cinema
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