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Review: Pearl Harbor 400

Posted by JonKatz
from the -bloated-epic-(war-is-hell-but-pretty)- dept.
Before the treacherous attack on Pearl Harbor, we were a pretty, innocent, and simple folk. We all looked like Ben Affleck, Josh Hartness, or Kate Beckinsale. Sure, we had our faults. We drank a bit and were awkward with the girls. There was racism and stuff; there was complacency, and dumb, technologically ignorant admirals who should have been sounding the klaxons long before the Japanese attacked. After all, the Japanese did everything but ring up Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House and announce they were coming. But hey, the countryside was gorgeous and lush, and we were all playing catch or golf or lounging around the beautiful Honolulu beaches. After the attack, well, you know ... coming of age, loss of innocence. We became an ugly, crowded, smelly, complicated country, losing our sepia tones and contending with social problems and divisions, with TV and bad airline service, with the Net and all that. SPOILAGE WARNING. (Read more.)

That's more or less the message of Pearl Harbor, the bloated epic by Michael Bay that purports to capture America's defining moment as it was drawn into the world's most awful war, but instead bogs down almost from the opening shot in a dreary, protracted and curiously unfeeling love story.

It's actually two movies, the better one buried deep inside the first. To begin with, we met the poor but super-wholesome Rafe McCawley (Affleck) and Danny Walker (Hartnett), best pals from Shelby, Tennessee, who -- under interminably complex, global and slow-moving circumstances -- fall in love with the same girl, nurse Evelyn Johnson (Beckinsale). She mopes through this 183 minute drama, sad-eyed and stunned, as if she had an IV pumping Valium into her.

Just in case, you haven't been seeing those trailers all year, the two little rascal stars are stealing and flying their parent's crop-dusting airplanes around even before reaching puberty. You get this funny intuition all that barn-storming and derring-do might lead to the skies over Pearl Harbor one day. (Yes, yes, they tell the recruiters: they were born to fly).

The screenwriter is clearly going for another grand-scale Titanic. Big history, big tragedy. The writers didn't find one of America's most humiliating military defeats big enough to carry the film. So he and Bay wrap all the jazzy bombing, aircraft maneuverings and other action sequences inside this snoozy love story, in which the stars perpetually gaze at one another in sorrow, regret and anticipation. They know pretty quickly -- duh -- that "this war is going to catch up with us one day," as Nurse Johnson actually says. We know it, too. But the movie sure makes us itchy for it to actually happen.

The film should have been content to bring us the story of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, which is rendered with considerable skill as the use of computer animation continues to mature in movies. From the moment the first Zero glides over the mountains, the movie handsomely delivers on a richly-imagined aerial attack and the resulting chaos and tragedy. And thanks to great animation, it's one of the first movies to give us the bullets and bombs' point-of-view, from the planes right into the ships and hangars.

When the explosions are erupting one after another, tracers are tearing up the ground, and one great ship after another is blowing up and rolling over as waves of Japanese planes rip up the napping Pacific Fleet, the movie really works. You see the dimensions of the bone-headed military incompetence, as warships are tied together in the middle of the harbor, unable to fight, move or flee. Like Titanic, but unlike Saving Private Ryan, the gore is softened -- this movie is rated PG-13. A lot of gauzy, fast-framed hospital scenes avoid gaping wounds and severed limbs. But Pearl Harbor does capture the mayhem, suffering, terror and horrific sense of being trapped in a burning, sinking battleship.

The actual attack -- the movie within the movie -- is fast, furious, dramatic and entertaining. Too bad it takes so long to get to it. It does save the movie, however.

Otherwise, it's pompous and heavy-handed, from it's golden opening scenes to the gaseous voice-over narration at the conclusion. We hear grim and prescient declarations from Japanese military officials, and a non-stop symphony of choruses and angel choirs to remind us every few moments that what we are seeing is important and that everything changed after Dec. 7, l941. This Pearl Harbor is so busy signalling its significance that it's like being trapped in high school history class.

Jon Voight reverentially plays Franklin D. Roosevelt, who seems as stunned as everyone else in the movie by almost everything that's happening. Cuba Gooding plays Dorie Miller, a black cook on board a U.S. ship who grabs a machine gun and becomes one of the first Americans to fight back. Gooding does a decent enough job, but his only purpose seems to be injecting a faint note of reality into a story that turns the pre-war United States into scenes from Norman Rockwell.

To further muddy matters, the movie adds a sub-plot involving Doolittle's Raiders, the U.S. Army Air unit that first bombed Tokyo. That story is riveting; the pilots were on a virtual suicide run, since the bombers they flew couldn't carry enough fuel to return to safe waters, forcing them to ditch over China. But the saga feels like an afterthought in this movie, a strained vehicle for keeping our hunky fly-boys in the plot beyond all reason. The battle at Midway was really the Navy's payback for Pearl Harbor, and the turning point in the Pacific conflict.

Unlike Saving Private Ryan and Titanic, both of which went to extraordinary lengths to be historically accurate, this movie wanders far from the truth. Military historians say the actual battle was very different from that portrayed here -- shorter, more geographically limited, involving fewer planes, buildings and civilians.

One interesting aspect: it's shocking to see the primitive technology just 50 years ago. One reason Pearl Harbor was attacked so successfully is that the U.S. Navy couldn't find a trace of the vast Japanese Naval Task Force that crept 4,000 miles across the ocean to carry out the attack. The fleet simply vanished into the Pacific for weeks, leaving military officials to guess at its location. Cryptographers hadn't yet broken the Japanese code -- which they would a few months later -- and which led to the great U.S. naval victory at Midway. One of the world's first radar stations had just been constructed in Hawaii, but Naval officials unaccountably ignored the flight formations it was picking up in the hours before the attack. Today, satellites and electronic surveillance would have made any such stealth impossible.

But the movie most suffers from the wooden performances of its stars, who seem overwhelmed by the burden of so portraying so much history. At least Voight's Roosevelt is supposed to be concious of history.

In Titanic, a film this ones tries hard to emulate, the characters were were warm and compelling, but the real star was the great ship itself, for nearly a century the embodiment of technological hubris and human fate, bravery and tragedy.

The attack that launched American involvement in World War II did shock the nation and the world, and forced a reluctant bystander into the gruesome global conflict. It was historically more central than the Titanic's sinking and, given the 3,000 dead it left in its wake, should have been as or more powerful a tale. But at the hands of this filmmaker, the story shrinks and sinks.

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Review: Pearl Harbor

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    interesting to note that the first shots between the US and Japan in world war two were not from the planes over Pearl, but from an American destroyer outside the harbor which sunk a Japanese submarine. This of course was ignored, as was massive radar detection.. oh well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 27, 2001 @09:08AM (#195163)

    This review/commentary [mises.org] of the movie suggests that in reality, "for at least a year before the attack, FDR pursued a policy of goading the Japanese to do it. He saw no other way to overwhelm American isolationist sentiment and get the country to enter the war against the Axis powers."

    Don't know whether that's accurate or a conspiracy theory, but I thought it was interesting enough to mention.

  • It appears that Pearl Harbor has been badly received [rottentomatoes.com] by critics. "Not since Battlefield Earth have critics gotten so creative when bashing a movie." ObCredit: BluesNews [bluesnews.com].

    Alex Bischoff
  • Well, what did you expect? It's Bruckheimer! I don't think I've ever seen a good movie he's touched.

    Remember the Titans (with Denzel Washington) was pretty good. It's the story about the integration of a Virginia high school (American style) football team in 1970 IIRC. There's definitely a few liberties with what really happened, but at least the movie didn't have random big explosions.

  • by joss (1346)
    No, it wasn't. Your report must have been flawed. The poles connection is true, but the enigma codes vital to decryption effort were captured by H.M.S. Petard from U559, this happened nearly two years before US entered the war.

    I believe a US crew did capture an enigma later in the war. Anyway, your post gives the lie to the "it's just entertainment, nobody believes it" argument.
  • To further muddy matters, the movie adds a sub-plot involving Doolittle's Raiders, the U.S. Army Air unit that first bombed Tokyo. That story is riveting; the pilots were on a virtual suicide run, since the bombers they flew couldn't carry enough fuel to return to safe waters, forcing them to ditch over China. But the saga feels like an afterthought in this movie, a strained vehicle for keeping our hunky fly-boys in the plot beyond all reason. The battle at Midway was really the Navy's payback for Pearl Harbor, and the turning point in the Pacific conflict.

    Actually, I'm glad they put this into the movie. A lot of people forget this raid and how incredibly important it was to us winning the war. The raid was not meant for any revenge or tactical advantage. It was flown for one purpose only, and that was to scare the Japanese. At the time, the Japanese had this idea that they were immune from American attack, that their Far East island position made them invincible, since we couldn't fly all the way across the Pacific to get them (and they pretty much had a stranglehold on the Far East otherwise). When Doolittle's fliers bombed Tokyo, it showed the Japanese that we meant business, forcing them to consider a two-front war and scaring the Japanese into a more defensive posture with regards to the Pacific. Indeed, the Japanese overeagerness to push the Americans out of the war and into defeat that led to the Battle at Midway was prompted in large part because the Japanese were worried that if they didn't strike quickly, they wouldn't be able to stop a true threat in the American Navy.

    While history remembers Pearl Harbor as the entry point of American into the war, most gloss over the immediate events after that and wait until late 1942/early 1943 to talk about active and positive American military involvement. The truth is that the American military was already prepared for war, and Doolittle's raid showed it.
  • The book "Aces Wild" chronicles the story of George Welch and the sound barrier. I wrote a review of this book here: http://www.netlabs.net/~richieb/aces.html [netlabs.net].

    Besides Welch and Taylor there was a flight of B-17s in the air that had arrived in Hawaii that Sunday morning. This flight was a subject of an early WW II movie called "Air Force".

    ...richie

  • They could run it as a double feature with the last half an hour of Titanic.
  • Actually, if you want to see the stories portrayed in Bay's Pearl Harbor, rent Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo [imdb.com] and watch it back to back with Tora! Tora! Tora! [imdb.com]... That way you'll get the Pearl Harbor attack, followed by the Doolittle raid with the B-25s.

    And finally, if you want to watch something resembling the historical accuracy of Bay's Pearl Harbor, go rent The Final Countdown [imdb.com]. :]

  • by bhendrickson (7671) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @10:09AM (#195186)
    You missed some of the older violations of history, like the "Richard III". King Richard is portrayed as an evil hunchback ruler who will do anything to serve his ambitions. That isn't true.

    So rant against whoever wrote that too, ok? I think his name was "Shakespeare" or something...

    Ben
  • U-571 is an absolute joke: American sailor's boarding a German U-boat to capture a Enigma cypher machine is how Hollywood tells the story. History, on the other hand, tells us that the first Enigma was captured by the British before the US even entered the war!

    Well, that's not the whole picture either. If I recall correctly, the Enigma was stolen by the Polish Intelligence Service and then given to the British.

    However, the Enigma machines used by the U-Boats were significantly different to the standard Enigma models, and thus remained unbroken until a Royal Navy ship caputred a U-Boat. You're absolutely correct, however - the Americans had absolutely *nothing* to do with the crucial cryptanalytic breakthroughs of the European war.

    Of course, the Americans did break the Japanese naval codes in the Pacific theater as well, before Pearl Harbor IIRC.

    Go you big red fire engine!

  • Alec Baldwin's a communist for saying that he'd leave the country if Bush got elected?

    Hell, the way things have been evolving since then, I'm wondering if he doesn't have the right idea...Bush's first 100 days are, to say the least, unimpressive. And the Democrats are so brain dead right now (gas price caps????? wtF!??!?) that it's unlikely they'll be able to help things much even if they control the Senate. So, I wouldn't blame Baldwin for leaving. It's a cop out on his part, and not particularly patriotic (he should stay here and fight that retard in the White House), but such a statement doesn't strike me as communist in particular.

    Of course, if you're one of those types who thought that Bill Clinton was a UN conspiracy to Take Our Guns[1], who believes (deep down to your core) that Liberals are out to deliberately destroy America's economy, and whose brains would spontaneously combust if someone ever desecrated a flag within 100 yards, then I can understand where you'd think that Baldwin is Communist (where "Communist" in this context really means "Vaguely offensive to my right-of-Augusto-Pinochet political, social and moral values," or more generally, "the opposite of Patriotic.")

    That having been said, I think I'm going to celebrate Memorial Day by doing something besides watching the latest Titanic. Like renting "Saving Private Ryan." There's already plenty of reasons for me not to watch this monstrosity of a film.

    [1] I know he wasn't exactly a friend of the Second Amendment. And, speaking as a gun owner, I can see at least a few bright sides to the Retard President. But come on...the UN is not going to send in troops to take individually owned handguns, rifles, "assault rifles" or shotguns away from American citizens anytime soon. With all the paranoia on the side of the pro-second-amendment crowd, it's no wonder that the left thinks that gun owners are criminally insane.

    ObJectBridge [sourceforge.net] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.

  • At Hickam AFB near Honolulu, HI, the spalling caused by strafing runs during the attack has been preserved on a number of buildings still standing on the base.

    It's an eerie feeling going to work in a building covered by pockmarks, and remembering exactly what that meant. Even more disturbing is noting that more than a dozen men died in the room in which I worked.
  • Well the Japanese WERE the bad guys, I mean it was a sneak attack after all.
    ...
    That's only because the japanese lost. If the yankees had lost, the japanese would have been the good guys who would have liberated Asia from the grip of the whites.
    Somehow I doubt any Japanese person would go to the movie and NOT expect to be portrayed as a bad guy. Sort of like going to a politically correct western movie about what the U.S. did to native Americans - could you expect the "white man" not to be the bad guy? But of course things are differently now days - we ARE politically correct (too much so if you ask me) and we admit that we made mistakes. The Japanese too are quite different in some respects, being a people known for their politeness and being rather non violent.
    It's interesting... Some of my friends are Italian diplomats, and they are puzzled about the proud nationalism displayed here. They were born just after the war, and the allied-controlled postware governments brainwashed them into believing that nationalism is a bad thing...

    --

  • by Detritus (11846) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @08:45AM (#195197) Homepage
    It's an old movie, but I still think it is the best movie about the attack on Pearl Harbor. It looks at the event from both the American and Japanese point of view.

    If you are interested in history, read some of Gordon Prange's books on Pearl Harbor, such as "At Dawn We Slept". The U.S. knew that war was imminent, but we didn't know where and when it would start.

  • by FPhlyer (14433) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @08:57AM (#195205) Homepage
    The movie had me until the two main characters managed to get thier planes in the air during the attack on Pearl... something that never happened in reality. We never got a plane off the ground. It pisses me off that these two fictional characters are getting the credit for shooting down seven Zeros that were actually shot down by real, live, breathing men in uniform... real heros. It pisses me off that this corps of fictional Army pilots also get credited for the attack on Tokyo by the real Dolittle Raiders, some of whom were executed after being captured by that Japanese. They didn't even have the decency to find the name of the real copilot who flew with James Dolittle... he gets credited only as "Dolittle Copilot". At least they did have the character of Doris "Dorie" Miller, a real hero of Pearl Harbor... The black cook who took to the 50 cal in the attack... but they barely followed his character, inserting him in as though he were out of place and not giving him the credit for all that he really did. I spent nine years in the Navy... I've been to the Arizona Memorial. All I have to say about this film is: It pissed me off.
  • by Lumpish Scholar (17107) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @11:53AM (#195209) Homepage Journal
    One member of our group (we saw it on Saturday), during the attack scene, was about to ask the gentleman behind her to please shut up already until she realized what he was saying:

    "Yes, that's how they came in."

    "Yes, that's just the way it looked."

    "No, they didn't hit that."

    "Yes, I remember that."

    The rest of us didn't hear this story until dinner. I wish we could have asked the vet how he felt about the movie.
  • by rde (17364) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @09:13AM (#195211)
    If you're going to insist on putting spoilers in, you're going to ruin it for those of us who haven't seen it. I want to find out for myself whether the japanese end up attacking.
    Waitaminnit... Michael Bay? Didn't he direct Armageddon? With Jerry Bruckheimer producing? Spoil all you like. No way am I going to watch it.
  • Personally, the intro fighting in SPR bugged the crap out of me. It was cinematography with a blunt instrument.
    I enjoyed The Thin Red Line far better than SPR.
  • Aw dude, that's so 80's... ;)
  • But I already know what happens: we get bombed!
    (This is my only qualm about war movies. Sorry, I have other qualms too, but Vonnegut better addresses them in his intro to Slaughterhouse Five. Read the book.)
  • by delysid-x (18948) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @10:06AM (#195219)
    183 minutes? That's over 3 hours! They should release an abridged version with just the part where the US gets the crap blown out of them, that's all people want to see anyway.
  • not very hard, as this is not the first article he's done it in, more like the llth.

    err, 11th. :)
  • 1. Catch a matinee. Like pretty much any other movie (with the exception of Shrek and The Dish), don't pay full price for the crap that Hollywood stuffs down our throats. It's just not worth it.

    2. If the movie starts at 2pm, walk into the theater at about 3:20 for the start of the battle. Trust me, you're not missing much before that part, and the battle is really quite incredible. For the next 55 minutes or so of the battle, you should get your money's worth. The bombing of Tokyo isn't as exciting, and Baldwin's portrayal of Doolittle is cliched and, frankly, stupid. Doolittle was a smart man, and Bay's made him look like a melodramatic ass.

    As far as love stories intertwined with historical tragedies go, Titanic was a better movie. Much better.

    --Bernie
  • If you want historicity, read a good book on the subject or watch Tora Tora Tora. If you want an excellent impressionistic, reasonably accurate portrayal of how it felt to be involved in that attack, watch Pearl Harbor. The visuals are absolutely breathtaking from the first torpedo hit. Skip the first hour of the movie...it's strictly there to broaden the interest in the film beyond military history and aviation buffs. The way the attack, and the aftermath, were presented was indeed stunning.

    I mean, you don't go see a Michael Bay flick to get historicity. You go to get spectacle. Pearl Harbor delivers on the spectacle.

    The love story IS pretty hackneyed, though...
  • There is a underlying truth here tho. World War II, pacific theater is inherintly a Psychalogical War. Pearl Harbor itself was meant as a blow to the American Moral. Despite what a few revisionist historians think, before Pearl Harbor, no Japanese thought that America was simple going to roll over. The size of the battle put them into a bit of a delusion (as did their successes with the Langly, Singapore, Phillapenes, etc). Anyways, I stray from the point.

    Dolittle's raid is critically important because it knocked the Japanese command off of their high perch, and made it so that they tried to both continue their downward path (into australia) and to finish up a ring of defensive islands. Corel Sea blocked the advance into Australia, and Midway blocked the defensive Island pass.

    Important note, both of these battles were fought without any new equipment at all. Both of them in terms of the greater land wars were realitivly small battles. (A million people died in a single battle (Stalingrad) in Russia.

    Once America entered the war, they built up for the more conventional war in Europe, and then started to focus on Japan.

    When the tatics that had developed in Europse started to be applied in Japan, it was even more devestating. Make no mistake, Japan was defeated and out of the war in 1944. They refused to surrender, even when most of their cities had burned to the ground, they fought on.

    Have you ever looked at the plans for Olympic etc? (Japanese D-Day style). Really not pretty. Rather then go ahead with that, they decided to use a nucular bomb. Bear in mind Tokyo had already been burned to the ground in a attack that was far more devistating. It was a pure pych shock that ended the war. I for one, am very glad not to have had to invade Japan.
  • THis was actually a very good and accurate review by Katz (/me waits for all the Katz bashers to jump on the bandwagon).

    I totally have to agree with you there. IMHO, Katz is generally a raving idiot [jinwicked.com] with an amazing knack for restating and restating the obvious, but this time, he's told me everything I wanted to know. I've read a few reviews of this movie, all written by people who review movies for a living, but this was the best one I'd read. Nice job to Captain K.
  • Alec Baldwin's a communist for saying that he'd leave the country if Bush got elected?

    No.. you said that... i didnt' say anything like that.

    His Communism, his hatred of military members, his selective support of the Bill of Rights, and his comment that he would leave the country if Bush was elected - while all go to the root that he is a liar, a hypocrite, inconsistent, and basically an asshole - are all independant comments about the man. Not one of those truths is causal to any of the other truths.

    If anything.. him being a selfish, wife-beating asshole who cares only to save his public persona, and cares little for anything or anyone besides him would be the cause of all the facts i listed in this post and my previous post.

    Your comments about Bill Clinton are a red herring.. don't change the fucking subject.

    My comments that he is communist fall back on the fact that he is actively supportive of near total confiscation of the money made by people to be given to others in the society - he is not a friend of private property, but believes that the Federal government ought to be able to take care of the gerneal populus with more compassion and fairness than the open market and individual responsibility and rugged individualism.

    Jesus - he actively called for the execution and murder of a member of congress and his family... and you'd call me a candiate of criminal insanity because i own a fucking gun?

    but since my beilef is in the minorty (Bush really lost and the Congress is lead by liberals), we should just shut the fucking minority view up... lets call it political correctness.. or lets say that they want to starve kids... or maybe say that they want to poison people with arsnic... yeah yeah.. that's a good idea.
  • Any movie about the pissant bombing of Pearl Harbor should also show the amazing "punishment" that we doled out to the Japanese. Millions of innocent civilians getting fried to a crisp. It pretty much dwarfs what little the Japanese were able to do to our Hawaiin base.

    First of all, your numbers are wrong. About 200,000 Japanese died in the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Predicted casualties in the case of an invasion of the Japanese "home islands" were in the millions (for each side).

    Yes, the bomb killed lots of people, but many more would have died if it had not been used.Two other facts you don't often hear:

    Before the bombing of Hiroshima, the US dropped leaflets warning citizens that the city would be destroyed, and telling them to evacuate.

    Even though there were three days between the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese did not surrender during this interval. Even after the second nuclear bombing, the Japanese war council wanted to continue the war. They were overruled by the emperor. Most people simply don't understand how committed and determined the Japanese were. You have to study battles like Iwo Jima and Okinawa to really understand the WWII Japanese psyche. They were incredibly ferocious warriors, and it took the seemingly-magical powers of the atomic bomb to make them surrender.

    Oh, and does it show the US concentration camps for US citizens that happened to be of Japanese descent?

    Oh, fuck off. The film didn't show the American treatment of Japanese-Americans (which was a shameful atrocity), but it also didn't show the Japanese treatment of foreign nations (which was far, far worse--instead of concentration camps, try prison camps with forced labor and high death rates among prisoners). The movie was already 3 hours long, and none of that was relevant to Pearl Habor, which, if you didn't notice, was the title of the movie.

    I am alive today because the Americans used nuclear weapons on the Japanese in WWII. My grandfather served in the occupation forces in Japan. If the bomb had not been used, he would have been in the invasion force, where casualties were expected to hit the 50% mark.

    I was going to flame you for posting your ignorant drivel that dishonors the memories of the men and women who died for your freedom. Then I realized you probably just don't know the truth, and that it's not really your fault. This history is unfortunately not taught in American schools anymore (or so it would seem--I'm not American, so I don't know).

    As a final note, I haven't yet seen this movie. Long before it was released, I could have told you Jon Katz would review it negatively, simply because of the subject matter. Consequently, I have no way of knowing if his review is accurate or not. I would appreciate a review from someone less hostile to American patriotism (and less whiney) before I make a decision as to whether I should see the movie.
  • True political correctness means being morally responsible to all sides involved, not modifying the truth to accommodate popular regional tastes. If the movie needed editing for the Japanese audience, a politically-correct person just has to wonder how accurate/responsible the American cut is.

    BTW, to me, there's no such thing as being too politically correct. The fact that the term has been co-opted by the anti-establishment media, and twisted to mean "lacking integrity for the consumer's sake" is a shame. Not offending people without reason is just common courtesy.

    < tofuhead >
    --

  • AvWeb ran a story about the pilot that did the aerial cinematography [avweb.com] in Pearl Harbor (evidently not everything was CGI). According to the article they managed to round up one authentic Zero and one replica for the filming. One of the more interesting factoids from the article was that it's actually cheaper to film using actual planes wherever possible than it is to do it as CGI.


    -rpl

  • the bombing of pearl harbor was, even though katz rails the movie for it, one of the defining moments of us history. if not for pearl harbor, the war would've gone very differently for all parties involved, as the united states would not have joined until later.

    now, i do not agree with the film's message of lovey doviness, in lieu of actual history, but it's still important to show it. we can't forget our history.

    after all, how touching would that scene of peace had been, had pearl harbor never had happened? and how much more touching will it be, to a new generation of idiotic kids who will never understand pearl harbor, because they were able to see ben affleck portray it?

    you want movies of peace, but for that, you have to have movies of war. i would like movies that treat important movies as important, instead of fodder for affleck. you have to deal with that, because there's no point in actually having wars, unless people remember them.
  • In peace, there was one fatal accident in more than forty years of nuclear energy use, with thirty people dying of the radiation and four others dying later of cancer (source: "Science" magazine, April 20, 2001, vol. 292, number 5516, page 420, "Nuclear Radiation: Living in the Shadow of Chornobyl", by Richard Stone and others).

    Which ignores the enormous excess of cancer rates surrounding many nuclear installations. In this village of 250 people alone four people have died of cancer in three years; we have plutonium and americium dust blowing in from the sand in the bay during the summer - and no, that's not 'natural' plutonium.

    It also ignores the many hundreds of people who have died of cancer in Ukraine and Byeloruss over the past couple of decades. The trick which allows people to draw up these entirely phony statistics is that it's impossible to prove that any single cancer has been caused by nuclear waste. That may be true, but the fact that a great many nuclear installations - certainly the majority of those in Britain - have associated cancer 'hot spots' proves that some are.

    Furthermore, no technology is 'safe' where the sites on which it is uses remain contaminated for many thousands of years. No civilisation, no human institution, has ever lasted more than a very few thousand years, and we've no reason to believe that our present civilisation will. After the money to pay the guards has run out, how are we to keep people away from nuclear waste?

    This is just another technology which mortgages the future - we get energy now, and our children pay for it for a hundred generations.

  • Yeah, but George Orwell shouldn't talk. I've read 1984, and trust me, the real 1984 was almost NOTHING like that.
  • s there a lot of revisionist history going on in this one? I'm not going to spend a single penny on it, but it would be interesting to know.

    I don't know, but after U 571 and Saving Private Ryan, it wouldn't surprise me if the film was another pro US self contratulatory backslapping session, passing itself off as historical and pissing off a lot of people who know it to be severely factually incorrrect.

    Given the curent relationship of the rest of the world and the US right now, I'm surprised someone's decided to show this in Australian cinemas, and predict that locally, it will die a short death.

  • You make it sound like they dont care if it is easy for others to look at and understand their "vast knowledge blah blah blah"

    Erm, blah blah blah? "Vast knowledge" was the only thing I mentioned. "their efforts to make things easier " would generally seem to imply that they are making efforts to make things easier.

    Have you ever seen instructions on "how to install linux"

    Yes, many times. Insttructions labelled how to install Linux which go through the processes of installing one or more Linux flavors (which are also sometimes called "linuxes' :). Try linux.com for some examples of this common useage. Or kernel.org URL, for that matter. Or the front page of Slashdot, tho obviously you haven't been paying much attention there.

    WTF are you talking about?

    Erm the "Redmond" statement? Which you repeat again above.

    You sir, are a fucking idiot.
  • some how we went from them not wanting any one to be a mechanic, to them trying to make it easy?

    That's not a sentence, but I guess what you're trying to say. And no `we' didn't. I talked about Open Source developers often failing to realize that most people do not know or care about the internals of the machine, to you ranting that the big evil coporation who eat orphans take away that control, to me saying to the corporations do not take away that control.

    get mislead to what it means?

    Er, no. If the aritcle is titled `how to Install Linux' and says in its into `in this case, we'll be using Red hat', I don't find it misleading at all. Do you get misled by articles which talk about Linux VS Windows web server performance, rather than Linux + GNU + BSD + Apache + a thousand other packages? No, because using the term `Linux' has become synonymous with Linux kernel based OSs.

    I said nothing about what you use at your work.

    Work is a verb, and occasionaly a noun. My wording "in my day to day work" indicated I meant it in the common sense - as a verb. You're working `at your work' means you don't understand English. Which isn't exactly news.

    Next time, post with your account, bitch. :-) Have nice day.
  • You didnt talk for shit,
    That's not a sentence either (and you call *me* a redneck), :-) but I'll spell it out for you.

    I talked about Open Source developers often failing to realize that most people do not know or care about the internals of the machine
    =
    "Mechanics shouldn't be the only people to drive cars..."

    you ranting that the big evil corporations who eat orphans take away that control
    =
    "On the other hand, big business and corporations try to prevent any one from being a mechanic."

    Simple, isnt it?
    Yes, and its exactly what I posted. You don't quite seem to undertsand it though. That's okay, you seem a little simple yourself.

    Er, no. If the article is titled `how to Install Linux'
    Yeah but the title we are talking about is not "How to install linux, in this case we will use Redhat Linux", it was just plain "how to install linux".

    Yes, exactly, you stupid fuck. I have never talked about an article entitled "How to install linux, in this case we will use Redhat Linux", I have spoken about an article entitled how to install linux" which mentions in its introduction that it will be Red Hat based. Read what I write before you respond.

    if they are comparing Linux with Apache and Windows with IIS, then they are comparing apples and oranges

    In your opinion. But based on the fact that most comparisions are of the Windows + IIS to Linux + Apache type, most people would disagree. This is good thing, as you are an idiot.

    Apache is more then likely going to communicate and use the kernel and less of any additional changes that redhat Debian or any other distribution would make.

    Complete sentences. Please. You can if you try. I believe in you.

    I have a better example of what is misleading.

    I do too, there was this time at band camp, where...wait! That doesn't have anything whatsoever to do with this agument at all!

    Have you tried every distribution's (or in your words "Linux kernel based OS"'s) installer before,

    No, and my statement is not misleading. I have tried every distribution with an installer considered remotely usable by just about everyone. Gregs I Wrote This in My Back Yard Linux distro is of no concern to me. Find me a distro you consider easy that I haven't tried.

    since you tried one or a few then they must all be the same?


    One or two? Linux is my career. I've tried about fifteen distributions of Linux and more of other Unix-like OSs.

    You certianly know how to dance around an issue, I'll give you that.

    What? I said work, you made a mistake and thought I meant `workplace'. Admit it.

    WTF does this have to do with me calling you a red(mond)-neck?

    Its a response to you telling me that of course you didn't know what I used in my workplace. I illustrated the difference between work (verb) and workplace (noun).

    And you still keep calling me a Red(mond) (ba boom ching!) neck despite the fact you know I don't flatly prefer Windows to Linux.

    Be a man. Use your account.
  • And what I said is just slang for "you were not talking about anything".

    It's not common slang, either in the world or in most popular US culture, apart from stuff that refences people that chew tobacco. Its a double negative that makes little sense.

    You may have thought "that mechanics dont often dont realize", but what you ended up saying is "mechanics should not be the only ones to drive cars".

    Its an allegory. Deal with it.

    That has a more open meaning, to which leaves open the reasonable question: "Well who makes the decision to allow non-mechanics to drive cars?".

    The people designing the cars. I.e., mechanics (or vehicle engineers). Its not much of question since the answer is obvious.

    Hahahah. But my *statement* was that "big business and corporations dont want any one to be a mechanic". This statement was not a response to your statement, my response was given above this ("mechanics are not trying to prevent...").

    Or perhaps you responded many times. I'll respond to what you call your own response: mechanics do prevent ordinary joes from driving, in the case of computers. Ever noticed how a Linux desktop often seems to sort apps based on toolkit religion rather than whaty they actually do?

    This is not an art gallery, where people look at your artwork and have to guess what meaning you are trying to convey.

    Its a very basic allegory. Deal with it. As opposed to me `not saying shit', which is double negative. This is not a triler park, where people hear your nonsensical concept of `slang'.

    Obviously you have diffrent standards to what is misleading.

    I have common standards. People ask others `how to I install Linux'. Its reasonable to respond with an article called `How to Install Linux'. Its practical that you don't show someone how to install three hundred distributions. Its also clever that you tell them that there's others out there.

    Their silly like that.
    Can i borrow their 'silly' some time? :-)

    WTF does bootcamp have to do with the use of the word linux as being misleading?

    No, it was a response to your OTT rant about MS counting bug reports.

    Since there are so many, how about if you name these few, instead of talking out your ass.

    Christ, I know the major distros and I hope you would if you're so confident in your opinions. If you really want me to list

    Red Hat 5.0 - 7.1
    Mandrake 5.3 - 8.0
    Debian 2.0 - current unstable
    Progeny 1.0
    Stormix 1.0
    Suse 6.x and 7.x
    Various incarnations of e-smith
    SGI Linux, which I'm using now
    Astaro Security Linux
    Various Turbo releases.

    How often do you try them? Every time a new version comes out, or do you wait a couple of versions.

    I try and stay current, because people ask me questions about current distros, and I'm often paid to review new releases. My work also takes me to places with all sorts of odd distros. Today I dealt with Debian, SGI, Red Hat, and SuSE. They're generally updated to the current or second from current release for security reasons.

    I'll admit it, even though it has nothing to do with what we are talking about.

    Good, because you were making such as fuss about my language dancing skills.

    Fine, you had your show and tell time.

    No, I responded to your hilarious dance act insult.

    Now have a seat, I will not ask again what this has to do with me calling you a red(mond)-neck.

    You know what it does. Though evidently you were trolling rather than expressing a genuinely held opinion.

    Wow, you really know how to speak generally. Lets be a little more specific. When do you prefer Linux and when do you prefer Windows?

    I like to think I choose the best tool for the job. Red Hat, SGI or e-smith are maintainable and useable . I wouldn't install Linux on any family members computers, because those darn mechanics keep designing for other mechanics, though they are supposedly aiming for Joe Driver. Hence my point.

    After all the only reason I did it was to get you ticked off, and aparently it does offend you. Its all we have been talking about for a while now, after all. Its like calling someone a Gay, they get all offended.

    Especially with a capitial G. I hang around with with gay people and haven't got offended on the odd occasiona I've beem mistakenly assumed to be gay, judging by the company I keep. I do however get offended when someone insults me, and stupid people generally use the term `gay' as an insult. Likewise, trolls on Slashdot seem to use `red(mond_ neck' as an insult. I'm trying to have an argument with you. You responded by being a child. Grow up.

    And finally whats in an account? Do I need an account to talk to you?

    You need an account to proove you're someone who stands by your opinions and actually believes what you say, rather than an idiot who trolls because they've got nothing better to do.

  • Okay, a lot of people note that Pearl Harbor is NOT historically accurate. What movies are historically accurate? I heard Tora (good classic war movie) is pretty accurate. Any others?

    Thank you in advance for replies :).

  • From what I've read, the movie is actually being shown in Japan, but it has been altered because "it made the Japanese look like bad guys."

    Is there a lot of revisionist history going on in this one? I'm not going to spend a single penny on it, but it would be interesting to know.
  • by Ender Ryan (79406) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @09:15PM (#195287) Journal
    What is with all the conspiracy theories? Jesus people, learn to just STFU now and then. Most of the posts modded up to 4/5 are complete bullshit, wacked out conspiracy theories being told by people who don't even know anyone who was in the war, while people who DO know war veterans and have heard first hand accounts of what when on are being ignored.

    WTF? I like conspiracy theories as much as anyone, but gimme a fucking break, listen to the people who actually know what they are talking about.

  • by nihilogos (87025) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @10:01AM (#195293)
    Ah,I see a great career for you in a sortsof journalism with such skills in ignoring context. The into paragraph is written as a caricature of the simple, innocent all-american folk which existed before they were so rudely awakened by bombs in Hawaii. And besides, do I complain at all the neighbors and centers I have to look at on the net every day?
  • by wannabe (90895) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @09:02AM (#195297)
    "richly-imagined imagination"

    With descriptors like that, both Katz and whomever taught him should be dragged into the literary streets and flogged with a thesaurus.

    Or better yet have obviously-heavy heavy things dropped on them.
  • by Christopher Biow (92137) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @09:08AM (#195299)
    One reason Pearl Harbor was attacked so successfully is that the U.S. Navy couldn't find a trace of the vast Japanese Naval Task Force that crept 4,000 miles across the ocean to carry out the attack. The fleet simply vanished into the Pacific for weeks, leaving military officials to guess at it's location. Today, satellites and electronic surveillance would have much any such stealth impossible.

    The details have changed, but entire carrier battle groups still can and do "lose" themselves at sea. For all the wonderful air, satellite, and ground-based surveillance we have today, the challenge of tracking and identifying ships and aircraft at sea remains a daunting one. Oceans are big. It's hard to appreciate just how difficult a task it is until you've stood watch as Force Over the Horizon Targeting Coordinator (FOTC) for a battle group. The fog clears, and you realize that no matter how perfectly they may have been executing Soviet battle tactics and formation, the "Orange" (exercise enemy) task force that you just had half the air wing WASEX (blow away) was really an Icelandic fishing fleet. [True story, Northern Wedding '89]. But then you take comfort in realizing that the neither the Orange fleet nor the Red (real) Bear-D's have found you, either, as you approach the relative safety of the Vestfjord.

    Nor is it all that hard to sneak aircraft past radar. For just one example, send 'em through in welded-wing formation, in the dark, on the expected track of a commercial flight, and there's a very good chance you'll get in and out before anyone wakes up.

  • The filthy critic is just foul-mouthed rather than witty. If you want funny, check out Mr. Cranky [mrcranky.com]. His Pearl Harbor review is here [mrcranky.com].
  • My father was in London during the Blitz, and was shot at by the Japanese in India and Burma.

    That said, he will be the first to admit that many of the Germans were normal people caught up in a war, just on the wrong side.

    I recently watched "The Longest Day" with my seven year old. He asked me who the bad guys were. I tried as best to explain that the bad guys were the Nazis, not the Wermacht or the Luftwaffe.

    Stand Fast,

  • I'd be more interested in seeing the Japanese reaction to Nanking than Hiroshima. You know, that Chinese city where the Japanese let loose their soldiers like a Mongol horde and tried to rape every woman they could find?

    I'd also be interested in seeing their reaction to all the bayonetted boys and raped women in the Phillipines, which they labelled the "Southern Resource Area".

    If I was a Jew, I'd most fear being occupied by Nazis. If I was from any other group, I'd prefer being conquered by the Nazis to being conquered by the Imperial Japanese.

    Thanks to the Jews, we all remember the Nazi's war crimes. But there's no equivalent to the Jews for the Pacific conflict. Certainly Japan has never recognized it's responsibility for the war in the same way that Germany has.

    So you won't hear any complaining about Hiroshima from me. After what the Japanese did to civilians all across Asia, they should consider themselves lucky that we only nuked their cities one at a time.

    P.S. More people died in the conventional bombings of Tokyo and Dresden than died at Hiroshima. And 10 times more would have died in any conventional invasion of Japan. Remember, we're talking about people that had to be nuked twice to get the point.

  • Yeah, before they had CGI, they used actual Zeros for this one, really cool!

    Actually, the producers of Tora! Tora! Tora! did no such thing. Crafting the film in the late Sixties (a quarter-century and then some after Pearl Harbor), there was a rather distinct lack of authentic Japanese military hardware from that time period (recall Japan's near-total disarmament following World War II).

    Instead, the production crew modified US training planes to appear as Japanese Zeros in the film. I'd suggest listening to the audio commentary on this truly remarkable DVD :)

  • People might be interested to know that when I saw Pearl Harbor on opening night at an AMC theater, that new Lord Of The Rings trailer discussed on /. a few days ago was shown. Might be worth the ticket price. :-)

    The movie itself was a lot like Saving Private Ryan, in that the big battle scene was an excellent way of showing how horrifying war can be but the rest of the movie was fairly mediocre. One other problem I had as I watched it was the bizarre and erratic combination of true historical references and total fiction. A handful of characters in the movie were real people, a handful were composites of real people, but it was never clear which those were. Same goes for a lot of events; it's impossible to tell what really happened and what didn't, but the very existence of true events in the movie leaves one predisposed to find it all accurate. Like some others have commented, I find that troubling, especially because in this day and age lots of parents take their kids to such movies because they are "educational."

    Read a book, damnit. :-)

  • there was a rather distinct lack of authentic Japanese military hardware from that time period

    That lack of Japanese military hardware has, of course, increased over the years. Ten years ago, there was just one Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" in flying condition in the whole world, of all the 10449 units that were built. I do not know if that one is still capable of flight, the count may be down to zero.

    Computer graphics have remedied this lack of actual hardware, so this year's "Pearl Harbor" may be somewhat more accurate in the details in the planes, but I fear the film makers might exagerate in the equipment capabilities in order to make more "dynamic" scenes. I haven't yet seen this film, but airplanes in movies often have a much faster climb rate than in the real world. However, when they crash, it all happens in slow motion. That's Hollwood...

  • I'm quite certain that several people died from the radiation poisoning

    What do you mean you are "quite" certain? I'm "quite" certain several people died from choking after swallowing their dentures in the last forty years. Shall we outlaw dental work as a result of that? Several people died from heart attacks while playing golf in the last forty years. Shall we outlaw golf? Several people died from stepping on a fallen soap bar while bathing on the last forty years. Shall we outlaw baths? Several people died in church services in the last forty years. Shall we outlaw churches?

    Maybe someone died while moderating a Slashdot post in the last forty years. Shall we outlaw Slashdot moderation?

  • by mangu (126918) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @01:10PM (#195329)
    Isotope separation and bulk transmutation have given us little more than a huge pile of insanely dangerous radioactive waste and a lot of dead bodies.

    In war, nuclear weapons accounted for about 0.5% of all the victims of WWII.

    In peace, there was one fatal accident in more than forty years of nuclear energy use, with thirty people dying of the radiation and four others dying later of cancer (source: "Science" magazine, April 20, 2001, vol. 292, number 5516, page 420, "Nuclear Radiation: Living in the Shadow of Chornobyl", by Richard Stone and others). There are a number of other fatal accidents in the nuclear weapons research, whose death count is unclear due to military secrecy, but I would count those as "war", not "peace", victims.

    Now, which human activity is as safe as the peaceful use of nuclear power? One, just one, fatal accident with thirty four dead in the course of forty years certainly is not "a lot of dead bodies".

  • by mangu (126918) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @03:25PM (#195330)
    Well, I cited the actual scientific paper from which I got my figures to show that I wasn't mentioning the IMMEDIATE aftermath toll. The Science article I mention presents the actual death toll AFTER FIFTEEN YEARS.

    That is, fifteen years after the Chornobyl accident, there are just FOUR confirmed deaths of cancer from radiation exposure. And we are talking about the most closely monitored population in human history.

  • is computer game-playing teaching people that unless things are exiting, explosive, with people dying, a movie is boring?

    that's what i read from the review.

    my dad flew in wwii, mostly to meet girls. and he met a lot.

    his mom was very down to earth, very homey, always baking bread and keepig the house clean. it really was a simpler time.

    i hope that one day humanity learns to survive without the need to kill or blow things up for excitement, and two people can look into each other's eyes, with a smile and anticipation, without that being "boring" to the viewer.




    Treatment, not tyranny. End the drug war and free our American POWs.
  • Ah good. I was hoping someone would mention Tora! Tora! Tora! :).

    Seems to me that after watching Tora! Tora! Tora!, there's really no reason to watch Pearl Harbor. With both Japanese and US historians developing the movie, you're not going to find a more accurate account of that battle.

  • He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past. - George Orwell, "1984", 1948

    I've never seen a place where this quote is more appropriate. Yes, *we* know that the films are historically innacurate, but say 20 years from now, or 50 years from now, will common people go to history books, or something that is *EASY* for them to watch. It can almost be said that Hollywood is subconciously rewritting history.
  • obviously we are not all living in pods right now.

    How do you know ?

  • by fleener (140714) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @08:47AM (#195351)
    It's a predictable paint-by-numbers Hollywood flick that relies on the musical score to pretend it's an epic. To count the yawns, flaws and laughable moments would take days. Save yourself the misery and watch Shrek again.
  • Yep, Tora! Tora! Tora! is one of the good ones. The special effects for that one were truly amazing, considering they didn't have computer effects at that time.
    --
  • by sedawkgrep (142682) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @11:28AM (#195355)
    Pearl Harbor did not justify really justify any retaliatory action from the US during the war. However, comparing the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in any way to this is completely misguided.

    War is ugly, and a dirty business to be sure. It shouldn't be left to be fought soldier to soldier. It shouldn't be detached from the lives of the populous. If the general public cannot see the ugliness and brutality, then the politicians [spoken: largely non-military] WHO MAKE WAR will be more likely to pursue aggressive movements, simply because they themselves haven't seen it, or been directly affected by it. EVERYONE SHOULD FEAR WAR. The US hasn't been attacked at its borders or had war in its lands for a really long time. At least long enough that nobody alive today has seen it. :-) This is quite unlike most of the rest of the world, where, especially during WWII, battles were fought in city streets and the general public was witness to it firsthand.

    I am too tired to write about why I feel that the nuclear bombings of Japan saved so many lives. The truth IMHO is simply that Japan was fully committed to Asian and Pacific domination, even after the fall of the Axis powers.

    The war in europe ended on May 8, 1945. V-E day (Victory in Europe) is what it is referred to now. V-J day (Victory over Japan) didn't occur until August 15. Yes, war wtih Japan continued for just over three months. In desperation you had Japanese using Kamikaze tactics, inflicting tremendous casualties on US troops and resources. It was probably the consensus of the US govt to follow the european victory with a strong stroke against Japan in hopes of ending the war as quickly as possible. Consequences be damned. The US public probably felt great relief at the fall of the Nazis, but the war didn't end there. We [all non-Axis...] had fought the war with them for so long, that the public would've felt relief, when in fact there was more work to do. The govt and military wouldn't want anyone going soft on the idea of finishing the war outright. This is something that apparently happened with the extraction of Iraqis from Kuwait at the end of Desert Storm.

    I remember hearing somewhere that the initial target wasn't either Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but another city. I forget the name, but it was known as their spiritual center. It was considered that this was a poor choice for a target, due to the fact that it could seriously damage Japanese culture and even possibly prevent Japan from EVER agreeing to surrender. Even after the first bombing, Japan was unwilling to quit.

    I suppose in a simplistic way you could compare it to boxing. Each fighter would much rather get a knockout and end the punishment of both sides if they can. No boxer wants to go 12 rounds every time they step into the ring if they can help it.

    So no, I don't share your opinion that the Manhattan Project was such a terrible thing. It was an ugly but necessary piece of the war. It was designed for use against the Nazis, though, as they were the much larger concern for nearly the entire war.

    Also, accelerated nuclear research and has given us good things despite the bombs.

    sedawkgrep
  • Is the kind who insults people smarter then him

    Go read a history book, dumbass. The US did get a few plains off the ground. Keyword: few



    Rate me [picture-rate.com] on picture-rate.com
  • you can watch Midway.

    Rent these two and see four times the movie, at 10 times the quality, and half the price of a single first run ticket for Pearl.

    KFG
  • on Pearl aired last night to plug the video release of Tora! Tora! Tora!

    " Well of course it was a sneak attack, you don't exactly call the enemy up and let them know you're coming."

    " Maybe it's just my Southern upbringing but I was always told that you attack the enemy in greater numbers and when he isn't looking. The Japanese did a fantastic job militarily."

    The American military, right down to the lowest gob, was not so much stunned by the perfidy of the attack, they KNEW it was coming sometime somewhere, but rather by the increadible ease, competence and SKILL with which the Japanese pulled it off.

    The "infamy" was to sell the war to the public.

    KFG

    These comments were made by surviving *Americans* stationed on battleships during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • "history is written by the victors" - Hermann Goering

    For whatever the observation of the origination of the quote is worth.

    KFG
  • by kfg (145172) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @01:52PM (#195370)
    Dolittle's raid is one of the truely great stories of human acts in the time of war, for all the real effect it may or may not have had. However. . .

    It's inclusion in the movie was for one reason, and one reason *only*:

    To allow the Americans to be the 'winners' at the end of the film.

    KFG
  • In all fairness, I believe that the majority of the reviews I've read about this movie are completely reversed to what all was wrong with it. Yes, the love story thing was slow, the dialog weak. Still, the first 90 minutes had stuff happening and lead the audience into a wee bit of the pre-attack history. Had they polished up the dialog a bit, that lead in could have been a movie all alone, at a savings of $140 million of wasted CGI effect.

    The crime of this movie was that attack scene itself. With Bay's super fast cut editing, all the CGI effects were totally wasted. Stop and consider why Private Ryan's D-Day invasion was so powerful. The camera simply sat still for a while, allowing the audience to take in the scope of what all was happening. These were real people being mowed down before you, and you felt it.

    Bay managed to remove any emotional attachment you might feel towards the men aboard those ships. Halfway into the battle, it's just booms and bullets. You might as well just spin a kaliedoscope around really fast, you'll get the very same effect. If you haven't seen it yet, you're missing out on what amounts to a 40 minute strobe speeded collage of images that apparently had something to do with the US entry into WWII.

    If you like sparkly things that don't mean anything and won't have you feel anything, you will absolutely love that battle scene. If you're willing to suspend belief far enough to buy the notion that the Japanese military wasted tons of ordinance on civilian targets while enjoying a 98% hit ratio on the military ones, unless of course our heroes are inside one of them, you'll love this movie!

    Personally, I'm trying to look up some reference to why we don't tar and feather movie makers for desecration. I sure can't think of a good reason after seeing this crap.
  • "Well the only fact is that it is the US population that pays for these movies, hence they are written for that population"

    Actually, a large portion of a movie's profits come from other countries these days. There are 6 billion people in the world, and only 0.25 billion of them live in America.

    "What movie would be a blockbuster if the US was just a sidelined existance. A movie where the US troops screw up"

    You moron. Wasn't the U.S. defeat at Pearl Harbor a huge American screw-up? Americans were totally unprepared for that attack.. ignored obvious signs of approaching planes on radar... I can't believe you are idiotic enough to trash "Pearl Harbor" because it doesn't show U.S. troops screwing up/losing. The freaking movie is named after, and is based on, the most humiliating, incompetant, and psychologically damaging defeat in our memory.

    ...Unless maybe you count the Vietnam war. Yeah, not like we've made any movies about that war. Uh, dude. There have probably been 25 of those made.

    Also, for other random examples of U.S.-made war movies that show the U.S. in a bad light, how about "Dances With Wolves" (American slaughter of Native Americans" or "Three Kings" (Gulf War)?

    It's true, for a long time Hollywood turned out nothing but war movies glorifying the U.S. exclusively. But for the past 10-15 years or more, the trend has definitely been to the opposite.

    I mean... Even "Saving Private Ryan"... showed the US as the "good guys", but also showed lots of bad things about them too... the futile nature of the mission to save Pvt Ryan, Americans shooting Germans after they'd surrendered, cowardice in some American soldiers...

    http://www.bootyproject.org [bootyproject.org]
  • I don't know, but after U 571 and Saving Private Ryan, it wouldn't surprise me if the film was another pro US self contratulatory backslapping session, passing itself off as historical and pissing off a lot of people who know it to be severely factually incorrrect.

    First of all, I didn't see U571, but how could you say that about Saving Private Ryan? It showed a lot of bad things about the US, too... cowardly US soldiers (like the journalist guy who cowered in the stairs while his squadmate was getting stabbed), US soldiers shooting Germans after they'd surrendered, and... well just look at the main "quest" the protagonists were on... it turned out to be a stupid waste of many lives to save ONE SINGLE private, all for basically public relations purposes.

    And yes, it also showed heroic American soldiers. And yes, it showed the Americans winning and taking the beach. Well guess what? That did happen. So WTF pisses you off about it?

    Look, I hate movies that just blindly portray America as the hero too. But I have to totally disgree with your lumping of Saving Private Ryan into that category.

    http://www.bootyproject.org [bootyproject.org]
  • The US military does keep track of 'hostile' satellites, and is practised in faking them out.

    It's quite simple, actually, if you want to disappear.

    You alter course before such a satellite flies overhead, and after it disappears over the horizon, you change back to your original course and float away at flank speed.

    Satellites also have 'windows' -- or an amount of the earth that they can cover at any given time. And it is possible, altho' difficult, to jump between gaps in satellite coverage.

    Given that a carrier battle group can do at least 35 knots, that means if you lose them for an hour, you have 1225 square nautical miles which you have to scour, to look for them. The situation deteriorates rapidly from there, the longer that you can't find them.

    And that's letting alone that satellite intelligence can be mislead. The Argentinians did a very nice job of mucking our pictures in the Falklands. (Yes, the US was providing intel data to the UK).

    The Argentinian military would post when a US satellite would fly over an airbase; and before the flyby, a bunch of guys would run out with dirtmovers and make bomb craters. After the satellite was over the horizon, they'd bulldoze the earth off the runway, and launch airstrikes.

    The Brits kept wondering where these airstrikes were coming from, since satellite intelligence _clearly showed_ that they bombed the capable airfields into nonfunctionality!

  • When I read the title of your post, I thought you were asking a rhetorical question.

    And it could be that you are. I don't know of any movies that are specifically taught for historical accuracy as far as details go. Probably, there are movies that more or less capture the feeling of a historical event, but since even most trained historians don't agree on the details of what really happened at many times, how are moviemakers can sort out what happened? And why would they?

  • Since the entire economy of a modern nation is geared to produce the tools of war...

    Wow, where do you live--the Klingon homeworld?
  • I just saw "13 Days" yesterday and I was asking myself the very same question: To what extend is history rewritten or modified in order to be able to sell the movie to box offices.

    My conclusion is that 13 Days is a bad movie, but a good portrayal of the sequence of historic events. It didn't have all the excitement of the cuba crisis I was told about in highschool. It's not a box office biggie, allthough I think Kostner, aside from the southern accent which doesn't really fit him, does a modestly good acting job at times. The movie lasts about 2:20, but I think it could have been done in much less than that. Not that I was boored but at times you'd expecty the politcal conflict to keep building up. That doesn't happen because historic elements keep softening the tension, so presumeable, the filmbuddies tried to romantisize this epic without damaging the historical plot too much. Of course JFK is the great american hero in this one, but unlike all other great heroes, this one actually IS smart, he doesn't just look it.

    The other characters in this movie, aside from the president and his advisors, are so thin it's hard to keep watching at times. The Chroetsjov side doesn't get any attention in this movie, and maybe that's a choice to make, but it might have added some intersting elements. The whole movie is tangled into speculations which just don't bring enough adrenaline to say this is a good movie. Too many characters play too little parts to mean anything to the plot, so it's hard to sympathise with anyone else but JFK himself. The main character is the historic plot though, and I think they did everything to keep it from going off the track.. of course politics is politics, and things might have been a little different, but we'll never know.

    Anyway, I've had enough of historic war-movies for a while, I think Hollywood should look at something more creative to sell. Schindler's List is undoubteldy the greatest movie in that genre and it's going to be hard to beat that one. Certainly not with 13 days, and certainly not with Pearl Harbour, a typically semi-heroic American movie, for the american public, but with enough action sequences to lure the rest of the world in buying a ticket anyway.. well it might be entertaining, maybe..

    On a side note, it appears that some genre-films are allways appearing in pairs, what's up with that ?
  • You are totally wrong your first two both. Go read your hitory book again.

    The strike on Pearl Harbor was a tactical strike designed to take out the capital assets of the US Pacific Fleet. (namely the carriers and battleships) The Japanese wanted to build their asian empire without interference. They took out the British Asiatic squadron in Singapore a month later for the same reason.

    Dolittle's raid was completely irrelevant. It served as a moral booster to the American public and little else.

    Coral Sea & Midway were the decisive moments of the Pacific War. Coral Sea blocked the Japanese feint towards Australia and Midway sunk the core of the Japanese carrier fleet, along with the elite pilots of the Japanese Navy.

  • Titanic went to no lengths to be accurate. The characters were so misrepresented that law cases were started and settled out of court because there was no justification for it, the ship did not split apart on the surface - that was a story told years later by one survivor who was 4 years old at the time. The social tensions were grossly overstated and both laughable and patronising. The whole thing of the paintings supposed to have been lost (you know, the Degas and Picassos you can still see in museums) is pathetic.

    AND... I had family that worked on the Titanic, I was born in Belfast and the story of the ship was taught in schools and survivors appeared on local TV from time to time. In all of that NOONE ever called the damn thing "Titanic" - it's "The Titanic".

    TWW

  • Maybe maybe not. We'll never truly know.

    Well, when there are lots of adult witnesses who didn't mention it and only one child that "remembered" it years later I think we're quite safe in thorwing out the outlying data point and keeping the rest.

    It seems pretty clear that the ship split on the way down, but how far down is hard to know.

    TWW

  • by IvyMike (178408) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @10:37AM (#195409)

    As you can tell from this article in The New York Daily News. [nydailynews.com]

  • points:

    1. all but 3 ships were repaired and returned to service.

    2. the ships they sunk were mostly out-of-date WWI battleships (useless).

    3. the American navy was already building the next generation of fast cruisers and carriers which would defeat the Japanese navy.

    4. they didn't hit our fuel dumps, shipyards or carriers. hitting these would have crippled us far more than losing the ships we did lose.

    brilliant psychological victory, piss poor strategic outcome. overall...one thumb up, one thumb down.

  • by Phokus (192971) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @08:57AM (#195423)
    THis was actually a very good and accurate review by Katz (/me waits for all the Katz bashers to jump on the bandwagon).

    The most unfortunate thing is that Bay and Burkheimer prostituted the pearl harbor vets to promote this movie, and it turns out this movie has nothing to do with honoring their memories at all.

    In short, this movie is a poorly contrived/clicheish action/love/special effects movie that has absolutely no meaning unless you're one of the brainless moviegoing sheep that feeds the Hollywood coffers (sorry if i offended anyone, but this is true).

  • According to a New York Times article, some uses of "dirty Jap" and such were excised and some first person pronouns ("we" "us") in the voiceover were changed to "Americans." None of the alterations affected the plot. Japanese-American groups vetted the script and I would guess that they (not unreasonably) are more sensitive about slights than Japanese would be.

    As long as I'm posting, let me join the people who are praising "Tora! Tora! Tora!" That was a superb movie -- historically meticulous and excellent effects for its time.

    Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

  • The Doolittle Raid was a bit more than what you say. It was a CRUCIAL moral-booster for the American public. Shortly after getting creamed at Pearl Harbor, we turned around and stung the Japanese right back. Instant hooray and boost to the public in the aftermath shock of Pearl.

    Militarily, sure, the Doolittle Raid was a modest move against the Japanese - but it had its psychological and moral-affecting aspect to it for the Japanese. "We can hit you even across the great Pacific. You are NOT safe." Boom, a small shake to the moral of the Japanese in the aftermath of the Pearl attack.

  • by deebaine (218719) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @10:22AM (#195443) Journal
    The real, live breathing men in uniform were both Air Force pilots, namely Lieutenants George S. Welch and Kenneth A. Taylor. Lt. Welch was credited with four kills, while Taylor was credited with three. In fact, two of Taylor's three were the the two trailing planes in the three-ship led by Lt. Zenji Abe, who commanded the second wave off the Akagi from his Val.

    I believe a total of four Warhawks scrambled against the first wave, but I don't know anything about the others.

    There are lots of reasons to be annoyed by Pearl Harbor; I don't believe that the portrayal of the men who scrambled in the face of 80-1 odds is one of them.

    -db

  • by rabtech (223758) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @04:29PM (#195445) Homepage
    You may continue to insist that Japan was more than ready and willing to surrender under the right conditions, but to say they only wanted the Emporer to keep his throne is ridiculous. Japan wanted to set their own terms of surrender. In war, the victor sets the terms, not the other way around. We weren't prepared to pacify anyone else. It had been tried by most of the rest of Europe in regards to Hitler, and we saw the effects of that policy.

    Japan had to fall, or surrender unconditionally. That was the only way to ensure peace, and discourage other nations from going after their own rages of conquest. The fall of Japan left two options: full-scale invasion, or the nuclear bombs. Given the loss of life and damage to Japan a full-scale invasion would have brought, the bombs were a better alternative.

    Whether or not you agree with what I've just said, and you still cling to the notion that the US is a big bad evil throughout all of history, drunken on its own bloodlust, it doesn't really matter. The truth is that the US was considering two options, Invasion or Bombing; no others were acceptable to the administration. I'm glad they chose the bombs.

    Perhaps if you, in all your vast intelligence, had been there, you could have caved in to the Japanese demands. Maybe the world would have been a better place. Maybe, just maybe, Russia would have never found the nuclear bomb on their own if we hadn't developed it first. Maybe, maybe, maybe. It is all too easy to sit back in the comfort of your chair, typing on your PC, in a time of great peace and say "ahhh! This is where they went wrong! If only they had done this, we would have been rid of such evil!", as if you are actually entertaining the notion that over 50 years later you can understand all the complexities and intricate interactions that make up reality, in order to predict a different outcome.

    Gimme a break and spare us all your self-righteousness.


    -------
    -- russ

    "You want people to think logically? ACK! Turn in your UID, you traitor!"
  • Though I haven't seen the movie yet, apparently it has Miller receiving a medal for his valor (read this in some review). In actuality, he died later in the war and the navy refused to give him the medal until years after his death. Again, second hand information, but if it's true it's pretty ironic.
  • Nope. He's right. Journalists must follow the Price-is-Right-guidelines at all times. Since saying 60 years would obviously be over the actual amount, it would eliminate Jon from the year-guessing game and, ultimately, take away any chance at reaching the Showcase Showdown. Now, why 50 instead of 59? Clearly, like all modern journalists, Jon must round to the nearest ten. Unfortunately, this rule is not analagous with a TV gameshow, so it is much more difficult to explain.
  • Cool. It's good to know that the military doesn't always screw up. Like I said, I wasn't sure it was true - that is an incredibly detailed story for someone to make up though... I'll have to look into that. That puts this movie one step ahead of The Patriot as far as historical accuracy goes in my book :)
  • The truth IMHO is simply that Japan was fully committed to Asian and Pacific domination, even after the fall of the Axis powers.

    This is demonstrably false. Read Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb. The Japanese knew it was over and were suing for peace. These overtures were rejected because of one word: We insisted on "unconditional" surrender. The Japanese government was holding out for a guarantee that the Emperor would retain his throne -- a condition which we granted anyway.

    After the Axis fell the war could have been ended bloodlessly and quickly at any time had we demonstrated a willingness to bend on "unconditional" surrender. Instead, at Potsdam (boldened by our success at Trinity) we poised to break them. This had as much to do with sending the Soviets a message as it did with ending the war.

    I remember hearing somewhere that the initial target wasn't either Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but another city.

    Kyoto, which had been spared from conventional incendiary bombing along with several other "pristine" targets. Secretary of War Stimson vetoed Kyoto late in the game when he found out it was targeted. Nagasaki wasn't a primary target either -- the original objective for Fat Man was Kokura Arsenal, but the weather did not permit bombing and Sweeney moved on to Nagasaki.

    I suppose in a simplistic way you could compare it to boxing. Each fighter would much rather get a knockout and end the punishment of both sides if they can. No boxer wants to go 12 rounds every time they step into the ring if they can help it.

    Every atrocity in war is justified in this way. Nobody ever enters a war they think will be long, costly, drawn-out, and vicious. The fact that people are wrong about this so often is a lesson our species seems unable to learn.

    Also, accelerated nuclear research and has given us good things despite the bombs.

    The truly useful accomplishments nuclear, such as filling out the Periodic Table, working out how stars glow, and MRI imaging would have been discovered without the Manhattan Project. Isotope separation and bulk transmutation have given us little more than a huge pile of insanely dangerous radioactive waste and a lot of dead bodies.

  • The truth is that the US was considering two options, Invasion or Bombing; no others were acceptable to the administration. I'm glad they chose the bombs.

    Why were no other options acceptable?

    The flaw in your reasoning is the idea that this position itself was acceptable.

  • Take the time to visit Japan and check out the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima.

    I'd love to -- really. I've seen pictures of it, and was brought to tears by the story of Sadako.

    Are you offering to pay my airfare?

  • by localroger (258128) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @02:44PM (#195470) Homepage
    While it's true that FDR's call for unconditional surrender made it harder for the Japanese to surrender, it's not true that the Japanese were suing for peace prior to Hiroshima.

    According to Rhodes, the US was intercepting messages between Tokyo and Moscow about using the Soviets as intermediates in peace negotiations. To wit:

    July 11, 1945, Foreign Minister Shigenory Togo: "The foreign and domestic situation for the Empire is very serious, and even the termination of the war is now being considered privately...We are also sounding out the extent to which we might employ the USSR in connection with termination of the war ... [this is] a matter with which the Imperial Court is ... greatly concerned."

    July 12: "It is His Majesty's heart's desire to see the swift termination of the war ... However, as long as America and England insist on unconditional surrender our country has no alternative but to see it through in an all-out effort for the sake of survival and the honor of the homeland."

    (The Making of the Atomic Bomb, pp. 684-685)

    Those were cables we intercepted. We went into Potsdam knowing exactly what the would accept and what they wouldn't, and we deliberately gave them what they wouldn't. Why?

    Rhodes quotes Secretary of War Stimson in a remark to Harvey Bundy after Trinity: "Well, I have been responsible for spending two billions of dollars on this atomic venture. Now that it is successful I shall not be sent to prison in Fort Leavenworth." Stimson's comment may have been tongue-in-cheek, but the sentiment existed; it was felt that the expense had to be justified, the bomb had to be used. There was also the matter of ending affairs in such a way that we would not have to share the spoils with the Russians. For those reasons more than any others we needlessly killed 200,000 civilians, as well as as many American and Japanese soldiers died because the war was dragged on for more unnecessary weeks.

    Revisionist history? Maybe so, by definition. But it's not a bad thing when you're replacing the lies with the truth. It's bad when it's the other way around.

  • My understanding is that the Japanese are very reticent about admitting their role in WWII. I have read several articles about how their schools don't teach it, and it took until just a few years ago to get an apology for the fate of Korean "comfort women" who were abducted and gang-raped by Japanese soldiers. I also believe the Chinese are still miffed that they will not acknowledge just what they did at Nanking.

    So yes, an American movie that accurately depicts the sneakiness of the sneak attack might have problems there.

    We have our own similar buttons. Pearl Harbor did not justify what we did to Dresden, what Curtis LeMay did to the population centres of Japanese cities, or what we did at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The idea of mass-attacking civilians to terrorize the enemy gradually developed through the war, and we were every bit as guilty as our enemies in deliberately extending the logic of strategic bombing. Yet you still meet people -- lots of them -- who are very defensive about the Manhattan Project and simply refuse to see what an evil thing it was in the end. After more than 55 years we are still pushing unnecessary weapon systems and misguided energy policies because we are unwilling to admit that the whole thing was just a bad idea inseparable from its legacy of misery and death.

  • by purdue_thor (260386) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @09:22AM (#195473)
    I have to disagree. I am not an expert, but I was watching some documentaries on the attack, and the US apparently got a handful of planes in the air. They even mentioned the story of two very flashy pilots who... awoke after a long night out and immediately drove their car through the gunfire to a small airbase 10 miles away. They readied their planes and got in the air. These two are credited with shooting down between 6 and 8 planes. It seems they took this story and worked it into the movie.
  • by Husaria (262766)
    Might be redundant...
    I read the paper the other day, calling my Generation, (17-28), a whining generation. We simply whine about everything, that nationalism is a bad thing and PC. But Brokaw's "Greatest Generation" (the people in Pearl Harbor), was proud of their country..
    The author has a valid point, we seem not to be proud to be American these days. I remember going into a IRC chat room and telling a story about displaying the American flag and I was called a nut.
    Then, apparently, telling the story of America the victim of a vicious attack, is wrong and un-pc and is modififed by other countries, (is the pin-cushion Hitler in the movie modified as well? Maybe it should be a veteran because of how the movie butchers the battle)
    Fuck political correctness, its getting so that we are so afraid on stepping on anyone's toes to tell any kind of truth. As for the right of nuking two cities, well, its better than the millions that would have been lost in the island invasion, look at Okinwana.
    As for Germany, they started the war with a bullshit excuse of a Polish invasion of a German radio station, (Germans in Polish uniform invaded the station) and they seem to always be starting wars too.
  • It's been done as a TV documentary, and if you get the History Channel, you can see it for yourself: ToraToraTora: The True Story of Pearl Harbor [yahoo.com] includes interviews with Pearl Harbor veterans from both sides.

    In one of the sequences, one of the Japanese pilots and one of the Americans talk about that meeting in 1995. The Japanese pilot apologized for attacking America, and the American said there was no need to apologize, because it was a war, and that is what men do in war. It was a brilliant thing to say, because it bracketed 50 years of history with four heroic acts by two heroic men.

    --Blair
  • If he was deliberate in it, he sure seemed to be surprised how well it worked.

    The US had decrypted virtually all Japanese dipolomatic communications, and shortly before the attack decoded 13 pages of the 14-page communique that was to be delivered 30 minutes before the attack (the 14th page was transmitted only hours before the attack, since it was the page that actually implied what was to happen).

    On reading the 13 pages, which detailed Japanese complaints about America's policies, Roosevelt said, famously, "This means war."

    And then, on December 7th, when word came in that the Japanese were decimating the battleship fleet in Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt is said to have reacted with stunned disbelief, and then rage. Not exactly in the character of a man whose plan was coming together, now was it?

    The problem is, though it was getting obvious (there had even been leaks) that Japan was going to attack the US, there was no clear indication of where they would do it. And Hawaii, being 6,000 miles out in the ocean from all sides, and well past dozens of other viable American targets, is rationally the last feasible choice.

    These days, with worldwide communications networks and man-portable nukes and terrorist cells in every discarded tomato can, if a threat like this pops up every installation gets a notification to enhance its readiness. But in 1941, at a country club like Pearl Harbor, such an attitude would be considered crazy.

    But the Japanese, clearly, were crazy. They thought that they could somehow keep America from retaliating and destroying them. Maybe the distractions of Europe were overestimated. Definitely they hoped they could destroy the American fleet and America's ability to wage war around the Pacific. They attacked in the least likely place, and scored a massive victory. And, a few months later, when America had rebuilt its fleet and then some, we kicked the shit out of them and used them as a practice target for the weapon we would use to become the only superpower in the world by the end of the century.

    --Blair
  • > and set up embargos against Japan because of said mucking about

    By the time of the embargoes, "said mucking about" had included an invasion, tyranny, and atrocities. The crippling sanctions were imposed in direct response to one such escalation. That was six months before Pearl.

    > the code to begin the attack was Climb Mount Surabachi(sp?)

    It wasn't Suribachi (on which the famous Iwo Jima flag-planting picture was taken), nor was it Fuji. But that's about the gist of it. The message was clear that the attack plan was being activated, but useless if you wanted to know where the target was.

    Which you have to give the Japanese a lot of credit for. They understood that any code was just a leak or an equation away from being cleartext, and the only real security is not to send your secrets over a channel the enemy can record.

    > The Japanese leadership believed that by attacking Pearl Harbor and dealing a huge blow to the American Navy, America would put its tail between its legs and leave Japan to its intrests in Asia.

    Again: Crazy.

    > FDR was chomping at the bit to get into WWII,

    Possibly. He may even have said that he was hoping Japan would try something. But there's no way that he knew what they were going to do and then refused to inform the victims. As for the "goading" that has been mentioned, the few economic and diplomatic blows dealt to Japan hardly made up for the slaughter and torture Japan was inflicting on China.

    Japan had a choice: Attack the U.S., or stop terrorizing Asia. They may have had a reason for attacking the U.S., but they had no justification.

    --Blair
  • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @09:11AM (#195492) Journal

    Disturbingly, Pearl Harbor [imdb.com] continues Hollywood's trend of sacrificing historical accuracy for dramatic fiction in it's neverending quest to put more bums on seats.

    That Ben Affleck's character has just returned from Europe having fought in the Battle of Britain and incarceration in a prisoner of war camp is completely laughable, just as the idea that Ralph Fiennes injured character in The English Patient [imdb.com] would be transported back home to Britain via war-torn Italy.

    And the list doesn't end there.

    U-571 [imdb.com] is an absolute joke: American sailor's boarding a German U-boat to capture a Enigma cypher machine is how Hollywood tells the story. History, on the other hand, tells us that the first Enigma was captured by the British before the US even entered the war!

    There are other transgressors: Saving Private Ryan [imdb.com] forgets that even the landing craft delivering US soldiers to the D-Day beaches were piloted by the men of the Royal Navy, and even Schindler's List [imdb.com] strays from the truth in it's depiction of Oscar Schindler.

    There are countless other examples. History is being bastardised left, right and centre and 99.9% of the audience is none the wiser. Worse still, many of these movies are used as teaching aids and are held up as being 100% historically accurate by people who should know better. And all so that some fat executive sitting in some plush studio office can make an extra buck.

    I know that history is written by the victors but where does is say that it should be rewritten 50 years later in the name of greed? Is this what they fought for?

  • by ryochiji (453715) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @12:19PM (#195524) Homepage
    Being both Japanese and American (I have both passports) I can tell you that the Japanese have very different views on WW2 than the Americans in some regards.

    It's true that the Japanese government hasn't yet offered official apologies to those who deserve it, and it's also true that textbooks don't give the entire truth, or may even be misleading.

    But then, what is the truth? Are Americans as close to the truth as we think we are? In recent years, there's been evidence showing that we American's have been mislead too. There's evidence showing that Washington (and particularly FDR) knew that the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor, and even made things easier for them (read "Day of Deceit" by Robert Stinett). There's also evidence showing that the Japanese were preparing for surrender _before_ Hiroshima & Nagasaki were bombed, and that the US knew of this but bombed them anyway. Very few Americans know of the Tokyo raid towards the end of the war that killed around 100,000 civilians (more than were killed in Hiroshima or Nagasaki).

    Unlike the Germans, who made field trips to concentration camps mandatory after the war, the Japanese do seem a little slow in admitting guilt. The US and it's allies did a great job revealing ugly facts from the defeated nations, but nobody has done so for our government. There's a whole lot of ugly records from our history burried in national archives, that may or may not ever come out. Ask your self again: could we have gotten it all wrong too?
  • I know this would never happen, but I wish more movies wouild be made about people making peace, instead of war. For example, in 1995 a group of Japanese and American Pearl Harbor veterans met at the USS Arizona memorial, and shook hands, and hugged, and at least made the effort to forgive each other for the hell that was Pearl Harbor.

    When I heard about this, I thought - and still think - that this was one of the noblest, most heroic things I had ever heard. To forgive a man who killed your friends, because that is simply the right thing to do - I don't know if I could do that, but I hope I could. These men - Japanese and American both - at the 1995 meeting were heroes, but will any movies be made celebrating that? No, but a movie about these same men bombing the *$%! out of each other will sell like the proverbial hotcakes. I think that's sick, and I think that's wrong.

  • by Spock the Baptist (455355) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @10:25AM (#195539) Journal
    Can you say 2nd Lts. George Welch, and Kenneth Taylor. There, I knew you could.

    The Affleck, and Hartnett characters are based on Welch, and Taylor, who shot down 7 to 10 Nip aircraft during the attack.

    George Welch went on to score 16 confirmed air-to-air victories during WW2. He later was a test pilot with North American Aviation after WW2 where did some of the flight testing for the F-86 prototype, the XP-86. In 1997 the USAF confirmed that Welch actually broke the sound barrier, in a dive, while flight testing the XP-86 at Muroc a week prior to Chuck Yeagers Mach 1 flight in the XS-1. Additionally, Welch is 'rumored' to have unofficially shot down a half dozen Migs over Korea while 'performing demonstration flights' for new F-86 pilots with the USAF.

    Unfortunately, Welch died while flight testing the YP-
    100 Super Saber, which he had previously taken supersonic during on its first flight. This made him the first person to go supersonic in level flight in an air breathing aircraft.

    All-in-all George Welch was quite the aviation hero.

    For a fuller account of George Welch's Aviation Career see

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