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Pearl Harbor: Vista Series

A film in which the cost-to-profit ratio is much more interesting than the story itself, Pearl Harbor (2001) is sloppy, expensive, and borderline-offensive nonsense. Danny (Josh Harnett) and Rafe (Ben Affleck) are two lifelong friends who become combat aviators for the U.S. Army. As war clouds loom over Europe, Rafe gets an offer to go to England and fly against the Nazis, but before he leaves, he falls in love with a pretty young nurse named Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale). And while Rafe undertakes dangerous missions, both Danny and Evelyn are sent to Hawaii, stationed in a tropical paradise with nothing going on. In the meantime, Admiral Kimmel (Colm Feore) oversees a bored Pacific fleet, as everyone in D.C. — including president Franklin Roosevelt (Jon Voight) — waits to see if Japan will attack. And as everyone waits, Rafe is shot down in Europe and presumed dead. Three months later, Danny and Evelyn find themselves attracted to each other, but after they make love, Rafe turns up in Hawaii and finds that he has become the proverbial third wheel. He is stung by the betrayal, but then the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and America enters into World War II. A romantic, war-torn drama set to a historical backdrop like Cameron's Titanic, Pearl Harbor was made by bean-counters with no sense of poetry or history. A popular DVD release, it has been one-upped by what may be the most deluxe edition of a film yet produced for the format, as it comes in a four-disc set, with the film split across two platters, both of which offer Dolby Digital and DTS audio (along with a French 5.1 soundtrack) and a headphone specific 2.0 mix. Also included are three audio commentaries, the first is with director Michael Bay and film scholar/Bay's old college teacher Jeanine Basinger, the second with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and actors Ben Affleck, Josh Harnett, and Alec Baldwin and the third with cinematographer John Schwartzman, costume designer Michael Kaplan, and production designer Nigel Phelps. The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) in an R-rated cut that adds slightly more violence (yet only about 30 seconds of running time) As for supplements, there are the featurettes "Why Letterbox?" (as an Easter egg), "Journey to the Screen: The Making of Pearl Harbor," "One Hour Over Tokyo," "Unsung Heroes of Pearl Harbor," "Oral History: The recollections of a Pearl Harbor Nurse" a Production Diary broken into ten sections, "Boot Camp," which is broken into two sections, a thirty minute demonstration called "Interactive Attack sequence," on called "Deconstructing Destruction with Michael Bay and Eric Brevig," trailers a large still gallery, an interactive historical timeline, the Faith Hill music video for "There You'll Be," and a one-minute promo for the tie-in National Geographic special. Folding paperboard case with slip-cover.
—DSH

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