In 2001, Director Michael Bay was a hot, relatively proven property, fresh off the back to back successes of Bad Boys, The Rock and Armageddon. Keen to move away from being known only as a 'big explosion action director' (a tag which he now revels in), Bay embarked on the war project which sought to meld the romantic touches of Titanic for the ladies, massive action scenes for the boys, and the duo of Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett for the teen girl audience. On paper, the film seemed to have all the right ingredients, but the film became less than the sum of its parts.
It's 1941; World War II has broken out and forces are being mobilized to ramp up the war effort of the United States. When the empire of Japan attacks the United States fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the 'sleeping giant' of the United States is awoken and plans are afoot to retailiate. A strange fit for Disney, even under its now dismantled Touchstone label, Pearl Harbor was widely savaged for its sanitized and bloodless depiction of war, especially after the realism of recent films such as Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line, although these complaints were somewhat rectified in the later DVD released 'directors cut'.
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