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George At 

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Pearl Harbor

Memorial Day Weekend 2017 seemed like a good time to revisit 2001's big box office hit and patriotic blockbuster PEARL HARBOR.

An old fashioned throwback to an epic war film, we meet Rafe (Ben Affleck) and Danny (Josh Whatever happened to him? Hartnett) life long best friends and now hot shot young pilots.

As the Nazis overtake Europe and the rest of the world is caught up in the storm, our boys and America sit out the fight, which in retrospect seems amazing.

Rafe falls in love with beautiful young nurse Evelyn (stunning Kate Beckinsdale) and their love story, along with introductions to the rest of the pilots fills the first hour of the film.

We then see Japan planning the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, woven into the story as Rafe flies off to Europe to fly missions on the front lines.

At the time, some critics were harsh on the film saying the romance was to sappy and the dialogue was too cliche, but looking back at the film now, its romantic, funny and yes, at times teetering on cheesy with its dialogue. I'll credit screenwriter Randall Wallace (Braveheart, We Were Soldiers) with going for a classic war film style from the 40's.

Director Michael Bay is really hit and miss for me, but I think he nails PEARL, staging the most incredible attack on Pearl Harbor ever seen on screen.

The music score by Hans Zimmer is nearly always present and well done and the cinematography by John Schwartzman (Jurassic World, The Amazing Spiderman) is excellent.

The special effects and sound design (which won an Oscar) are flawless from the first bomb to the final bullet in dogfights above Hawaii.

The combination of full size explosions and effects with state-of-the-art CGI puts you in the middle of the attack for nearly twenty minutes.

I learned a lot about the Doolittle raid as our retaliation and it makes me want to read more about the history around the events that drew us into World War II.

Alec Baldwin is great as Doolittle, Jon Voight is a formidable Roosevelt and Cuba Gooding & Michael Shannon are both terrific in supporting roles.

Three hours long but never slow, with jaw-dropping special effects and plenty of characters you'll care about, PEARL HARBOR is a fitting tribute to all those that have served our country so proudly.

Is it cliched? Yes, but damned if Bay and Wallace don't package it in the perfect red, white & blue patriotism and nostalgia that make it incredibly enjoyable.

See it on the biggest screen you can find and crank up the sound. You'll BE at PEARL HARBOR. It gets a flag waving and appreciative A from me this Memorial Day.

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