Pearl Harbor

Metascore
44

Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 35
  2. Negative: 6 out of 35
Watch On
  1. 100
    The film's immense cast and crew, headed by director Michael Bay, writer Randall Wallace and stars Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale, blend artistry and technology to create a blockbuster entertainment that has passion, valor and tremendous action.
  2. It expertly capitalizes on the emotional associations Americans have with Pearl Harbor and renders the battle scenes with an excellence that goes beyond proficiency and into the realm of art.
  3. The cast is engaging, the overall visual effects are tremendous and I found myself fairly swept away for most of the fast-moving, three-hour running time.
  4. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    75
    The film never quite hits a sure-footed stride. The fictional love story stays fictional. But ''Pearl Harbor'' delivers the main event.
  5. Until a disappointing tailspin in the last hour, Pearl Harbor is the best piece of popular entertainment to come along in years.
  6. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    70
    Ninety minutes into this massive movie the attack commences, and the spectacular images come hurtling like fireballs. This is, let's be honest, what we're here for, and what most Jerry Bruckheimer-produced movies serve up best: the poetry of destruction.
  7. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    70
    Parts of this three-hour World War II epic are brilliant -- especially the 40-minute sequence in which the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor is stunningly re-created.
  8. The picture is nearly painstaking in its traditionalism, a tale of love, war, and valor in which nostalgia for ''simpler times'' gets mashed together, almost fetishistically, with nostalgia for old movies and for the spirit of knightly self sacrifice during World War II.
  9. A movie meant to explode off the screen -- and it's at its best when those explosions are going full blast.
  10. It's war porn, a movie that revels in the carnage.
  11. Works best as a bang-and- boom action picture, a loud symphony of bombardment and explosion juiced up with frantic editing and shiny computer-generated imagery.
  12. 50
    It's a Ritalin-deprived sensibility, but it keeps you skating over the dull spots, in which the film unfortunately is rich.
  13. 50
    A crowd-pleasing blockbuster if ever there was one, features as its centerpiece a jaw-droppingly vivid re-creation of the Japanese attack on the U.S.'s fabled (and extremely vulnerable, as it turned out) Pacific fleet.
  14. 50
    "Pearl Harbor" is exactly the kind of prestige project you'd expect from a director like Bay, hitting all its targets with plodding precision and never once achieving surprise.
  15. 50
    Clearly, neither screenwriter Randall Wallace nor director Michael Bay ever met a cliche he didn't embrace.
  16. For all its agonizing true-life trappings, has the staying power of a grand-scale video game. Manhattan's sushi bars are in no danger of going dark.
  17. The filmmakers would have been better advised to stick with the Zeroes and spend less time making up heroes.
  18. A script with the most underdeveloped characters and spectacularly realized visuals since "Titanic."
  19. The 2,400 Americans who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor deserve a nobler memorial than this sentimental hogwash that reduces heroism to "Top Gun" antics and pretty cinematography.
  20. 50
    Unfortunately, the bulk of the three-hour epic is third-rate schmaltz that pays only lip service to history.
  21. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    50
    It's an extravaganza worth seeing once -- and maybe later on DVD.
  22. 50
    With all the obvious work that went into this beautifully detailed, giant-scale movie, and considering the historical importance of the subject matter, was it too much to ask for a trace of intelligence, or maturity, or even insight?
  23. If you decide to hit the concessions stand (where you're bound to have lots of company), I'd suggest going out for popcorn during either the first hour or the third, because the second features some pretty good big-screen effects involving planes, ships, and explosions.
  24. 40
    The chaos is convincing, but, less ruthless than Steven Spielberg, Bay eschews D-day panic and mutilation.
  25. 40
    A Michael Bay movie: bang bang, paper-thin characters, wooden screenplay.
  26. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    40
    The net result of this mighty effort is perhaps predictable: near total inconsequence.
  27. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    40
    I found "Pearl Harbor" annoying but not excruciating—even at three hours, it's less assaultive than either "The Mummy Returns" or "Moulin Rouge."
  28. 40
    The film has no soul. An epic about this day of infamy should shake you to the core. But the real infamy about Pearl Harbor is that when you exit, you don't feel a thing.
  29. Reviewed by: Cody Clark
    40
    What comes before and after the sound and fury of the bombing raid are reams of banal dialogue.
  30. 38
    Its centerpiece is 40 minutes of redundant special effects, surrounded by a love story of stunning banality.
  31. Perhaps they should have called this "Bore-a, Bore-a, Bore-a."
  32. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    30
    Just compare their superficiality to the complex characters in "From Here to Eternity" and what's missing here becomes terribly clear.
  33. Fiction and fantasy to evade reflection on the world we actually live in.
  34. 25
    A brain-dead buddy-movie tearjerker with semi-tasteful romance and tasteful gore mixed in with the derring-do.
  35. Littered with low points -- lame comedy, dubious history, fumbling drama and a love story so inept as to make a pacifist long for war.
User Score
5.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 214 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 78
  2. Negative: 28 out of 78
  1. Sep 18, 2011
    4
    Michael Bay's so called blockbuster "Pearl Harbor" is a strong biased movie with cheesy dialogue and a terrible script. The next thing theMichael Bay's so called blockbuster "Pearl Harbor" is a strong biased movie with cheesy dialogue and a terrible script. The next thing the movie needs is more trimming on the film edit (Seriously, 2 hours 58 minutes?), and less preposterous action. Full Review »
  2. Sep 19, 2013
    3
    This movie is so superficial and exaggerated, that it feels like an empty hollow shell of a movie that is historically inaccurate with lots ofThis movie is so superficial and exaggerated, that it feels like an empty hollow shell of a movie that is historically inaccurate with lots of Michael Bay-approved explosions. Full Review »
  3. Nov 29, 2010
    9
    one of my faverite movies of all time. The love story is not as good as the titanics but still enjoyable. The bombing was by far the best ofone of my faverite movies of all time. The love story is not as good as the titanics but still enjoyable. The bombing was by far the best of the whole movie and the ending will make you cry the first time you see it. Full Review »