The careful balancing of the two sides produces its own interesting effect, however, showing how war goes from possible to inevitable, whatever the wishes on either side. Had Tora! Tora! Tora! taken the notion a bit further, it might have created a portrait of escalating tension chilling enough to rival its carefully orchestrated climactic bombing raid.
Both overall director Richard Fleischer and his Japanese counterparts do a dull job, and the monotonously low-key tone of scene after scene almost suggests that each was filmed without a sense of ultimate slotting in the finished form.
From the moment you read the ads for Tora! Tora! Tora! ("The Most Spectacular Film Ever Made!”), you are aware that you're in the presence of a film possessed by a lack of imagination so singular that it amounts to a death wish.