March 29, 2004 | Peter

Movie History

I watched ‘Pearl Harbor’ last night on TV –yet another Hollywood blockbuster that made me think, “Glad I didn’t blow ten bucks on this stinker”. It certainly palls beside the 1970s movie ‘Tora, Tora, Tora’, a joint US-Japanese production that tried for some historical accuracy. That version could not match the fantastic but increasingly unrealistic CGI special effects of this one, but it also lacked the flag waving, religious posturing and product placement of Bruckheimer’s opus. You’d think such a signifiicant topic – it has gained great symbolic meaning with Americans – would be treated more seriously. As for the tangled love story plot, the less said the better. Has Ben Affleck ever been in a decent movie?
Following the Hollywood formula of revenge, this movie ended with the Doolittle raid on Tokyo. Pretty much a military failure, the raid did make the Japanese change their strategy (much as the British raid on Berlin during the Battle of Britain caused the Germans to switch from their successful focus on airfields to bombing cities). I wonder why Bruckheimer didn’t go the whole hog and have the hero piloting Enola Gay. Now there’s payback!
And of course there was nothing about the raging controversy about why exactly the US was so caught off guard. One of the many warnings came from an Australian intelligence operative. Churchill, who was having dinner with the US ambassador at the time of the attack, is reported to have said something like “Thank God” because he knew the US would enter WWII and Britain was saved. Churchill certainly knew about the attack, so why didn’t his close ally Roosevelt?
There are some who see real parallels with September 11. The Congressional inquiry, now getting bogged down in the predictable partisan trench warfare, will hopefully tell us a little more about who knew what when. Roosevelt never paid for the incredible incompetence (if not worse) of his administration in letting the Pearl Harbor attack occur ‘on his watch’, as the Americans like to say – I wonder if Bush will?
Those of us with a little knowledge of history can laugh at these Hollywood fictions, but then we have to consider that more and more the only history most Americans get is from movies and TV. Apparently, for instance, despite all the evidence to the contrary, significant numbers of Americans think there is a direct link between Iraq and terrorism. Interestingly, a recent report pointed out that when people receive a news report on something that is later corrected, they still tend to believe the original report.
So this is why they vote for Bush – he shares their complete disinterest in fact, much preferring the more convenient Hollywood version of history.

Posted by Peter at 12:39 pm | Comments Off on Movie History |
Filed under: Uncategorized

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.