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(June 2001)

Battle of BritianThe Toast recently saw the newly released Pearl Harbor. Sad. We at The Toast are not averse to testosterone fueled action. The Toast can be genuinely touched by a deeply affecting love story. The Toast is not particularly bothered by anachronisms and inaccuracies in "historical" films. However, this movie bothered us on almost all these accounts.

The love story is insipid with self-centered lovers of little significance and no chemistry; The Toast could not care less about them. The historical inaccuracies were almost too numerous to count. For example, during the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the two American fighter planes that were able to get off the ground and do some damage did so by launching from an outlying airfield that was not under attack. Not the slicing, fighting, bomb and bullet dodging take-off depicted in this film. Not important you say? Think about this: is it braver to leap up and fight back when you have absolutely no choice - you're gonna' die anyway so why not fight; or - to be able to safely take off but then deliberately dive into numerically superior forces and fight for all your worth?

Anyway, one more thing. Nurses are gifts to humankind and The Toast has known several of these tough, dedicated people. Evelyn Johnson ( played by Kate Beckinsale) is a nurse. During the attack, she's confronted with a patient who's pumping arterial blood from a neck wound. She looks at the bright, red squirting blood and grimaces. Finally, with some trepidation, she puts her fingers to the patient's neck and slows the flow. Real nurses don't grimace. Real nurses have no trepidation. Real nurses take charge and kick ass.

Tora! Tora! Tora!We at The Toast did appreciate the spectacular special effects. Although the "digital" nature of them did show through from time to time, their inventive point-of-view was quite exciting. Sadly, special effects do not a movie make. Without a story; without characters to care for; without some real history to chew on - special effects ain't going to carry the day.

Finally, this movie tries to cover three major World War II events.  The Toast would like to recommend three different movies that cover these same historical events but with more detail, more warmth and humanity, and fascinating and successful filmmaking techniques without access to modern digital effects.

The Battle of Britain -

(Battle of Britain (1969)

Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor -

(Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

James Doolittle raid on Tokyo -

(Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)

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