Initial "Pearl Harbor" reviews less than glowing

Discussion in 'Disney Rumors and News' started by mattjs, May 21, 2001.

  1. mattjs

    mattjs Mouseketeer

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  3. OnWithTheShow

    OnWithTheShow No Entangling Alliances

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    It appears that this review of Pearl Habor is written by a British critic. You must remember that a Brit will not have as much of a connection with the events of Pearl Habor as an American, especially veterans. The author of the article also openly admits that critics found little to criticize about the film. I think the love story aspect is what makes the tale true to life. Soldiers are not just mindless killing machines. They have personal lives and feelings as well. The author also seems overly obsessed with violence, death and destruction, raving about the attack scene but criticizing the rest of the movie. I for one am definitely going to see this movie at least once if not several times.
     
  4. JimB.

    JimB. DIS Veteran

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    Have not read the reviews yet, but..............

    Here in St. Augustine, the local theater is ALREADY selling tickets for it, and ticket sale have reportedly been extremely brisk...................

    With a $135 Million price tag, I certianly hope so...;) ;)
     
  5. mattjs

    mattjs Mouseketeer

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    There could be a lack of connection there for the writer. Though we're talking about WWII here so I'm not so sure the gap would be large enough that a fantastic movie wouldn't close it.

    The line about lack of specific criticism doesn't actually refer to reviews of the movie from an entertainment perspective. It refers only to historians "finding little to criticise in Bruckenheimer and Bay's depiction of the events of December 7, 1941...". Meaning the plot is more less historicaly accurate with regards to the events of that fateful day. But doesn't say anything about the quality of ythe movie itself.

    In fact I think the article's opening line is about as tough as any criticism I've seen. The film was screened at the big Disney party in Hawaii to I would guess a primarily US audience and pool of critics. And, according to the writter it was screened "...to mainly disappointed audiences and poor reviews."

    A generalization of audience reaction? Yes. Inaccurate? Hopefully. I'm gonna see it either way so the reviews don't really mean much to me. As a Disney fan though, I'd like to see the thing do well

    Advance sales will get it a strong opening. Where it goes after that though will depend on what those audiences tell thier friends about it. . Hopefully official opening reactions will be real positive.
     
  6. jrgutknecht

    jrgutknecht Mouseketeer

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    Even internal Disney sources have backed off on promotion of the film and are already planning on the movie not doing as well as they had hoped.

    I personally think it's going to be terrible, but I thought Armageddon was terrible too, and it went on to make buckets of money, so who knows what will happen.
     
  7. Sarangel

    Sarangel <font color=red><font color=navy>Rumor has it ...<

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    I've always been bothered by marketing deciding that this or that film will be a 'Blockbuster,' and I was especially bothered by some of Eisner's comments in the Annual Report, saying that the film was nearly a "Sure thing." Disney's sure pushing the film: there was a cover story in last week's Newsweek, and there's a feature on ABC's Entertainment Tonight (5/21)... My feeling is they should let the public decide & rejoice if it succeeds.

    On the other hand, I found the following article in AOL's news spool.

     
  8. Another Voice

    Another Voice Charter Member of The Element

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    By the time you add the publicly announced production costs, add in the costs they’re not talking about, add in the marketing costs, add in the back-end deals, and add in the other baggage for the film – Disney’s investment in ‘Pearl Harbor’ is around $350 million. Eisner’s not one to spend that much money and the let the public decided if the movie’s any good or not. The film was a marketing vehicle from the beginning (they wanted to catch the ‘Titanic’ wave), it was simply developed by Wallace, Bruckheimer and Bay. A lot of studio movies are ‘created’ this way – does anyone but an accountant want ‘Jurassic Park 3’?

    After being attacked by the raptor pack last year over an early review of ‘Mission to Mars’, I swore never to talk about a Disney movie before it was released. But there are a few comments about ‘Pearl Harbor’ I can clear up. For a movie like ‘PH’, about 65% of its revenue will come from overseas, and about half of the that will come from Japan. The makers of ‘PH’ are VERY aware of that fact and the film falls back on the Box-Office approved historical perspective – the Japanese were noble, courageous warriors who were honorably honor-bound to follow a few ignoble military officials who led them astray. The attack is shown from the Japanese side to be a stroke of genius planning and execution. The many, many, many, many shots of American flags can be edited out rather easily.

    The historical accuracy comment was in reference to just the 40-minute attack sequence in the middle of the three hour film. They’ve borrowed James Cameron’s technique from ‘Titanic’ of surrounding the fictional characters with recreations of the actual events. There’s no way of telling that from the film, but it will make a great History Channel special. Beyond the attack and the Doolittle raid, the love story is complete hogwash – er – I mean, completely fictional. The character played by Cuba Gooding Jr. is historical (just don’t go get popcorn if you want to see him).

    As for the British perspective, one of the main characters goes to fight in the Battle of Britain (Ben Affleck does a really good job of playing Ben Affleck with a southern accent). Besides, I think the British are far more attuned to the Second World War than the average American. I don’t think an English reporter would be put-off by any kind of your war/our war feelings. Lastly, advance sales are good and the U.S. Army has put up a recruitment kiosk at the local mega entertainment center here.

    Anyway, most reviews are embargoed until Wednesday. We’ll all have a chance on Friday to judge for ourselves. Until the, I’m sure you can hear Faith Hill singing the ‘Pearl Harbor’ love ballad on an easy-listening station near you.
     
  9. ContempoSMT

    ContempoSMT WDW Sept 2010

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    Pearl Harbor looks like to be a classic of the making... i dont care what 1 person thinks about it..
     
  10. DVC-Landbaron

    DVC-Landbaron What Would Walt Do?

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    ... the raptors are circling already!!

    Thanks for the inside take on things. Great stuff, once again!!


    :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:


    (... and his voice could hardly be heard in the empty parking garage. "Follow the money", he whispered...) ;)
     
  11. PIRATEPOLY

    PIRATEPOLY Earning My Ears

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    <<(Ben Affleck does a really good job of playing Ben Affleck with a southern accent)>>>

    So, you have seen the movie already??
     
  12. mattjs

    mattjs Mouseketeer

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  13. Another Voice

    Another Voice Charter Member of The Element

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    The cell circuits were buzzing out here yesterday, and the airwaves between Hawaii and Hollywood were filled with only one question – “How bad is it?”

    Several groups held a press conference out here yesterday to complain about the film. None of them had seen it, and I got the feeling even the spokespeople knew there were simply acting out the same one-act play that happens in Hollywood anytime a WWII movie is released. Unfortunately, the public disclosure of the specific cuts that are being made only makes Disney looks like they’re pandering. We’re expecting to hear from the other side today (veterans) about Disney trying to whitewash history to make a buck. By the way, the article is true when it says that the overseas marketing will play up the romance over the battle scenes.

    There are rumors of numerous heated phone calls from Eisner, Schneider, and friends that roared through Team Disney Burbank yesterday. Damage control teams are furiously slamming together gift baskets for all of the critics who attended the Hawaii premier or those that may know anyone who attended the Hawaii party. When a studio shows a film to the critics, they usually keep the number of people in the room to a couple of dozen at a time. Since movie critics are herd animals, this limits the amount of note sharing and “group-think” that occurs. Sometimes, though, a studio can use the group psychology to their advantage. Disney’s Miramax unit does an outstanding job at this, using critics to convince the other critics that the film was better than they first thought.

    At the ‘Pearl Harbor’ premier, apparently the exact opposite is happening. Luke warm reviews are turning into the negative reviews; negative reviews are turning into slams. Disney is doing what it can to change the group’s perception, so expect to see a lot of quick ‘behind the scenes’ stuff on the ‘Access to Hollywood Entertainment’ type shows and for your local TV station’s critic having live interviews with Ben Affleck and cast. There are also rumors that the story behind the aircraft carrier used for the premier is about to break in Congress. It seems that the carrier was ordered to sail from San Diego to Hawaii solely for the premier. Since that move cost several million tax payer dollars, and the Pentagon is claiming to be cash short, there may be a call for The Mouse to pay for the operation’s costs.

    One last rumor. Yesterday, the whispers began to spread that internal staff at Disney was expecting ‘Pearl Harbor’ to gross $75 million its opening weekend. That’s an amazingly low number for this film over the three day Memorial Day weekend and from other projections that I had heard. Yesterday I thought that the number was simply playing the expectation game – lowball the estimates so when the film opens better than that, you can claim to be amazed at how wonderful things are going (kinda like the presidential debates). Now, however, indications are that this is the true internal number they’re expecting once all of the negative reviews hit. This could get scary.

    P.S. In answer to the question, I have seen the film (besides the fame, glamour and fortune, it’s a perk of working in the entertainment industry), but I haven’t seen it with an audience. I’ve formed an opinion about ‘Pearl Harbor’ based on its filmmaking aspects, but it's impossible to know if it’s going to work as a “movie” until you see it with a full theater – a fact that most film critics forget. Even the first ‘Star Wars’ got negative reviews when it first opened…
     
  14. JustBob

    JustBob Mouseketeer

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    Another Voice, thanks for your inside perspective (at least it seems that you're inside!). I guess I'm just going to withhold judgment on Pearl Harbor until I see it myself. I remember that Titanic was called Cameron's Folly or something like that in a few quarters before it opened, then look what happened.
    The love story in Titanic, though it was sappy, did draw the viewer in to the basically one - note story. Perhaps the romance angle will do the same for all of us great unwashed out here when it comes to PH.
    Again, thanks for the informed, yet seemingly balanced perspective.
     
  15. mattjs

    mattjs Mouseketeer

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    Man, this movie can't catch a media break. In the last 3 or 4 days I've seen articles on the carrier flack, the changes in the script, the leaking of initial mixed/poor reviews, the groups protesting ... I mean c'mon. The selection of stories to print as this thing's about to be released is unbeliveable. No negative angle, no matter how big or small will go unreported. I'd imagine it's not helping any in the final hours.

    The story linked to below reads like Affleck's comments may have been taken out of context. Maybe thrown out in a humorous TV exchange and then printed as serious?

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/010523/4/br8t2.html

    Where are all the nice studio, press release fluff pieces?

    Any insight on all this negativity Another Voice? Or am I off track and it's just the norm with these kinds of bigtime movie releases?
     
  16. OnWithTheShow

    OnWithTheShow No Entangling Alliances

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    Publicity, whether positive or negative, often brings more people to the event.
     
  17. apm

    apm Earning My Ears

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    You're absolutely right, OWTS. There is a saying that goes: "There's no such thing as bad PR."

    I used to write and edit for a couple different computer magazines, and when we had a round-up review of products, every product would see a surge in sales related to the review -- even those we panned.

    - Andy
     
  18. Another Voice

    Another Voice Charter Member of The Element

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    I don’t know if Robert Blake or Tom Cruise would agree with the “there’s no bad publicity” comments…

    I think this is the first time on this board that I’ve been accused of being “balanced”, but I shall try to earn that compliment. I hold to movies to a far different standard than I do theme parks, so I’m a little more willing to hold my tongue. And it’s been really tough with ‘Pearl Harbor’ so far; I’ll try to last at least until Friday.

    All of the “negativity” around the film is equal parts Disney’s fault, general media reaction to ‘The Buffo Hit’ hype, and Mr. Affleck being a ribbon-wearing member of the Hollywood Self Delusion Fraternity – “I’m Not Just Famous, I’m Important!” Chapter.

    From the Mouse, what did they expect when they started to promote this film as a great achievement in art? So much of what Disney has done has tread close to the line of tacky for even Hollywood – the veterans “Millionaire” show, spending multi-millions on one party when thousands are being fired, giving several groups “script approval” rights, using a nuclear warship like it was the rental hall down at the Elk’s Lodge, and so on. Disney, through its massive marketing effort, deliberately changed ‘Pearl Harbor’ from a film into a news event. All of the hype just invites additional coverage well beyond the movie review column. And then to produce a film that’s less than universally well received, well that’s just throwing napalm on the whole mess.

    On the media end, they know they’re being used – but it is a free week in Hawaii so what the hell. Rather than spending the effort to form an individual opinion, the media types generally wait until a group consensus is received and simply report that. This is were Disney’s gamble went tragically wrong – the “common wisdom” turned dramatically against this movie. It’s much easier to write a piece that simply follows the flows than it is to write something insightful. Watch all of the stories about ‘PH’ in the next few days and see how many just talk about what other reporters are talking about. By the way, the media frenzy can also turn inappropriately positive too – by show of hands, how many went to go see ‘The Blair Witch Project’?

    From what I’ve seen, Mr. Affleck’s comments weren’t taken out of context. That’s just the way he is. I tend to have a very low opinion of actors as a species (never, ever marry an actress wannabe!) and Ben gives me immense comfort in my beliefs. During the last election the media learned that he was always good for a quote or a good story. It got even better when his own voting scandal blew up in his face. Sadly, he yet to realize that he’s being taken for a fool and not a sage. Actors like him are the reason so many people in Hollywood are really hoping that ‘Final Fantasy’ is a huge hit at the box office later this summer.

    Anyway, the embargo has come off the reviews so they’ll start showing up tonight. If anyone’s interested, I’ll post links to the better ones (is that okay Sarangel?). The Friday ad is really going to be interesting to read. If Disney is forced to into a pull quote from “Movie Minute” – there’s going to be some REAL BIG explosions in the halls of Team Disney…
     
  19. mattjs

    mattjs Mouseketeer

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  20. Sarangel

    Sarangel <font color=red><font color=navy>Rumor has it ...<

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    Review links are always fine, Another Voice (and mattjs). We're all going to read things like this anyway.

    I think Disney could have saved itself a lot of effort (and $$) if they'd just let the film come out & wait and see what people thought instead of turning it into a media circus. But I suppose that would be asking too much...

    I'm holding my opinion on the film until I see it (which I would anyway, since my fiance is an Air Force vet), since I've found that the critics and I don't always agree... Actually, we hardly ever do (I happen to really like DCA, for instance). So I'm taking everything with a grain of salt.

    Here's wishing film-makers would just craft individual works of art rather than having marketing decide what they want to do. (and for the record, no, I didn't go to see Blair Witch).

    Sarangel
     
  21. Another Voice

    Another Voice Charter Member of The Element

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    Thanks Sarangel, I don’t want to stray too much from the ‘Rumors’ topic and I wanted to check if reviews should jump to another board. I did a quick search to find some positive reviews and it’s mighty slim out there. I haven’t found any from a place not ending in “.com”. I’m always very suspicious about those because they tend to either some fan with a website who will say nice things so they can keep their invite to the studio screenings, or some hacker with a website the says really negative things to get back at Hollywood for “having messed around with the ‘X-Men’!”, or the reviews are studio plants pretending to be a hacker with a website. The most complete review site that I’ve seen on the Internet is http://www.rottentomatoes.com - they always have a tremendous number of links to reviews for all films. The two reviews posted by mattjs are two of the better written, albeit negative reviews I’ve seen.

    On the rumor side, it seems that this situation is going to get very nasty. “Rumors” say that the director, Michael Bay, is telling people that Eisner’s budget cuts doomed his film (personal comment to the director– it was the script, stupid). Planned appearances by the cast for next week on various talk shows are being cancelled. Another rumor says that other studios are going to the theaters to grab additional screens for their movies premiering in June, screens that the theaters had booked for a long run of ‘Pearl Harbor’. Disney may even be forced into changing some of the deals they had swung with theaters for ‘Atlantis’ to make up for ‘PH’. Someone made a comment: you know the phrase “enough rope to hang themselves”? Well, anyone with a gripe against Disney or against someone involved with ‘Pearl Harbor’ had better learn how to tie the knots because that rope just showed up.

    On the positive side of the rumor stream, all of the signs are pointing to a very strong opening. This is based on the percentage of people who know the movie is coming out (the highest ever tracked) and who want to see the film. Most of the guessing around here is for a weekend take of about $100. That’s enough to top “Jurassic Park: The Lost World” and give ‘PH’ the largest opening in history. That kind of opening will tend to blunt the impact of critics and allow word-of-mouth to carry the movie. That’s what happened with ‘Titanic’, weak reviews were overwhelmed by people telling friends to go see the movie (and thousands of teenage girls wanting to watch Leonardo again and again and again).

    Sarangel’s last comment is both immensely true about all movies in general, its also my biggest problem with ‘Pearl Harbor’. There isn’t a single line, a single shot, a single moment in the film that wasn’t crafted to please a focus group somewhere. Creativity in the service of money does not produce art.
     

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