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An Analysis Of Change In Pearl Harbour

Enviado por   •  23 de Febrero de 2013  •  3.077 Palabras (13 Páginas)  •  512 Visitas

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An analysis of

change in

Michael Bay’s

Pearl Harbor

Marina Lázaro García

Cine Anglonorteamericano 08


1. Introduction

2. Linear analysis: representation of purity, change and crudeness.

3. Comparative analysis.

4. Conclusion.

1. Introduction

This paper is aimed at showing the contrasts in Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor (2001) before and after the well-known attack. I strongly believe that it is highly interesting to comment this particular topic on such a dynamic film due to the fact that these contrasts can be analysed from different relevant perspectives. In doing so, we the spectators, become aware while watching the film that the attack is a turning point in the development of it. In fact, we witness that it has a strong influence on staging, scenery, and even on actors. In this way, we can appreciate a clear dynamism introduced by the unexpected attack, which provides the film with a sharp contrast regarding the previous part. I will focus on a two-fold method in order to carry out my aim of showing this changing perspective. This is to say, I will develop both a linear and a comparative analysis to represent the twist introduced by the attack and I will try to relate these changes to the real situation of the United States at that time.

2. Linear analysis

Pearl Harbor is a film depicting both love and horror. In fact, Michael Bay sets a romantic personal story within a historic event of great tragedy and loss, as its predecessor Titanic did, (Cameron, James ( dir. ). 1996. Titanic. USA. 20th Century Fox Paramount Pictures Lightstorm Entertainment). It is a story of catastrophic defeats and victories, personal courage and overwhelming love settled in a stunning background of spectacular war action. In fact, we get involved in an explosive mixture of adventurous fellows, love triangle, action and patriotic heroism.

All these components are a constant over all the course of the movie and they are interrelated with the three main principles when dealing with linear or chronological analysis in this movie: purity, change and crudeness. As time goes by, we become conscious that the initial purity and innocence turn out to be horror and crudeness due to arrogance, eagerness for superiority and sense of pride.

As regards purity, it is mainly portrayed at the very beginning of the film until the moment when the sudden attack takes place in Pearl Harbor. In fact, when the film has just started, we follow our two heroes, Rafe (Ben Affleck) and Danny (Josh Hartnett ) being two innocent farm boys. They have no wickedness and they only concern about playing with planes and learning to fly with them. In spite of this naivety and purity typical for children, we are witnesses that violence and hate for Germans have been instilled into them. Nonetheless, they represent a high degree of purity in the movie.

Afterwards, we are aware of a big ellipsis and the opening scene suddenly jumps ahead to just months before the attack. During this period of time, those naive farm boys become fighter pilots, a step that could represent a loss of that initial purity of childhood. In spite of this first step towards the growing crudeness in the film, there are also other indicators of purity.

For instance, we are shown the hastily but profound love story between Rafe and Evelyn. We witness the relationship from the very beginning in the film, when there is only physical attraction until they fall madly in love. This beautiful relationship is meant to have all components to be highly pure, a young beautiful couple who are willing to share their lives for good. However, the real conflict of the film begins when Rafe gets the chance to join a Brithish fighting squadron. Up to this point, he is able to sacrify his new love and his best friend because of his eagerness for acknowledgement and action. This decision will have shocking consequences in their love story.

Later on, Rafe ends up missing, and the grief of his loss makes Danny and Evelyn be together. Danny falls deeply in love with Evelyn and she gets carried away by the pain for Rafe’s departure. However, that initial purity in their relationship cannot be compared to her feelings towards Rafe. In fact, she herself admits that her true love is no one but Rafe:

EVELYN: ‘’ Rafe, all l everwanted.. was for us to have a home, grow old together...

but life never asked me what l wanted. Now, l'm gonna give Danny my whole heart… but l don't think l'll ever look at another sunset without thinking of you. I’’ll love you my whole life.’’ (Bay, Michael ( dir. ). 2001. Pearl Harbor. USA. Touchstone Pictures / Jerry Bruckheimer Films.)

However, in spite of the fact that Danny is a kind of substitute in Evelyn’s heart, there are some moments in which their relationship is so pure and beautiful as the one between Evelyn and Rafe. Specifically, one of the most representative scenes is that of Danny and Evelyn being dominated by passion in Pearl Harbor. They make love wrapped in immaculate white sheets, which would be a clear indicator of that initial purity and innocence.

In fact, this scene is highly meaningful from several perspectives. On the one hand, the act of lovemaking could be shown as the loss of innocence and naivety previous to the turning point in the movie. This is to say, we can interpret this scene as an antecedent to the imminent tragedy, a clear foreshadow of what was about to come. This sexual act could be also related to the war violence, so that this scene would be warning us about the subsequent horror ones, it would show the transition from the initial purity to the subsequent violence and crudeness.

In addition to this vision, these white sheets could be a metaphor for the United States in the sense that this whiteness would stand for the country before the attack on Pearl Harbor took place. Conversely, we would assure that this whiteness would be lost after


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