40. Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

Roger's Rating :

Should be :

Roger says in his 1 star review "Tora, on the other hand, offers no suspense at all because we know the attack on Pearl Harbor is going to happen, and it does, and then the movie ends. We don't even feel sympathy for the officers responsible (if that's the word.) They've been directed as wooden puppets reading security reports, etc."
I think Roger missed another really good movie here. I knew the attack was going to take place, but that wasn't what the movie was about. It was how things developed on both sides to let things unfold the way they did. I thought the conversations and events that were presented on both sides were fascinating. The internal fighting between the Japanese Navy and Army, the Japanese alliance with Germany, America being angry with Japanese action in China, the threatened American embargo of Japan, Tojo's views, the danger the fleet at Pearl Harbor held for Japan, the Enigma machine, torpedo problems, refueling problems, radar, the Emperor's view on the war... so interesting and all true.
Roger said "We want to escape from all those offices, and all those bureaucrats misreading cablegrams at each other, and get back to the open terrain of a good old grade "B" war movie. John Wayne's World War II flicks may not have been masterpieces, but at least they had sand and sky in them, and heroes, and girls."
Not all of us want to escape back to those kinds of movies, Roger. How refreshing it was to see a movie without stereotypes and caricatures.
I'll be the first to admit that the movie is a little long, a little slow, and a little talky. But I also thought it was fascinating from beginning to end. God forbid a kid watches a movie that might teach or turn him on to history. Is it better that he watch a movie like The Hangover? The dumbing of America is embraced and enhanced by some of our film critics who are afraid to give the movie going public advice about good movies that we might be able to learn something from. Entertaining and educational are not oxymoronic words.
This challenging and rewarding film has a 7.5 rating on IMDB.

1 comment:

Darkheath said...

One of my favorite films of all time. I had no idea that Ebert gave such a short-sighted review of this film. I first saw it when I was 7 or 8 years old, and it most certainly turned me to learn more about history. I consider myself a WWII "semi"-buff. And a BIG part of that was this film and Patton.

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