PEARL HARBOR 1x400ft Available from Derann 18 minutes

This was another of the Super 8 highlights at the recent BFCC. Made more interesting by the morning documentary detailing the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. Amazing to see those giant battleships raised from beneath the water to be repaired for the war effort.

I have not seen the feature of ‘Pearl Harbor’ partly due to the slating it received from the critics but mainly due to the word-of-mouth from colleagues at work who accused the film of being overly long and boring up until the attack itself. It is therefore quite interesting that the film has been singled out for one of the old style 400ft digests. Thankfully this cut down chops all the luvvy-duvvy stuff and build up and we’re straight into the attack.

The reel commences with the Japanese planes launching from the aircraft carriers. “We have achieved surprise” an officer proudly proclaims to the Japanese admiral. Two small boys are shown witnessing the arrival of the attackers and then we switch to US Intelligence receiving warning of a possible attack on American soil.

The Zeros come raining down onto the US fleet launching torpedos and spraying bullets at everything. Even women running along nowhere near the ships are indiscriminately shot at. Cor they were a dastardly lot! In terms of the devastation it looks like a pretty accurate reproduction of what happened.

Ships blowing up, towers collapsing, planes being shot down: It just doesn’t let up. The amazing shot where the camera follows the bomb to detonation on one of the ships is also included which can make you feel a bit strange if, like me, you don’t particularly like heights. There are plenty of other outstanding shots but my favourites are once the pair of Americans are airborne in their inferior mosquito aircraft. World War 2 dog fights similar to those from ‘The Battle of Britain’ ensue and the camera work is excellent. From here though this is where the fiction takes over as the US fights back and starts shooting down Zeros in droves along with quips such as “Jap sucker”.

One minor critcism being that the end narration does not fade out which gives the impression of a rather abrupt ending. Apart from that it seems rather well edited. One thing is for sure, you’re more likely to want to run this extract than you would the complete feature.

This release boasts outstandingly sharp imagery and good colour. As usual with releases coming from a print rather than original negative this is slightly darker than it otherwise would have been but is not significant. Sound is pretty good but had a bit of wow on the review print. Looked even better at the BFCC on the cinema sized screen than it does on my 10 footer – and I walked right down to the front just to check it really is as good as it looks.

All action, exciting, special effects laden, awe inspiring entertainment running for approximately 18 minutes. Excellent.

Print A/A* Sound A- John Clancy