New York Times - Some Upset by Twist
May 28, 2001 12:01 AM   Subscribe

New York Times - Some Upset by Twist "The movie does not give even a glancing reference to the scores of Hawaiian civilians — the youngest a 3-month-old girl — who were killed in the attack, most of them from friendly fire as antiaircraft rounds missed their targets and landed several miles away in Honolulu." Don't let Disney teach you history!
posted by sudama (22 comments total)
> Don't let Disney teach you history!

Don't let it try to entertain you, either.

mick'ey mouse adj. (often caps.)
1. trite; corny: mickey mouse music.
2. petty or trivial: mickey mouse activities.
[1935-40, Amer.; after the animated cartoon character created by Walt Disney, orig. with reference to the banal dance-band music played as background to the cartoons]

posted by pracowity at 1:23 AM on May 28, 2001

Is Pearl Harbor a Disney film? Touchstone,'s bad enough that Bruckheimer and Bay get to make movies after Armageddon (such a paragon of verisimillitude that was...) and now they mangle my birthday. (Yup, I was a Pearl Harbor baby...granted, thirty years later....)

I'm so not going to see this.
posted by Ezrael at 2:45 AM on May 28, 2001

Anyone who learns history from a hollywood movie (Disney or otherwise) is probably a blithering idiot to begin with anyways. It is called entertainment folks, nobody is forcing you to go see it.
posted by owillis at 3:06 AM on May 28, 2001

Disney owns Touchstone, Miramax (like Shakespeare in Love), and Hollywood Pictures(The Sixth Sense). there might be a few others, but I know those three at least are Disney owned.
posted by Cavatica at 4:23 AM on May 28, 2001

Went to see the Lord of The Rings trailer (SPOILERS!), and stuck around for the butt-numbing tripe that followed. Disney has definitely taken its historical liberties, and in addition it has wrapped it in the most unbelievable farce of a love story. Think of a cross between the inevitable disaster and sappy sentimentalism of Titanic, married to the very worst of the blind patriotism and rah-rah attitude of The Patriot. Still, sadly enough, there are probably many Americans who will learn their little bit about Pearl from watching this. Can't imagine foreign audiences swallowing this stuff though...
posted by kahboom at 6:32 AM on May 28, 2001

Man, tough crowd around here. I go to movies to be entertained, not to study history, and not to take notes on how to act, direct, or create special effects.

In my opinion Pearl Harbor was a good movie and fun to watch.
posted by Brilliantcrank at 9:17 AM on May 28, 2001

Really? You didn't think the love story was boring, trite and obvious, the secondary plots underdeveloped, the characters generic, or the last 45 minutes a big anticlimax?
posted by rodii at 10:37 AM on May 28, 2001

This debate happens all the time. Some people go to a movie "to be entertained" which often translates into special effects, and some people go to a movie to "over analyze", which translates into seeing it as an art form and treating it as such.

Just like some people don't look at a Van Gogh for more than 5 seconds, other people write essays on single works, and others opt for saying "My 3 year old could do that".

Someone who sees movies as more than cheap entertainment will be disappointed, (from what I can tell of the reviews) and someone who "just wants to be entertained" will oo and aah over ILM's special effects.

Of course, this don't account for the true audience: the teeny boppers who want to drool over the lead actors a la Titanic.
posted by jragon at 11:10 AM on May 28, 2001

The biggest reason that "historical" movies like Pearl Harbor are disturbing is that movies are much more powerful teaching tools than textbooks. (Assuming the historical accuracy is lacking because--full disclosure--I haven't seen the film.)

Houghton Mifflin will never be able to compete with Disney for instilling "historical" information into most people's heads, much less those belonging to kids. On the other hand full accuracy in a film is nearly impossible. So the key is for people to get smart and critical.

Like that's going to happen.
posted by thebigpoop at 11:14 AM on May 28, 2001

Well, the History Channel showcased Pearl Harbor on their History vs. Hollywood - you got to see most of the best parts of the movie as well as some decent discussion - and only an hour, vs. the three I wasted in the cinema (unfortunately, I had to see LOTR trailer standing at the door, I was getting refreshments). And yes - the history was pretty poor.
posted by caderoux at 11:16 AM on May 28, 2001

Heh... thebigpoop, have you checked any of our history textbooks for historical accuracy recently? Some of 'em are pretty far off... I beleive there've been studies done on that, but my 30 second search turned up a few topics about Science and Math textbooks here at MeFi, and a few about how Japan is re-writing their textbooks...

Basically, historical accuracy is being lost because people don't want to see the truth. They'd much rather see a cute, entertaining fiction. Even in our historical documents.
posted by SpecialK at 11:45 AM on May 28, 2001

Regrettably, many people do still take their history lessons from movies/television. My favorite PH story is the different version shown to japanese audiences. Though the close second is the edits they made at the behest of the Navy, who cotrinuted millions to the film. The prodcers have claimed, at times, that the movie was "all factual." Random Walks has a good collection of lins/info about this.
posted by jessamyn at 12:19 PM on May 28, 2001

I have no intention of wasting my time and money to see PH (LOTR trailer or not). Instead, I celebrated Memorial day by watching "Tora, Tora, Tora" last night. Anyone who thinks you can't learn history from a film had better check that movie out, and then research the event. You'll find it was amazingly accurate (funny how that happens when the Americans and Japanese combine their efforts and talent). And, having seen enough of the modern versions special effects just in the commercials and trailers, I have to believe that there is no way possible for Touchstone to outdo the literally explosive job of storytelling in "Tora, Tora, Tora". Just my two cents (which I saved by not paying for Disney tripe).
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:05 PM on May 28, 2001

Man, tough crowd around here. I go to movies to be entertained, not to study history, and not to take notes on how to act, direct, or create special effects.

I had a history teacher who taught using movies. Hopefully he won't replace Tora! Tora! Tora! with this movie. I swear, one semester we watched: Lawrence of Arabia, a ten video documentary on the first world war, Tora! Tora! Tora!, All Quiet on the Western Front, this really schizophrenic documentary about WW2, a video about the Holocaust museum in Washington DC, and Schindler's List.
posted by dagnyscott at 6:54 PM on May 28, 2001

I went to one of the "best" high schools in the US and we watched movie after movie, including a musical about the signing of the declaration of independence. This is the reality of public education in the US. That's why it's kind of distressing when movies purporting to be historical in nature turn out to be racist propaganda.

From the article:
"'Hawaii is not Minnesota,' said John Nagala, a senior at the University of Hawaii. 'I find it kind of funny in a sick way that the theaters aired the first showing at 7:55 to commemorate the time of the attack 60 years ago, but no one could figure out a way to show more than a split second's worth of local Hawaiians.'

Mr. Nagala's friend Sandra Hirohito said: 'Of course we realize it's quote unquote just a movie, and we realize that it was the worst attack on American soil in history. But would it have been so hard, given the budget of the film, to stick in a few more Hawaiian faces?'"

Given the budget, of course not. Consider the target market and it's another story altogether.
posted by sudama at 9:55 PM on May 28, 2001

Jeese, it's a movie not a biography..., What about all the people on the mainland effected by this? like all the Japanese-Americans put in our version of concentration camps?!, Are they supposed to make a sidestory about that too? And wait a minute... This just in Private Ryan was a fictional character too...
posted by danger at 10:02 PM on May 28, 2001

posted by rodii at 11:20 PM on May 28, 2001

We saw movies only in movie class, and we analyzed them critically. If kids are being shown Hollywood productions in history class, their teachers should be replaced.
posted by pracowity at 11:24 PM on May 28, 2001

"Are you anxious to die, soldier?"
"No, sir. I'm anxious to matter."

...I feel sick.
posted by MarkC at 3:55 AM on May 29, 2001

But they won't be, pracowity, as long as the football team's doing well. Then in a few years they get tenure and it's damn near impossible to fire them, come to think of it, unless you get an organized group of individuals freaky enough to scare the union. The only people who've been known to succeed in getting teachers fired are fundies.

I went to a suburban high school. It was supposed to be pretty good. Most of the students graduated, most of the ones who graduated went to college. We also watched movies of Moby Dick (the Patrick Stewart version) and The Scarlet Letter (not the Demi Moore version, but still) instead of reading the books in my American Lit class. In Exploring Tech we watched the From the Earth to the Moon series, The Right Stuff, Dr. Strangelove, 2001, and a bunch of random things from tv about racecars and the military. Oh, and some random discovery channel stuff to give us something to do when he was spending a week at Comdex in Vegas on taxpayer money. He was also a pervert.
posted by dagnyscott at 5:52 AM on May 29, 2001

Adam, you're not dissing "1776", are you? That was awesome.

New York abstains.... courteously.
posted by norm at 7:56 AM on May 29, 2001

Speaking of learning from the movies...
posted by Dick Paris at 9:57 PM on May 29, 2001

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