Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Los Angeles Times:
Bay, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and the entire cast and crew have given us a Pearl Harbor to remember.
When no one's fighting, it's mostly a blindingly tedious soap opera, complete with an unexciting love triangle, a pushy musical score, a miraculous feat by a disabled character and an equally miraculous revival of one of the heroes.
Paul Clinton (CNN.com),
Bay's overdirection... makes Hallmark-card images of the young lovers against backgrounds of lush vegetation and fiery explosions, and the end results are oddly remote, lacking any real emotion.
A lot of people will rightfully be crowing about the technically astonishing battle scenes that take up over an hour of screen time. But getting there is a cliche-ridden, often laughable chore.
Bay takes the easy way out with this movie, shunning the real pain of the attack to concentrate on the shallow feelings of his stars.
The attack sequence in Pearl Harbor shows technical smarts to spare. Where matters of emotional and political truth are concerned, it's crude and jingoistic beyond compare.
New York Times:
Nearly every line of the script drops from the actors' mouths with the leaden clank of exposition, timed with bad sitcom beats.
New York Post:
The bulk of the three-hour epic is third-rate schmaltz that pays only lip service to history.
New York Observer:
The best way to see the movie is as I did: expecting nothing and being pleasantly surprised, and strangely moved, by Mr. Bay's audacity in filming his lovers in end-of-the-world close-ups, however briefly.
New York Observer:
Brawny but brainless, Pearl Harbor is another bloated, irresponsible example of history according to Disney-a lame juggernaut that falsifies the facts, assaults the senses and leaves you blind, deaf and soulless.
It blows up as good as anything movie technology has yet detonated, and it leaves you feeling absolutely, incontrovertibly numb.
Ships, planes and water combust and collide in Pearl Harbor, but nothing else does in one of the wimpiest wartime romances ever filmed.
Leave it to Bay and Bruckheimer to reduce one of America's biggest military tragedies into a three-hour avalanche of Kodak moments, and one of America's defining crises into a facile exercise in fake uplift.
For all the 118 actors listed, the movie offers almost no sense of authentic humanity. The faces the filmmakers plaster on their characters are as flat and stereotyped as those on war-recruitment posters.
Three hours and three minutes of guff and goo about the nobility of killing and/or being killed for arbitrary reasons.
Strangely, though, after all of the movie's manipulations and the big events, we don't get a sense at the end that we've accompanied the characters through a journey.
Globe and Mail:
The date that will live in infamy has been reduced to a movie that is mired in mediocrity.
Unfortunately, pasted around that stunning [action] sequence is a story so clogged with cliches of every description, so overblown, bombastic and agonizingly sentimental that it's hard to watch it with a straight face.
There's no dismissing the film, if only because it offers another long, loud example of how Hollywood remains the hagiographic spinmeister of American war history.
A starchy, overpowering helping of red, whiete and blue kitsch served up with piping-hot bombast.
Superbly marketed, Pearl Harbor is the very model of a modern blockbuster. Will it matter that almost nothing about its human drama rings true?
The effect of watching a Michael Bay film is indistinguishable from having a large, pointy lump of rock drop on your head. His new picture, Pearl Harbor, maintains the mood.
New York Daily News:
Pearl Harbor is a bomb, make no mistake. But the movie is such a noisy, persistent bomb that it is guaranteed to draw a crowd.
Better to wait until it's available on video and you have the option of using a fast-forward button.
An unremarkable action movie; Pearl Harbor supplies the subject, but not the inspiration.
From its opening calendar-art sunrise to the There You'll Be love theme that Faith Hill sings over the final credits, Pearl Harbor is deep-down phony.
Such a bloodless picture that it neither insults nor honors the memory of these soldiers.
Pearl Harbor is essentially Top Gun with period costumes and the campy homoeroticism in check.
The net result of this mighty effort is perhaps predictable: near total inconsequence.
The bombs explode brilliantly but the story is a bust in "Pearl Harbor."
The filmmakers are incapable of infusing history with soap opera immediacy.
For my money a much better heartbreaker, thrillmaker and tear-tweaker than Titanic.