Pearl Harbor: The Director's Cut Vista Series
For a director with a near-fetishistic love of sleek, macho gadgetry — and whose films rarely flirt with notions of brevity or subtlety — it’s fitting that Michael Bay’s World War II drama be given such an ostentatious DVD berth: On the four feature-packed platters of Pearl Harbor: The Director’s Cut Vista Series, ”Pearl Harbor” the film is treated with nearly as much reverence as Pearl Harbor the event. There’s plenty of material on both — historical documentaries, three commentary tracks (one of which features Bay and his college film professor, who seemingly loves just about every shot in the movie), and making-of specials, including a look at a pre-shoot training camp where a camouflage-covered, panting Alec Baldwin gets to play Army. But Bay must know that the heart of ”Pearl Harbor” is its awe-inspiring half-hour attack scene, with planes that zip and zoom with birdlike grace and where everything blows up beautifully (the new, R-rated cut unnecessarily restores some scenes of gore and violence). The effects-laden sequence is dissected from numerous vantage points — the film, behind-the-scenes footage, and storyboards — and for anyone wishing to skip the movie’s time-filling romantic triangle, it will no doubt be the go-to goodie. Of course, one wishes such loving treatment could be lavished upon a slightly better movie (that plodding first hour just gets longer on the small screen), but at least the true Pearl Harbor is analyzed in depth, never letting viewers forget about the real-life heroics that the movie version mined for box office gold. It’s a lot like watching E! and the History Channel simultaneously — albeit for a very, very long time.