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“Tora! Tora! Tora!” displays the events that lead up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, including the actual bombing itself. Directed by a Japanese crew and an American crew, each tell the story from their country’s point of view. This concept in itself, is what I think to be one of the major redeeming qualities of this film.

Tora! Tora! Tora!
Movie
The fact that the Hollywood system decided to choose an American director, Richard Fleischer and Japanese director, Toshio Masuda to direct their particular scenes is a sign of how America and Japan were able to “mend fences” 29 years later. I also think it displays the amazing power of forgiveness, even though we can’t forget the tragedy of Dec. 7, 1941.

The Japanese were portrayed with a large amount of color and excitement, while the Americans, were portrayed as “by the book”, “just doing their jobs” type of characters. At times, I felt that the Japanese scenes were directed better than those by the Americans, but overall, this is a fantastic piece of filmmaking. Although I enjoyed this summer’s “Pearl Harbor”, for what it was, a popcorn movie, if you are looking for a better, historically accurate film on the events, check this one out!

Video
This release of “Tora! Tora! Tora!” is actually a re-release of a previous edition. However, this time, Fox has taken the film and presented it in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen which looks great for a film that was made in 1970. Of course, I noticed several sequences which showed some grain and scratches, however, this would be due to the negative which is over 30 years old. The film featured a crisp picture, with solid colors, however, I am willing to give this film a little leeway.

Overall, the blemishes that do appear do not detract from the overall viewing experience.

Tora! Tora! Tora!
Audio
Fox has presented this new edition of the groundbreaking war epic with a 4.1 Dolby Digital track. Now for those of us that are certainly used to the outstanding 5.1 Dolby Digital sound of today, this one isn’t so bad. Overall, the audio sounds great, and once again, 30 years ago, I bet this film sounded outstanding. I did find myself having to turn the volume up a little higher than usual. Only after that was I able to clearly hear the dialogue and background noises. Not a stellar track, however, I wouldn’t say it was entirely terrible.

Extras
You want the background on the events of December 7, 1941? Well here you have it!
First, Fox has included a screen-specific audio commentary with American director Richard Fleischer and Japanese film historian Stuart Galbraith. At first, I wasn’t too interested in listening to the commentary. Quite honestly, I found it a bore, however, I stuck with it and there is a ton of fascinating tidbits that make this a definite must-listen commentary!

As a film historian, Galbraith has really done his research and is top notch. Fleischer contributes as well, although I didn’t think he was as interesting to listen to as Galbraith. I would certainly recommend this commentary, as it contains interesting information, for a particularly interesting time in history.

Next, there is a somewhat short featurette, at 22 minutes, called “Day Of Infamy”. This is a historical “documentary” on the bombing of Pearl Harbor and it features interviews with Naval Historical Center members. I must admit I was a bit disappointed in the length of this featurette, however, it was informative to see archival footage as well as hear the interviews of the members. I did want to hear and see more though.

Tora! Tora! Tora!
Overall
I think it's clear that Fox Studios was simply looking to cash in on the recent trend of WWII films, and with the release of “Pearl Harbor” this summer, a fantastic marketing ploy to get viewers to see the “definitive” film on the historical event. I found this film to be wonderful in its history, effects, and acting. If you are not a huge history buff, I would recommend this film as a rental...however, if you are fascinated with WWII history, then pick this up!


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