As for mindless "insight," take the Heartbreakers DVD - please. Do we really need to be told, repeatedly, how many hours Jennifer Love Hewitt spent on her knees with her hair stuck in Ray Liotta's zipper?
One DVD that shakily straddles the line between innovative and inane is Pearl Harbor. Naturally, there's the requisite babe-on-a-tropical-isle video, with Faith Hill singing "There You'll Be" while sauntering among billowing parachutes in an airplane hangar. But this is more than compensated for by a documentary about the unsung heroes who survived the attack and struggled to save their fallen brethren or leapt to action.
Just as compelling, in its own strange way, is the behind-the-scenes documentary Journey to the Screen: The Making of "Pearl Harbor," which blends accounts by survivors of the attack with infotainment-style, on-the-set interviews with the director and stars. The melding of fact and fiction here is so deft that it inadvertently raises some interesting questions about the nature of heroism and heroic figures.
The tone is set from the beginning as we hear about all the work and special effects that went into making the movie as real as possible. The music swells as we see producer/director Michael Bay's head swivel to follow the flight of World War II-style planes overhead. Actor Ben Affleck describes the entire four days he spent at boot camp as "easily one of the most grueling" things he's ever done. Soon after, we hear actual veteran Richard Fiske poignantly describe the terror he felt watching the U.S.S. Arizona sink. "I have never known fear like that in my whole life," he says in a quiet voice, taut with emotion.
But such heartfelt descriptions of what it was like to see an island paradise transformed into the mouth of hell are trivialized by much of the documentary's focus on the moviemaking experiences of the actors - including Cuba Gooding, Jr., who recalls that during the filming "you really felt like you were in a war."
Copyright © 2013 Bonnier Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.