ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to parents and grandparents

Pearl Harbor (2001), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 53
CAP Influence Density: 0.84

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

PEARL HARBOR (PG-13) -- I doubt this flick will return its $140 million budget.

I was disappointed. Most of the 179 minute show seemed to be much ado in forming a love triangle than in sharing with us the truth about Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. This is not a movie about the more than 2,400 who died and the more than 1,000 injured in that attack by the Japanese government. It is a ... movie.

Pearl Harbor started out in 1923 Tennessee with footage of two young boys, Danny Walker (later by Josh Hartman) and Rafe McCawley (later by Ben Afflect) building a strong relationship as lifelong buddies. Danny's father was a crop duster burned out by warfare. After sneaking a few minutes in his father's plane, Danny and Rafe get an unexpected short flight. Then Danny gets a brutal beating from dad -- a fist to the face abuse beating. Then the writers had Rafe come to Danny's rescue - which seemed to be mentioned a lot - and clobbered Danny's dad with a two-by-four board, thus sealing the bonding between Danny and Rafe. What better imagery to portray lifelong friendship building than a young boy rescuing another from an abusive father. We get what we plant, folks. The scenery of Danny and his dad finally walking off arm in arm was not even a good mask.

In signing up for the army air corp we discover Rafe, now Lt. McCawley, suffers dyslexia and cannot read the eye chart. So, he cheats and memorizes the last line. Not fooled by his shenanigans, army nurse Lt. Evelyn Johnson (Kate Beckinsale) tells Rafe to read the bottom line of the chart like every body else but to read it backwards - every other letter. After a song and dance sob story, Rafe convinces Evelyn to pass his eye test ... and there begins the romance. But to get even and to let Lt. McCawley know where he stands, she gives him an intermuscular shot in a forceful manner in the place of greatest muscle density. While we are not subjected directly the glutei of Afflect, we are provided ample opportunity to witness the anatomy of the human male posterior -- more than once. In one case, the audience is subjected to full side male nudity (a sunburn victim). While embedded in a crop of ignominious weeds, a clever and touching (especially to Rafe's nose) romance does grow and eventually takes over the field -- until the bombs start to fall.

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Soon we see Rafe volunteering to be shipped off to England to help the Brits fight the Nazis. As a matter of duty, Lt. Col. Jimmy Dolittle (Alec Baldwin) tried to convince Rafe to not go, but would have gone himself if the roles were reversed. But neither Danny nor Evelyn wants him to go because it is real war over there. On their last night together before shipping off to England, Rafe and Evelyn start for her apartment but Rafe's honorable values took over and prevented the expected in a quite unexpected barrage of righteous morality. After a stint of aero-heroism, Rafe is shot down and presumed dead. And as buddies do, Danny took on the obligatory duty to take care of the girl if the hero does not come back. And that is precisely what Danny does -- and takes care of himself with her. Though no genitals are seen, intercourse is presented and an unwed pregnancy started.

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That describes about 75% of this 3-hour show. Interspersed with the romance and romantic treachery are clips showing the progression of Japanese aggression -- the very reason for Pearl Harbor as a warfare landmark; the very reason for the title of this movie. Then Rafe appears, tries to claim his "prize" then the war begins. Noteworthy is the performance of Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Dorie (Doris Miller), a Navy cook's aide. Though forbidden by the Navy to operate firearms, Dorie manages to operate anti-aircraft ordnance and downs two Japanese planes.
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After about half an hour of computer-aided warfare and war gore, the famous Dolittle raid takes both Rafe an Danny to Tokyo for the "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo." But this time, Danny does not come back.

Of the secular reviews I've read, none have had much of any good to say about Pearl Harbor. Though I am not qualified as a movie critic and am not schooled in making films or screen writing, I agree with them. The center of this film -- the Pearl Harbor tragedy -- could have been taken out and the film would have been nearly the same. It was a lot of hype to make a buck, capitalizing on a gut-wrenching, heart-ripping period of our history. I doubt this flick will return its $140 million budget.
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Of probable concern to parents and grandparents are the sexual matters including the masked intercourse, the several instances of brief rear male nudity, the full side male nudity, and the sexual innuendo. Suggestive eye movements, camera angles to force the viewer on private anatomy and inappropriate touch may be of concern as well [1Tim. 4:12]. Also of likely concern are the most graphic deaths, injuries and battle-related horrors. Within the violence envelope was forced contemplation of life over death: the life-death decision making under triage procedures by the medical crew -- the "setting aside" of those with mortal injuries to die in favor of those with treatable injuries. While triage is indeed a battle reality, we get enough death and dying in Death & Dying in public schools. We don't need any more with an entertainment mask. And whether our 13-year old and younger kids need to see bodies being piled atop each other or seared walking corpses is mom/dad's choice. And they who have said every teenage combat-capable male should see this kind of "reality" (typically adolescents in our experience) should ask if dad would find real file footage showing the real reality, not Hollywood's mockery of it [Ps. 101:3]. BUT, whether a child (which includes uncleaved teens) is exposed to this kind of "entertainment" is up to mom and dad, not Hollywood usurpers. And with this service I am giving back to mom/dad that authority which the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and advertisers have stolen. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section itemizes what I found.

With a CAP Final Score of 53, this PG-13 movie fell just under the bottom of the CAP scoring range earned by PG-13 movies (55 to 67) -- just one point under the top of the CAP scoring range for R-rated movies (54 and below). Thus, it is an "R-13" but a lite "R-13" almost entirely due to violence and language. The CAP Influence Density figure of 0.84 is relatively light for typical war/action R-rated movie due to the extraordinary length of the movie and its dominating weight in romance-related issues.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ].
  • 1Tim. 4:12 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. [Extended application: Don't let servitude to the lusts typically associated with youth give people cause to look down upon you. Live a pure and righteous life including clean speech, wholesome lifestyle, responsible love, and sexual purity (abstinence), so they will have no cause. Be a beacon for His Truth and Light.]
  • Ps. 101:3 I will set no wicked thing [worthlessness, ruin, destruction] before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside [cause to swerve, to fall away]; it shall not cleave to me [cling, stick, stay close to me, influence me]. NOTE the unity of the Bible -- this verse does NOT say "...hate THEM that turn aside." It says "...hate THE WORK (or behavior) of them..." Complete unity with the teachings of Jesus who had not yet come.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: Pearl Harbor (2001) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • physical abuse of son
  • young boy beating assailant father
  • detailed air battle horrors sequence
  • long battle sequences with many graphic deaths
  • many graphic injuries
  • many bodies
  • entrapments with inevitable death
  • many dying from injuries
  • piling of dead bodies atop other dead bodies
  • bombing raid terrors
  • small arms fire deaths in combat, many close range
  • life-death decision-making

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 33 use of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • verbal abuse of son
  • open urination
  • cheating

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • adults in underwear
  • brief instances of rear male nudity
  • full male side nudity
  • suggestive eye movement
  • sexual innuendo
  • camera angle to force viewer on private anatomy
  • inappropriate touch
  • intercourse (masked, no genitals)
  • sexual implications
  • revealing wear
  • unwed pregnancy

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking
  • smoking
  • booze
  • barroom drunken brawl

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • 8 uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 11 without

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted (all warfare deaths are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime)

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I aplaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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