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In my essay, I will be comparing Tora! Tora! Tora! and Pearl Harbor. In the obvious sense, both movies were about the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor was made in 2001 by Touchtone Pictures and Tora! Tora! Tora! was made by Twentieth Century Fox in 1970. There is a big difference in the making of the movies, which means the special effects will be different and so will the context. But the story frame will be the same.
In Tora! Tora! Tora!, the movie was mostly based on the Japanese in planning for their attack in the pacific. The movie starts off with the Japanese navy members all lined up on the deck awaiting the arrival of Vice-Admiral Yamamoto, who studied at Harvard University, which is in Boston. He was the one who was setting up the attack, if the U.S. didn’t negotiate peace with them. In the U.S., they had a new system in receiving messages from the Japanese. This was called Operation Magic, and the U.S. decoded everything that came from Japan. There were 14 messages in the whole movie and the 14th was the most vital message because it let the U.S. know that the Japanese was going to attack Pearl Harbor on December 7th at 1pm their time. Now, towards the end of the movie, it seemed like the U.S. had a vague clue what the Japanese was going to do. But the U.S. wasn’t too worried about it. The radar on top of the mountain in the Hawaiian National Park spotted movement in the air about 140 miles away. The two privates working the radar called it in to the information center, but the commander there was like don’t worry about it. The Japanese was quite hesitant about this mission, because their main target was the U.S.’s main carriers which had left the harbor. They weren’t sure if they were going to be detected in the air field or not, if they were, they would have been shot down and the U.S. would have had time to prepare. But the main focal point in the movie was the Japanese and what they were going to do and plan the attack. This was more of a strategic movie, while in the movie Pearl Harbor, the main focal point of the movie was the two pilots, Rafe McCawley, Danny Walker, and nurse Evelyn Johnson. You can almost call this movie a love story until the end of the movie where the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, just like in Tora! Tora! Tora!. The remaining moments of both movies, Pearl Harbor was attacked.
Both movies had some similarities like the bombing of the harbor, some knowledge of what the Japanese was doing, and the colored cook shooting the machine gun and getting into the combat scene. The bombing of the harbor might have been the same, but the action sequence was totally different. Pearl Harbor showed many graphic scenes like blood and guts; this was because the movie was made in 2001 and that’s what people today want to see. They want action and gore. The explosions were realistic and so were the death. It was almost like they captured the real essence of the terrible attack. But in Tora! Tora! Tora!, the death scenes were minimal, I mean you could barely see any of the officers get killed, there was absolutely no blood and guts, and the explosions were like little firecrackers going off during a 4th of July show. There one big explosion in the whole movie. In Pearl Harbor, Cuba Gooding Jr. played the black cook, who was also a boxer. He had more of a role in this movie than the other black cook in the other movie. In Tora! Tora! Tora!, the cook was in the film for about five seconds and it was him shooting a big machine gun, and that was the end of him for that movie, but in the other movie, the cook was in it for about 30 minutes combined. He was in a couple of scenes. They showed him box, cook, he was with the admiral at the time he died and he told the cook to go fight with honor, and then they showed him fighting and when it was all over, he survived the whole ordeal.
The characters of both movies were mostly different because in Pearl Harbor, there were many characters that weren’t in the other movie, like the President, all of the admirals, and the Japanese officers. But in the other movie, the Japanese were heavily involved, as were the admirals, dealing with the code breaking operation. The U.S. seemed a little too calm when the harbor was attacked, not a lot of hustle at all, where in Pearl Harbor, all of the men seemed hurried and they were trying to get to their posts and defeat the Japanese. In Pearl Harbor, the love that McCawley had for the girl was similar to the love that the Japanese had in strategically planning and training for their attack in Tora! Tora! Tora!. There are three men who come close to having an individual impact. The first is Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (Soh Yamamura), the conflicted overall commander of the Japanese fleet. It is his duty to carry out the attack on Pearl Harbor, but, having studied at Harvard, he believes his country is underestimating the Americans and sees Japan’s bloodthirsty military as acting foolishly and presumptuously. The movie closes on his quote: “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” History, especially in the form of atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, would prove him to be tragically right. Col. Rufus Bratton (E.G. Marshall) and Lt. Commander Alvin Kramer (Wesley Addy) are two of the select few who are privy to the secret decoding room where the Japanese messages are intercepted. Throughout Tora! Tora! Tora!, Bratton and Kramer become convinced that the Japanese are planning a massive attack, but, while their superiors pay lip service to the warnings, the two industrious men are largely ignored. The film spends a significant amount of time with Bratton and Kramer, illustrating that the United States had access to information that might have prevented the tragedy at Pearl Harbor, but did not use it.
According to some critics, Tora! Tora! Tora!, was a more plot centered movie, than a character setting movie, it was informative, and it didn’t show the Japanese being the enemy. They thought that this kind of idea for a movie, where they show the planning and the situations in preventing the incident. It was a different kind of movie. The critics loved Pearl Harbor because of the action sequence and the story line of a couple of country boys who loved flying, falling in love and fighting at the same time. They thought that the movie was historically wrong and that veterans would be mad that they would make a movie like this.
Finally, the era of both movies were completely different. Pearl Harbor, was made in 2001, where everything is going to be different than a movie that was made in 1970. The graphics would be better in one movie, the content would be different, and the language would be different. Nobody back in 1970 made movies with excessive cursing and violence. But today people are outrageously different. People want violence and cursing, because it’s in their nature. They hear it, say it, and do it on a regular basis. But overall Tora! Tora! Tora! by far is the better movie out of the two, for history buffs. But these two movies do share some qualities that all people like, like the strategic planning, the violence, the action, and the theme. Those ideas are from both movies combined.
These two movies do share more differences than similarities dealing with the characters, themes, focal points, special effects, and the eras, but only one can be better.
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