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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, August 24, 2001

'Pearl Harbor' DVD offers more gore

USA Today

When a DVD of the director's cut of "Pearl Harbor" reaches store shelves on Jan. 15, perhaps it should be retitled "Michael Bay's Retribution." It will be the version Bay wishes could have played in theaters.

An R-rated version of the story behind the Japanese air attack that launched U.S. involvement in World War II will be contained in the deluxe multi-DVD set ($39.99).

When "Harbor" (which was filmed partly in Hawai'i) opened in May, he expressed regret that the horrors were muffled by PG-13, the family-friendly rating required by his agreement with Disney. He said then, "I would have liked to have made this movie more violent."

Now he has. Although the 40-minute sequence of the actual bombing was the most praised in the film, "I think it will have more of a profound effect," Bay says. "The gore that has been interspersed gives you a moment to pause. It makes it more real."

Only four or five minutes will be added to the original's 183-minute running time, but scenes will be cut and replaced with more graphic alternatives that were shot at the same time. "There will be more R-rated setups in the hospital, the kind of stuff that unsettles the stomach. You'll see that a 50mm round can cut a body in half. You don't need a lot to get the point across."

The language will be stronger, including more slurs against the Japanese.

The love triangle involving nurse Kate Beckinsale and pilots Josh Hartnett and Ben Affleck will be downplayed, and the focus will shift to the men's friendship. "The DVD cut is more male-oriented," Bay explains. Hence, the addition of a shot of Beckinsale's derriere.

Other features in the DVD collection that has more than 12 hours of extras: audio commentary by Bay, the actors, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and members of the tech crew; a breakdown of the attack sequence; and a segment on the boot camp endured by the cast.

The video and DVD release of the PG-13 version will be available on Dec. 4, and both double sets (VHS, $24.99; DVD, $29.99) will include a documentary on the attack, plus the Faith Hill music clip "There You'll Be." Gift editions (VHS, $39.99; DVD, $49.99) will add a National Geographic special.

Bay is urging Disney to rerelease the R-rated version in theaters timed to the 60th anniversary of the bombing on Dec. 7. "It's a shame not to have a chance to see it on the big screen."

As the film closes in on $400 million worldwide, Bay is able to shrug off how "Pearl Harbor" has been labeled a disappointment. "It is all about people's perceptions." He also hopes that his director's cut will satisfy those who accused him of turning a tragic event into a bloodless video game. With the DVD market exploding, "This is where movies will maintain most of their life."