It was an interesting project and a valiant effort -- I'd rather watch this than Michael Bay's abominable "Pearl Harbor" -- but the two halves are stylistically unbalanced, creating a disjointed viewing experience. A cohesive vision, such as Eastwood's "Flags of Our Father" and "Letters from Iwo Jima", might have yielded a stronger overall film.
hard to quantify why I like this film as much as I do, it might be that it reminds me of the auto safety or health ed. movies we watched in high school on 16mm. good times. i'll bet I watched this too in history class and fell asleep.
The horror of Pearl Harbor has all of the propaganda stripped from it, and this US-Japanese co-production goes to some lengths to present it as an almost-laughable bureaucratic mess. After all this, the famous Japanese line "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve" make it seems more critical of the sum of US bureaucracy than any of the Japanese Geneva violations.
This was my first favorite film; the film that got me into film. I love it, the acting (with the exception of Martin Balsam) is pretty dated, but the action sequences are ten times better than anything Michael Bay could shit out. If only Kurosawa had stayed on the project to direct the Japanese episode!