1941 (Collector's Edition)
Special Edition, Collector's Edition
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Spectacular is certainly the word for this utterly wild comedy epic directed by Steven Spielberg and nominated for three Academy Awards. Lavish effects sequences highlight this hilarious, all-star extravaganza set in Los Angeles just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when fear of a Japanese invasion threw the city into a state of Pandemonium. Screwball characters run wild on Hollywood Boulevard as manic servicemen, zealous store owners, teary-eyed girls and bickering Nazis are thrown together in this fast-rising comic souffle that even features a sendup of Spielberg's own Jaws opening.
Watching this director's cut, it's finally possible to see why the studio made Spielberg mercilessly hack up this comedy: it's a screaming movie (everyone screams a lot), and screaming movies do not need character development. So all those character-development scenes hit the cutting-room floor and, surprise, they were all critical to Spielberg's pace for the humor in this film. The screaming wasn't that funny then--and it still isn't--but what is funny are the reinserted development scenes, showcasing the now-evident sense of hysteria in the Los Angeles community, post-Pearl Harbor. A bunch of certified nitwits, and a few certified lunatics, act as if Tojo Hideki's entire Imperial force is just off the mainland. Actually, one Japanese submarine is, and it helps fuel the frenzy. John Belushi is Wild Bill Kelso, an insane fighter pilot, and Dan Aykroyd plays a conciliatory tank commander. Robert Stack's performance as General Stilwell, one of the best of the film, finally makes sense. Also fun for the numerous cameos, Spielberg's inside jokes, and John Williams's great score. --Keith SimantonSee all Editorial Reviews
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Top customer reviews
Fristly and most importantly the movie looks like it was filmed with a piece of gauze over it to put a hazy mist on everything for the whole movie. That is not the DVD, as others have mentioned, it is how it was filmed. With the resolution we are used to now, this haze is annoying in the extreme for me. It actually ruins the film to watch.
Secondly, although it's fun to look at the time frame and the actors and the scenery this movie simply careens from one situation to the next. There is no reason to have John Belushi's character plot in the movie but there it is. The lead protagonist is sublimated by the secondary actors - chief among them Dan Ackroyd. The secondary characters completely take over the movie and I no longer cared about the main plot if there was one.
It's fun to look at in spots but really Spielberg is out of control as a director here. View at your own risk and have fun.
Image quality is vastly improved over terrible DVD but some scenes are still fuzzy, but most likely intentionally on the part of the film makers.
As an aside, many of the events portrayed in the movie are based on fact, although obviously not as shown. Following Pearl Harbor there was indeed a Battle of Los Angeles, in which war nerves led to an all out flak barrage over the city during a false alarm (I think some UFO nuts still try to claim flying saucers were responsible). There were indeed Zoot Suit Riots in L.A., at least partially ethnically-motivated.
There are a lot of characters in this film: Dan Ackroyd, John Candy, Christopher Lee, even Lenny and Squiggy as Air Defenders! It's like my generation's version of It's Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. If you've never seen it you owe it to yourself to watch.
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I love the extended version better
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