Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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'Pearl Harbor' is a gem


© St. Petersburg Times, published June 4, 2001

Movie: Pearl Harbor

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Rafe McCawley (Ben Affleck) and Danny Walker (Josh Hartnett) have been best friends since childhood. Now they are both Army ace pilots. Rafe falls in love with Evelyn Johnson (Kate Beckinsale), a Navy nurse, but is then sent away to England to help the British fight the Germans. After being notified about Rafe's apparent death, Danny falls in love with Evelyn. But, Rafe returns and isn't happy. In the midst of this dilemma, the Japanese plan and execute their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Rafe and Danny come together and fight for survival and for their country.

My view: This was a really good movie! Even though it was three hours long, I never found myself wondering if it would ever end. It just wasn't the movie I expected to see when I went into the theater. This film was much more of a love story than a retelling of the Pearl Harbor invasion. The invasion just happened to fit into the middle of the story of two best friends in love with the same woman. I definitely thought more of the movie would be focused on the raid itself. The scenes portraying the assault were brilliantly done but only took up about a third of the running time.

Favorite part: The sequence illustrating the attack on the harbor was exhilarating. It was amazing to see what actually happened out there. The special effects (and there were a lot of them) were awesome! Watching this film left me with a feeling of pure terror for what these poor soldiers experienced and a true appreciation for the survivors of this horrible chapter in history.

Least favorite part: I would like to have seen a little bit more of the battle and a little bit less of the love story, but I still thought it was great.

Recommendations: If you were planning on going to this movie for the sole purpose of witnessing a depiction of Pearl Harbor, that's not what you're going to get. If you are up for a good all-around film, though, this one's for you. Because of the graphic war scenes and the very long running time, I wouldn't recommend Pearl Harbor to anyone under the age of 12.

Grade: A-

Billy Norris, 13, will be in the eighth grade at Seminole Middle School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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