Synopsis: During the heightened state of panic following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a U-boat arrives off the coast of California, and surreally madcap quirkiness ensues in the initially unrelated chaos.
• A very talented cast and relentless pacing help make up for the thin plot.
• There is a distinct attention to detail common in all of Spielberg’s work.
• Many sequences are incredibly elaborate, possibly featuring more stunts than many other Spielberg films.
• Overall fun to watch the madcap fervor.
• Spielberg’s style can seem subtly at odds with madcap comedy.
• Eddie Deezen can be a bit grating.
• The plot and story is rather thin.
• Might be a bit overlong, considering the thin plot.
• Perhaps a bit less then the sum of its very many parts.
Spielberg is not known for directing comedies. Indeed, 1941 and Hook (1991) may be the only ones with his directorial credit, and Hook is similarly reviewed poorly. Being a relentless madcap comedy, 1941 is rather unique. It has all the visual and auditory elements one would expect from the director: detailed set pieces, talented actors, memorable musical score. All told, it is a surreal ride, and not necessarily because it was made to be that way. 1941 is a wonderful experiment of a film that seems made to be the cult classic it is today.
Rotten Tomatoes — 36%