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Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 05:35 GMT 06:35 UK
Pearl Harbor flies into UK
Kate Beckinsale
Star of the film Kate Beckinsale arrives at the cinema
British star Kate Beckinsale has described the low-key British premiere of her movie Pearl Harbor as scarier than the multi-million pound event in Hawaii.

Disney reportedly spent £3.5m on the world première on board an aircraft carrier moored in Pearl Harbor, with thousands of guests, journalists and an air force fly-by.

Amanda Holden
Actress Amanda Holden turned up in red
The event resulted in huge advance publicity for the movie, helping propel it to the top of the US box office, becoming the most successful ever opening for a non-sequel film.

But the actress, daughter of 70s sitcom star Richard Beckinsale, said she was more nervous about Wednesday's low-key event in London's Leicester Square.

"This is much noisier and scarier than it was in Hawaii because it is Britain and my friends and family are all here," she said.

Thousands of fans gathered to see Beckinsale and her co-stars, American heart-throb Josh Hartnett and Trainspotting actor Ewen Bremner.

Press interest was high, despite a critical mauling for the movie
One fan, Ed, had already seen the movie.

"It's not that fantastic, I had high expectations - the battle scene is brilliant but the start and the end could've been better," he told BBC News Online.

He still liked it enough to come along specially to see the gala - though he was adamant that it was the producers and director he wanted to see.

The thought of seeing Kate Beckinsale was what pushed his friend Kane into joining him at the premiere.

Another, David, was also waiting for the actress.

"I'm pleased Kate Beckinsale got the part - she's very pretty but she's not all flashy glamour like Julia Roberts," he said.

But the biggest cheers were for Josh Hartnett, who got one group of teenagers so excited that they fell off their perches standing on the railings.

Natalie Imbruglia
Singer Natalie Imbruglia arrived in a dress to suit the good weather
Hartnett carried on the tradition of partially dressing down for movie premieres by wearing a pair of scruffy brown boots with a smart navy suit.

Fellow star Ben Affleck did not attend, as was rumoured earlier in the day.

Bremner said the screaming fans outside the cinema were "wild".

"People in Hawaii were much more reserved and there were no real fans there. Here it is kind of wild," he said.

Other celebrities attending the premiere included Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia, Royle Family star Ralf Little, actress Amanda Holden and comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner.

Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck did not attend the première
The film has received a mauling from US critics who have attacked the film's weak dialogue and heavy reliance on special effects.

But the reviews have not put thousands of Americans off, who spent more than £53m on it at the box office last weekend.

Pearl Harbor established the second biggest opening of all time, behind the $90.2m (£63.6m) gross for The Lost World in 1997.

Its producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, said the critics were entitled to their opinion but it was the public that mattered.

"The people are the ones who pay to see it and they have been doing so in large numbers in America. We hope it is the same here," he said.

In the film, Affleck plays Rafe McCawley, an American fighter pilot, who falls in love with naval nurse Evelyn Johnson (Kate Beckinsale).

An love triangle develops when his childhood friend and fellow fighter pilot Danny Walker (Hartnett) falls for her as well, after they both believe McCawley has died during an air battle in Britain.

Emotional matters come to a head as the Japanese launch their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

Fans' eye views
The film is "just a bit lame"

"I'm here for the adrenalin rush"
See also:

28 May 01 | Film
Solid start for Pearl Harbor
22 May 01 | Film
Pearl Harbor: Reliving history
25 May 01 | Reviews
Pearl Harbor sinks fast
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