Midway Movie Review: As an ardent fan of War movies, I had my expectations sky high for Roland Emmerich's Midway. Also for the fact that the last war flick he directed was the 2000 Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger film The Patriot. I was pretty much stuck to the theatre's seat looking forward to experience being in a war hero's aircraft but the whole movie turned out to be a fallacy. Coming to the plot of this war drama, Midway narrates the true events coming straight from the History books of America during the bloody World War 2 era focusing just on the Naval tensions occurring in the Pacific.
The film starts strongly with the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese following the Battle of Midway Island (June 1942). It also covers the Doolittle's Raid on Tokyo (April 1942) and the Battle of Coral Sea (May 1942). Midway narrates the tale from the point of view of two brave American Officers, pilot Lt Dick Best (Ed Skrein) who heads the bomber squadron at Midway, and intelligence officer Lt Comm Edwin Layton (Patrick Wilson) who decodes Japan's tactical moves during the war. Midway: Dennis Quad Talks About Playing a World War II Veteran in Roland Emmerich’s Pearl Harbour Film.
Countering the Japanese forces, we meet some very pivotal American Naval Officers including Bull Halsey (Dennis Quaid) who led the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, Admiral Chester Nimitz (Woody Harrelson) Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet; Rear Admiral Raymond Spruance (Jake Weber) who took over the Enterprise for the Battle of Midway; Best's fellow aviators Lt. Comm. Wade McClusky (Luke Evans), Lt. Comm. Eugene Lindsey (Darren Criss) and Lt. Comm. Jimmy Doolittle (Aaron Eckhart); cryptographer Commander Joseph Rochefort (Brennan Brown) and Aviation Machinist Mate Bruno Gaido (Nick Jonas). Midway Trailer: Nick Jonas Starrer Roland Emmerich’s War Movie Based on the Pearl Harbour Attack Is Jaw-Dropping (Watch Video)
The Japanese are shown disciplined and well-focused about their military strategies. Each one of them is given an ample amount of screen time in the film as well. Call it the ferocious Officer Isoroku Yamamoto (Etsushi Toyokawa) who held the operations as the Commander in Chief was a strong catchy character. We also get to meet other Japanese officers and their own brands of leadership Rear Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi (Tadanobu Asano) who commanded and Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo (Jun Kunimura) who played their part seemingly well being the antagonists of the film.
No doubt the action sequences of Midway are a visual treat but so many underdeveloped characters are the major problem of this factual film. Well, Emmerich is known for films like 2012 and the 1996 cult hit Independence Day, but to be very honest Midway is just a big disappointment to his name. Except for Ed Skrein and Patrick Wilson's characters, nobody leaves an impact. The film is visually engrossing in parts especially on the Pacific battlefield where Firing Naval Ships and vintage aircraft flying escaping the enemies are well-shot. The aviation sequences particularly the dive-bombing last-minute escape from death by Dick Best were excellently presented for the spectators.
A major drawback of the film is its duration, 2 hours 18-minute long which not at all required. The feeling of revenge, the heroism and valour of these fighters are not much felt in Midway. I would call Michael Bay's 2001 film Pearl Harbor film way better than Midway despite boasting on the fictional characters. Also, Nick Jonas cameo is absolutely forgettable. A memorable character was Ed Skrein's on-screen wife Mandy Moore who light up the screen with her concerning nature. The film even tries to highlight the lesser ranked soldiers but the depth in their characters was missing. Its unimpressive background score is saved by Robby Baumgartner's scintillating cinematography. Full marks for Wes Tooke for his factual writing but Roland Emmerich's casual treatment to this script can be blamed on, This heroic tale is forgettable and you don't even remember the characters as soon as you walk out of the theatre.
- Ed Skrein and Patrick Wilson performance
- Action Sequences are a visual delight.
- The facts about the real War Heroes and series of events presented are spot on
- The production design is spectacular
- Only a few Emotional moments which is a huge minus.
- Some of the unestablished major characters is a big let down
- Lack of background score when required
- Not at all hard-hitting like some of the best war movies
- Planning War Strategies scenes don't give you chill
Midway had all the potential to be one of the greatest war films ever made. However, it suffers big time for not being up to the mark for all the right reasons. The fireworks and sparks are only seen on the screen, not in the heart of the viewers. After watching it you won't even remember the character names. If you are looking for facts and the series of events about the political rivalry of America and Japan during World War 2, then this film is tailor-made for you. If you looking to get impressed by some great dialogues and memorable scenes then strongly skip this, as it has none.