Midway, rated PG-13
Midway is a well-made, fast-paced war film about the naval battle that is considered to be the turning point in World War II’s Pacific Theater. The film, released on Veteran’s Day weekend, is directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) and written by Wes Tooke. The two hour and eighteen-minute film sticks to the historical details (no unnecessary fictional love stories etc. added), and had a budget of approximately $100 million.
The film takes us through the events in the first months of the war in the Pacific beginning with Pearl Harbor and culminating in the Battle of Midway in June 1942. The surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor and the resulting devastation is powerfully and soberly depicted.
The film focuses on many key characters, with two of those characters being American fighter bomber pilot Lt. Dick Best, played by Ed Skrein (Deadpool), who led his dive bomber squadron at Midway, and intelligence officer Lt. Comm. Edwin Layton, played by two-time Golden Globe nominee Patrick Wilson (Fargo, Angels in America), who with his code-breaker team predicted both the Pearl Harbor and Midway attacks.
The film splits its scenes between the perspectives of the Americans and the Japanese, with the locations changing often from scene to scene. Helpfully, the location, and later in the film the time of day, is put on the screen to assist the viewer. Being a fast-paced war film, there is not a lot of character development. Other key characters include three-time Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Messenger, The People vs. Larry Flynt) who plays Admiral Chester W. Nimitz; Vice Admiral William “Bull” Halsey is played by two-time Golden Globe nominee Dennis Quaid (This Special Relationship, Far From Heaven); Rear Admiral Raymond Spruance is played by Jake Weber; Lt. Comm. Wade McClusky is played by Luke Evans (Beauty and the Beast); Lt. Comm. Eugene Lindsey is played by Golden Globe winner Darren Criss (An American Crime Story); Lt. Comm. Jimmy Doolittle is played by Golden Globe nominee Aaron Eckhart (Thank You For Smoking); Best’s key codebreaker Commander Joseph Rochefort is played by Brennan Brown (The Man in the High Castle); and Aviation Machinist Mate Bruno Gaido is played by Golden Globe nominee Nick Jonas (Ferdinand). Golden Globe nominee Mandy Moore (This is Us) portrays Ann, Dick Best’s wife in a relatively small role.
For the Japanese Imperial Army, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is played by Etsushi Toyokawa, Rear Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi is played by Tadanobu Asano, and Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo is played by Jun Kunimura.
Themes in the film include courage, bravery, sacrifice, and mass war casualties. Content concerns include war violence, as much of the film consists of battle scenes, and some adult language, including abuses of God’s and Jesus’s names.
The film features a solid cast and excellent special effects in the battle scenes through the use of computer-generated imagery (CGI). The musical score, most noticed during the battle scenes, was by Harold Kloser and Thomas Wanker, both of whom worked with director Emmerich on the film 2012.
Midway is a well-made, fast-paced war film about the surprise Japanese attack on the Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii on December 7, 1941 and the events that took place afterwards. The film depicts a battle I wasn’t familiar with, and I’m glad I saw the film.