Midway (2019) Poster

(2019)

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10/10
10 Stars from 26-year Navy veteran
subcmdr10 November 2019
If you want to bypass the quibbles and get straight to the meat of this review, please skip to my last paragraph.

The Battle of Midway is a story that's well known to most Annapolis graduates of my generation and earlier. The battle was a key inflection point in World War II, perhaps the pivotal moment changing the course of the Pacific War.

Although I loved seeing Henry Fonda as Nimitz in the 1976 version of "Midway" (Fonda was to play Nimitz in "In Harms Way" as well), unfortunately, I found that movie to be surprisingly dull, historically inaccurate, unnecessarily melodramatic, and generally not very good.

Because my experience is that more recent movie renderings of historical subjects usually don't improve the historical accuracy (I'm thinking of 2001's God-awful Ben Affleck "Pearl Harbor" vis-à-vis 1970's "Tora Tora Tora"), I did not have high hopes for this new "Midway."

I was wrong.

In short, "Midway" is a terrific movie. Not only does it get the history (mostly) right, it's a tight, elegant, and superb rendering that does the historical figures proud. It succeeds to pack way more into its 2 hour, 18 minute run length than you can imagine. It covers the attack on Pearl Harbor, the PACFLT-Washington tension & dynamic, Nimitz's ascension to command of the Pacific, LCDR Layton's contribution to the intelligence picture, Joe Rochefort's robe-wearing genius, Yamamoto's soul-searching, Halsey's tenacity, the ascendency of naval aviation, a tiny bit of the submarine contributions to the battle, and-oh yeah-the actual battle itself, to include the incredible, unbelievable jaw-dropping (but true!) heroism of our Yorktown and Enterprise naval aviators. And it does all this justice, in a superb bit of moviemaking.

Can a 26-year Navy veteran like me find nits to pick on? Of course:
  • I saw a few collar devices that weren't pinned on right (I'm talking about you, Layton!)
  • At least one scene that is historical legend but didn't really happen
  • The substantially underrepresented submarine role in the battle (being a submariner, perhaps my biggest regret)
  • Some Annapolis grads wearing their class ring on the wrong hand (tradition has us wearing our rings on our left hand, not the right)
  • Sailors not "squaring away" their Dixie cup hats the way they would have back then
  • I wish the Pearl Harbor officers' club was as nice as they portrayed it in the movie!
  • They placed a non-existent cemetery on Pearl Harbor's Hospital Point
  • Kimmel didn't watch the attack from the Pacific Fleet headquarters, he watched it from his office on the Pearl Harbor submarine base (which later became my office and is on the national register of historic places)
  • They would not have worn their service dress khaki in the Officer's Club-- they would have worn service dress whites (chokers)
  • The band in the O-club would have been locals not sailors (they missed an opportunity to have somebody like Gabby Pahinui playing!)


But the good stuff way exceeds the nits:
  • They got the Pacific Fleet headquarters right-- it's not the Pearl Harbor shipyard commander's building
  • They got the torpedo failures right-- torpedoes were terrible early in the war
  • They got the Yorktown repair in 48 hours in Drydock 4 in the Pearl Harbor shipyard right-- the shipyard rendering was near perfect
  • They got the code breaking room in the basement of the PACFLT headquarters right (when I was stationed there the room was being used to store furniture and I petitioned to get it on the national register of historic places)
  • It might have been a lot of CGI, but it was really good CGI. They rendered Pearl Harbor almost perfectly. I could even make out my Ford Island house from my time as commodore, as well as a historically accurate rendering of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, the Pearl Harbor submarine base, and of course, the ships and planes.
  • Something I never thought I'd hear myself say: Woody Harrelson was superb as Nimitz. He's no Fonda, but he was understated and believable, the way I've always seen Nimitz in my mind. Not a casting idea I would have thought of, but it worked!
  • Except for the collar device issue listed above, the uniforms were exactly right for the period, from the flat shoulder boards that were being used in that era, to the beaten-up look the ship's laundry would have given Service Dress Khaki, to the way the sailors were dressed, to the way the pilots wore their wings, etc.
  • It even brought out the fact that movie director John Ford was on Midway doing a documentary when the battle went down. The fact that Ford volunteered for the Navy, saw battle, and was injured, while John Wayne remained (in his mind) safely at home, become a point of tension between the two men, with Ford being one of the few who felt comfortable belittling Wayne for his lack of service as the years went by.
  • I really liked the outtro mini-bios of the real characters at the end. I didn't learn anything new there, but thought they were extremely well done.


In the end the 2+ hours flew by for me. It was so good, I plan on seeing it again next weekend. What a terrific way to celebrate Veteran's Day.

Of course, Roland Emmerich's prior movies have been, on the whole, simpleminded blockbusters. But this time he took a risk by doing something thoughtful, respectful, accurate, and artistic. The only way to ensure movies like this continue to be made is for the public to show we care about history and accuracy, and to make this movie a success. I very much hope it does well. Then maybe we have a chance of getting the right movie made about the Indianapolis.

A final thought: I've been disgusted by many of the cynical, snarky reviews written by professional movie reviewers, many of which sneer at the bravery of the warriors depicted. Yes, the dialog in this movie is sometimes simple, tired, and trite. A few of the characters are not well developed, particularly the women. It's perfectly appropriate for reviewers to criticize elements of moviemaking. One reviewer made fun of the line of dialog where Best says "This is for Pearl Harbor." There is nothing silly or unreasonable about that line. You can bet one of the pilots actually said something like that that day. As somebody who survived 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, when I later went to Afghanistan, you can bet if I had the chance to do so I would have said, "This is for Gerry DeConto," one of my friends who didn't make it out that day. But many these sneering reviewers have gone on to say to readers that because of these weaknesses, they should not see "Midway." Keep in mind that there were similar elements of Spielberg's "Lincoln" that could be considered inaccurate and/or over-the-top movie-making (most of the scenes depicted in Congress, for example), but on the whole the events portrayed in that movie are important for Americans to understand. Same is true here. So the point I want to make is this: a movie can have elements of poor moviemaking, and yet be an important movie for viewers to watch. "Midway" is one such movie. It depicts a poorly understood event in American history, but one that Americans should be exposed to. The events depicted, and the people depicted, are real. They really did these things. The bravery was real. Americans need to know this, and reviewers who have likely never risked anything in their lives should have the good graces not to sneer at those who have.
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8/10
Account of Crucial Naval Battle in Emmerich Style
3xHCCH29 October 2019
This film is a straightforward retelling of the events in the first months of the War in the Pacific beginning with Pearl Harbor and culminating in the Battle of Midway (June 1942). In between, it also touched on Doolittle's Raid on Tokyo (April 1942) and the Battle of Coral Sea (May 1942). The story was told mainly from the point of view of two American soldiers, namely pilot Lt. Dick Best (Ed Skrein) who led his dive bomber squadron at Midway, and intelligence officer Lt. Comm. Edwin Layton (Patrick Wilson) who with his code-breaker team predicted the Midway attack.

Along the way, we meet other famous American soldiers: Admiral Chester Nimitz (Woody Harrelson) Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet; Vice Admiral William "Bull" Halsey (Dennis Quaid) who led the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise; 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).

The side of the Japanese Imperial Army and their unique military culture were also given fair screen time in this film. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (Etsushi Toyokawa) of the Imperial Japanese Navy and the Commander in Chief of their combined fleet, was portrayed with calm and quiet dignity. We also get to meet other Japanese officers and their own brands of leadership Rear Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi (Tadanobu Asano) who commanded the Hiryu with nobility, and Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo (Jun Kunimura) whose controversial battle decisions had negative impact against the Japanese campaign.

The execution of the critical battle scenes are the main draws to watch this film. Director Roland Emmerich will always be remembered as the man who brought us "Independence Day" (1996) and "2012" (2009). Of course, there are big explosions and massive destruction here as well. The massive scenes showing fiery exploding seacraft and aircraft were rendered with crisp cinematography and meticulous visual effects to create impressive screen spectacles. The aviation scenes, particularly the dive bomber runs by Dick Best, were excellently staged, shot and edited to elicit an exhilarating rush.

For its 2 hours 18 minute run, the story of the crucial naval battles and the heroism of its real-life protagonists were front and center here in "Midway." There were no fictional characters or cheesy love stories like in the first "Midway" film or "Pearl Harbor." While seeing some popular young actors like Criss or Jonas can be distracting, the all-star cast generally rendered honor and respect to the heroes they portrayed. Focusing on soldiers of lesser rank allowed for some intimate personal drama in actual battle situations, perhaps with not much depth as possible. As this movie is rated PG, so do not expect to see graphic injuries at the level of "Saving Private Ryan."
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9/10
Hollywood actually made a decent war movie without pushing a political agenda
brian-carter-110-62555310 November 2019
This is probably the first time in over 50 years Hollywood made a solid war movie without inserting a sappy, contrived romantic sub-plot, pushing some radical political agenda, or re-writing history. The movie is good. The dialogue is believable, natural, and convincingly delivered in almost all cases.

While no movie is perfectly accurate historically - historians don't even agree on much, so who is to say - the few errors here are trivial and immaterial to the how events progressed. As somebody who is a buff on this period of the early Pacific war - reading every book by Prange, Lord, and many others - I was very impressed.

I went into this movie expecting the worst from Hollywood, but this was their best historical piece in generations. Even the casting seemed to echo the real people in looks and demeanor.

The Japanese point of view wasn't neglected either. While I can't say whether the Japanese dialogue was believable or well-delivered, by all outward appearances this acting was also top notch. The similarity between the real Admiral Nagumo and the actor was particularly striking. They made the right call in using solid Japanese actors speaking Japanese.

The accurate portrayal of the friction between the Imperial Navy and Imperial Army with Emperor Hirohito almost powerless to restrain the militarists was very refreshing. This was a very important, complex contributing factor to the war. Few outside Japan and some narrow historical circles ever learn about this dynamic.

About the worst I can say about this movie is the pace was too fast. Unless stretched into an 8 hour mini-series, I can't imagine they could have avoided this. With my background, I could fill in gaps and context the movie seemed to miss. Others might be left confused. Even though not well-read on this chapter of history, my spouse followed the storyline without issue and really enjoyed the movie as entertainment.

Kudos to the producers, writers, actors, and entire crew. This was a job well-done and a fitting tribute to heroes like Layton and Best.
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5/10
Can't get on board with the positive reviews
rbstern18 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
First, I'll agree that the filmmakers got a lot of details right: The timing of the U.S. attacks when the Japanese were caught in the rearming process. The poor performance of the Devastator TBD. Faulty torpedoes. The politics of the Japanese military. The fast turn-around getting Yorktown out to sea again. And lots more.

But the errors, embellishments and omissions were glaring: The Marshal Islands attack was ridiculously inflated. The Kamikaze hit on Enterprise during that battle (complete with Nick Jonas saving the day) never took place. The complete absence of American fighter planes on the American carriers. American attackers going in and facing anti aircraft fire without having first been jumped by Zeroes, and the missing dogfights via F4F fighter escorts. SBDs blowing Zeros out of the sky. Taking the time to depict John Ford as a brave movie maker on Midway, yet not showing Marine Fighter Squadron 221, flying antiquated equipment, going out to meet the incoming Japanese attackers against overwhelming odds and pretty much getting slaughtered. Yorktown's involvement in the battle reduced to one scene where she is burning, depicted from afar. The Nautilus getting depth-charged U-571 style. The ships in both fleets in such tight formations, it's more like a photo op than a battle formation.

So many worthwhile details that could have been made right in the same screening length, if they would have simply ditched the goofy Doolittle sequence. I love Aaron Eckhart, great actor, but his scenes in China had no place in a movie called "Midway," if the price was cutting out major elements of the Midway battle.

Maybe I'm being picky, but when they go out of their way to glorify John Ford, while leaving out a squadron of Marine fighter pilots that sacrificed themselves so valiantly, it just strikes me as typical Hollywood b.s.
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5/10
Unbelievable
sme327 November 2019
Abundant, not-quite-realistic computer-generated images make Midway look more like a video game than a depiction of real-life events. The overuse of subpar effects is the most dominant - but hardly the only - problem dogging this film. Epic war stories are difficult to tell without focusing on a few characters. This film unsuccessfully juggles too many plot threads and too many characters to keep an emotional anchor to the simulated events unfolding. Woody Harrelson is outstanding, but other cast members cannot overcome the limitations of the material and the challenges of acting on computer-generated sets.
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10/10
GREAT WATCH!!!!!
rhease9 November 2019
I am a veteran and this was a hit. The special effects were good and I don't understand why people were saying it was too much. The characters were evenly played out in the movie and there was no stupid romance part that was in the last Pearl Harbor movie. It told the story amazingly and it dived right into what it's all about. You don't need too much character development to tell a story of four people during that time. It was such a great watch and I Definatley recommend it. It ranks up there as we were soldiers! It's been a long time a good war movie came out and this was it. And when you see other reviews about it's a disgrace to veterans don't listen to those reviews. Obviously they haven't been through tough times such as how these people lived. I was in live fire so I can compare. Enjoy the movie is amazing!
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8/10
More than you'd expect
xhalonick9 November 2019
Critics are trashing this film, I went into it skeptical. After, I'm not so sure why. They tell a simplified story of the events leading up to, and eventually the battle of midway. You get to see two sides of life, the Japanese and the American forces. The script is fine, acting is pretty good in my opinion as well (shout out to Dennis Quaid, he is a great salty kinda guy). CGI was not that bad, especially for fast paced scenes. Only complaint is it is a bit long, which I understand due to how much they wanted to include. But there were 2-3 times I thought it might end, but there were still a few minutes left. In the end, a solid war movie that, in my opinion, does a great job showing some brutality of war, in addition to brothership and slice of life of the time. A solid film to honor the brave men and women that died for a better future.
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6/10
Both good and disappointing - depends on the target audience
jimschultze10 November 2019
As someone very knowledgeable about the subject, I was somewhat disappointed. Whether it was the wrinkled uniforms, the painful dialogue, the over-the-top dramatics and exaggerated explosions (hey, it's Emmerich!)... it was clear the film was not made for people like me who know the details and the characters very well.

The rating depends greatly on the target audience. It's clear this film was made for a younger audience, and as such, it does a very good job of conveying the history quite accurately. It's a lot to take on with a 2:20 movie (complete with a 6-month summary of events leading up to the title battle) and it does a fine job of that.

Correct history of this great nation tragically just isn't taught anymore, so I heartily applaud any effort to do so. I just wonder if younger audiences have any desire to learn it. So if I'm rating from that perspective, it jumps up a few points.

I just wish a little more care with the details and script had been taken to leave the older audience satisfied from our knowledge level.
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10/10
Excellent Movie and Historically Accurate
atomsmasher39 November 2019
This is an excellent historical portrayal of the Battle of Midway, and some of the events that led up to it. There is a lot of intensity throughout the film, and it shows how some of the decisions on both sides were truly a gamble in that time. There were no satellites, gps systems, or sophisticated radar systems. The only missing pieces to this movie, as noted by others, is the lack of US fighter planes. Maybe it is intended to focus mainly on the Dauntless pilots. I took my wife and kids to see this movie, as it seems much of the history of this country is being forgotten. I am so glad I did. The kids had no idea that any of this happened. As for the critics that wrote negative reviews and trashed this movie, I think attributes to a lot of what is wrong with this country today. People who decided not to see this movie, on Veterans Day weekend, based on the critics reviews, are truly missing an excellent movie. This movie is historically accurate, with no lame love story, or fictional substories.
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1/10
Greenscreen videogame
gizwiz123 March 2020
Twelve minutes in to the movie including the studio wipes I'd had enough. Movies are not video games and this movie could not look more fake. The CGI is completely unbelievable, real life does not look like this. Greenscreen is killing the look of movies and Midway leads the parade in bad execution. I have no idea what the story winds up being. Heard some really stupid, period artificial dialogue which didn't give much hope for the rest of the script. I'll take back the remaining two hours and six minutes for something better to do before I waste it on this thing.
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5/10
Too much bad CGI
bartdereu4 January 2020
All i can say is this : it's typical when an american history story is put into a movie it gets descent scores. This movie is not bad, but the quality of the CGI for a 2019 movie is just not good enough.
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6/10
Historicaly correct but visualy not
todorgergely11 November 2019
I'm just coming from the cinema, Midway is a worth to see movie, but the filmmakers used a bit too much CGI, sometimes you feel like watching a Medal of Honor game trailer.
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3/10
Just don't bother
shnames8726 December 2019
Oof this movie had a lot of potential and was a bigger disappointment than I was expecting. It had so much going for it too that it should have been much better than it ended up being.

The movie had its good points along with its draw backs though. The cast of this film was outstanding and I was pleasantly surprised every time a new big name actor popped up on screen, I was really not expecting that. But even with all that star power the movie fell short, the overwhelming cast is really the only big positive for this film and the general historical story that it told.

The movie does cover much much more than just the battle of Midway and jumps around quite a bit. That wasn't bad necessarily but it left you trying to follow lots of major events that happened during World War 2. This could be perfectly fine if done a little better but over all was not the end of the world.

The two biggest things that were the downfall of this movie were the main character and the general look of the film. Ed Skrein is absolutely abysmal in this movie, his acting was bad, the depiction of a historical figure was terrible and the fake accent he was trying to do was just grating in all regards. He was such a bad choice for this film and brought down the stellar performances of all the much more seasoned and proven actors who were in this.

The movie is almost all done CGI which was to be expected after all but it looks so cartoonish and bad. The entire time I was watching it I was wondering how this new film could make this all look so bad when it had been done in the past and looked so much better. The best example would be Pearl Harbor from 2001. That film used CGI as well but it looked so much better. I wish who ever had been in charge of visuals for that movie had done this one too. It took you out of the epic events that they were showing.

If you are in the mood for a good World War 2 movie look else where. I have no intention of ever seeing this again and viewed it as more a wast of time than anything else.
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3/10
Entertaining for 9 year olds... dull for the rest of us
mxt-thomas-966-54149711 November 2019
So my boys (9) liked it... especially the action sequences. I on the other hand didn't. Some good stars but all lacking any sense of believable performance, with a script that lacked narrative, coherence or direction just lots of cliches and other words. Given the Historic event and the heroism associated with it, just how Emmerich managed to produce something so uninspiring and lifeless is beyond me. The back and forth between the front and the home is laughable. Cardboard cut out Japanese characters and superficial un-engaging American heroes were boring, the action sequences overblown and exaggerated up-to and including planes flying through wave tips and the wreckage of other planes only to emerge unscathed, combined to stretch credibility to beyond breaking point. 2hrs and 18 mins of my life that I will never get back.
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4/10
With Great Expectations Comes Disappointment
ymyuseda13 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Rating 4.0/10 I had high hopes for "midway" war between America and Japan, unfortunetly this movie goes to war of the bored. With the epic status that this movie was advertised with, it was a supreme disappointment. You will willingly sit through this movie but when it's over you'll feel like you wasted two hours. The action and special effect was okay. But the movie is somewhat claustrophobic. The acting was okay even if at times the script seemed daunted. In the end, If i had to describe midway in one word it would be disappointing.
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1/10
Not good
blood-adam14 August 2020
While mostly historically relevant, the acting is trite, the visuals are cartoonish (and not accurate), and the courtside drama is unnecessary and detracting. I have no idea why this movie was made.
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3/10
Pure Tripe.
molinyc7 September 2020
Finished watching "Greyhound" and decided to binge on war movies by watching "Midway". The contrast between these 2 movies could not have been more stark.

Hokey dialogue with cheesy acting to match. What an embarrassing movie - when Woody Harrelson made his first appearance I should have just turned it off.
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9/10
ABSOLUTELY SEE IT
mcsterg12 November 2019
I've read several of the critical reviews of "Midway"; they seem to reveal more about the cattiness of the reviewer than any understanding of the movie, or its message. I am part of the growing legion of American moviegoers who have pretty much given up on Hollywierd having any clue how to convince me to actually care enough about any of their offerings to part with the price of admission. I can wait a few months till they show up free on Youtube to confirm my suspicions that I haven't wasted my money. I made the rare exception this weekend to see "Midway", because I'm a history buff, and the previews I'd seen showed promise that the story would be properly told. That said, I went in with the full expectation that it might fail my already low expectations. Happy to say that it far exceeded my best hopes. Roland Emmerich has put together a gripping storyline that manages to get in all the important elements of an epic story in 128 minutes. For the story of the American victory at Midway is an epic tale that every American should become familiar with. Few Americans today can fathom what dire straits the US found itself in in 1942: Our battleships lay in twisted ruins on the bottom of Pearl Harbor; we had four aircraft carriers facing a Japanese navy with twelve, equipped with aircraft which were far superior to anything that was then available to American fliers; those aircraft were piloted by experienced men who had honed their craft in four years of war in China. We helplessly watched as thousands of American soldiers, sailors and Marines in the Pacific Islands and the Philippines were made captive, beyond the reach of our aid. All the Japanese had to do was to concentrate on Midway, overwhelm our inferior naval and air forces, and Hawaii and the West Coast would be wholly at their mercy. The essayist Matthew Arnold once said, "Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is all anyone needs to know about style." Emmerich follows his advice. No actors involved in "Midway" will be nominated for an Oscar. Which is another way of saying that there are no star turns which detract from telling the story. I will say that the actors are very believable in their roles; as the son of a Marine who fought in the Pacific, I found their portrayals pretty convincing. I'm firmly of the opinion that CGI effects are overused to distract from thin or non-existent plotlines. I credit Emmerich for using them to reinforce an already strong narrative. To those critics who found them overpowering, I inquire: How in hell do you think the shock of modern warfare registered on the men who actually faced it at Pearl Harbor and Midway? They called it "shell shock" for a damned good reason.
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6/10
Just an OK movie
jrougeux-7128617 November 2019
Overdone special effects. The story was historically accurate but the plot was pretty boring. Maybe they tried to cover too much time in one movie. The 1976 Midway was much better
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10/10
what a great solid movie
kenneth-chang-usa10 November 2019
Agree with other reviewer, this is the best war movie in a long time, it went through three historical events, attack on pearl harbor, doolittle Tokyo air raid and battle of midway linked together with a human story of a dive bomber pilot, and what a great history/story telling it was. The beginning of the massive Enterprise aircraft carrier, shaking the theater with the Dolby sound has the feel of Star War IV Battle cruiser opening scene, and a tight story line and pace ensues. The CGI is the best, you don't see AT-6 Texan painted as Zero fighters, you don't see modern warships disguised as battle-hardened WW2 ones,from this point forward I predict we will see more movies with period-correct war machines. The movie has moments that make you sigh (dud torpedo that hit but didn't explode, bombs missed after pilot braved through clouds of flaks) and cheer (bulls-eyed on the giant Sun on the deck, and chain explosion of the littered ammos because of tactic confusions), this is Hollywood at its best in rare moments, no over lingering love story, no cliche stereotyped GIs, what you have are characters in a war trying to survive, trying to outsmart the other side, and trying but dying ... you can read about those three events before or after the movie, but for me, I enjoyed a great movie, finished till the credit ends and walked out feeling great, grateful and blessed as an American.
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8/10
A commendable effort but needs a longer directors cut - RELEASE IT PLEASE
azanti00298 November 2019
Midway is well made thrown back to the historical war movie epics of the 1960s and 1970s, covering a wide spectrum of elements that made up a key moment in history. It's not a perfect film, but its one of the best of its type to be made in a good long while.

What MIDWAY provides us with is an ensemble piece narrative story covering events leading up to the turning point in The War In The Pacific, which was the battle of Midway. To invest us in the characters we're shown a snapshot journey of each of their lives from just before the attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941 up until June of 1942 where the Japanese and American naval forces would try and surprise each other in what would be the battle of the films title. It's no easy feat to present us with a vast range of uniformed characters in the military, and get the viewer invested in them emotionally but the actors here to do well to make each of their characters stand out so when the film reaches its key climax we understand who is who and what their role is in the conflict. While some of the dialogue is obvious and overstated it serves the job with character dialogue scenes acting as segways from one historical stepping stone to the next as we follow the events that led up to the battle.

Before I delve into the main negative, I will say overall this is a great movie which could be really enhanced by an extended edition or extra running time if if there's more scenes that were cut out covering the battle of Midway itself - and if so PLEASE PUT THEM BACK IN A LONGER CUT - PEOPLE WILL BUY IT ON BLU-RAY! This is where the main problem with this film lies. Over half of its running time is dedicated to the raid on Pearl Harbour, The Doolittle Raid and the battles leading up to and including The Coral Sea, the latter of which is told pretty much in one scene and a single VFX shot (Good though it was) - Not an issue per say, as this film is not called 'The Battle of The Coral Sea' - and while some of these scenes give much context and required emotional threads for both characters and the younger audience members alike, others really didn't need to be seen in this film. It felt as if the events surrounding the Chinese assisting the Doolittle Raid survivors was probably a condition of some VFX funding tax break for the Asian based post-production budget. An allied radio report of the raid itself, perhaps being heard by the pilots of the American carriers was really all that was needed. Whatever the reason, these scenes add little to the key story or characters involved in the subsequent battle and even though they sign post the path that led to Midway, it's not something that couldn't have been covered in a single title card at the beginning of the film. The battle of Midway itself, while well realised, is told a little too quickly. The Japanese attack on USS Yorktown is again covered in a single VFX shot with one line of dialogue from an observing carrier when it could have been such a nail biting moment. The tension that is achieved in the original movie between the Naval Commanders on both sides making the tricky tactical decisions in the battle is a little compacted here. We see the last batch of Japanese pilots taking off but we don't see the outcome of this decision nor get a sense of the damage they do to the Americans. Time spent earlier in the movie building up to events at Midway would have been better spent covering the key events of the actual battle itself, which though nicely staged, feels a little rushed at times. Although a fistful of scenes give us the Japanese perspective they don't show would have been crucial moments of drama such as the belief that their single strike on the Yorktown gave way to believed rumours that two American carriers had been sunk, and the initial spotting of the American fleet by their pilots is not shown at all.

That said the stakes of the climatic battle are well realised here and the CGI is NOT poor, nor distracting as others have claimed, it is extremely well done and is far more effective and real on the big screen. You forget your watching visual FX after a point, which one assumes, is the whole idea. Where the earlier Midway film failed in its visuals of the battle, here you're really put in the seat of the plunging dive bomber or on the deck of the carrier during the numerous actions. It is a visceral experience to see these sequences on the big screen and one that shouldn't be missed.

Credit too must go to Casting Director ANDREA KENYON. It can't have been easy to get such a great ensemble of actors together for one picture (the scheduling must have been a nightmare) and the scale of the film certainly demands and receives a top quality line-up. Ed Skrein is appropriately cocky as pilot Dick Best, while Patrick Wilson adds appropriate gravitas as the intelligence officer whose warnings about an imminent Japanese attack were previously ignored. They're backed up by an engaging Woody Harrelson, Dennis Quaid and the criminally underused Mark Rolston, who are all excellent playing the senior officers, while the younger cast including Keean Johnson, Nick Jonas, Luke Kleintank and Daren Criss, all do well to make the most of their parts. Given their limited screen time, credit must also be given to the Japanese cast - It says a great deal that the scene where Rear Admiral Yamaguchi elects to go down with his ship is one of the most moving in the film and creates much sympathy for the Japanese navy who were against the war with the USA from the very beginning. (Their evil actions depicted elsewhere are not spared however ,with the execution of American POWs gruesomely depicted)

Director Roland Emmerich, whilst having made some past turkeys, is an extremely competent film maker who can handle both scale, multiple characters and action sequences without them turning into an unwatchable 'what the hell is happening now' Micheal Bay snoozefest. We can tell what is happening to whom and there is always a sense of where things are taking place and why in relation to the story. Dialogue is functional to mediocre so while not a flawless film, I have no doubt that several scenes were cut to make sure the film hit a manageable running time. There is a huge thirst for well made historical epics set within this time peroid and a strongly urge both the film makers and the studio to release a longer version of the film on other formats, especially if it covers more aspects of the later battle. This will push what is already a good film to the next level.
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10/10
Awesome Attention To Historical Detail
christophersmooney9 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
When I first saw the previews of this movie, I feared another ridiculous and distorted movie like the 2001 movie, Pearl Harbor. I was relieved it was not. It is amazing how many specific details of the early days of the Pacific War are crammed into this movie. So many that only those already familiar with the battles will be able to spot them all.

Although I am a former Naval Aviator, kudos to the writers to giving the Marine Aviators and Army Air Corps their due credit in the battle of Midway, something the 1976 movie neglected. Only one minor disappointment in that the sacrifice of the three American Torpedo Bombing squadrons was underplayed.

I suspect those not familiar with history will not be able to keep up with all the details portrayed, but outstanding job by Roland Emmerich for even trying.

PS. To the dude below about the glaring historical accuracy, you are correct. Midway was reinforced with a detachment of B-26 bombers armed with torpedoes. One of the did make a suicide run at IJN Akagi, which prompted Admiral Nagumo to prepare for a second air attack on Midway Island, only to reverse his decision when one of his cruiser's scout plane's spotted one of the American task forces, all of which contributed to ordnance to be stacked all over the Akagi's hanger bay when LT Richard Best's single bomb detonated inside the Akagi, causing an inferno that doomed the ship.
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9/10
A Solid War Movie That Puts Characters Over FX
garethvk6 November 2019
The events of December 7th 1941 left an indelible mark on the psyche of America and became a date that truly has lived in infamy. Though historians, authors, and filmmakers have attempted to analyze the events during and leading to the attack on Pearl Harbor; there is still a great deal of interest about the attack and the aftermath.

While Pearl Harbor was for many the opening shots of the U.S. entry into World War II; some would say that the stage was set earlier when the United States attempted to curtail what they saw as an aggressive and Imperialistic Japan by placing restrictions on their vital resources such as oil and the tonnage of their Navy.

In the new film "Midway" we are given a glimpse into this when four years before the attack, when Edwin Layton (Patrick Wilson) meets with Admiral Nagumo (Jun Kunimura) who lets him know that hardline factions in his government have been buoyed by their invasion of China and will do what is needed to make sure the vital oil that is supplied by the U.S. remains constant. Flash forward to the day of the attack and Layton who has warned that an attack was possible at Pearl Harbor is seeing his worst predictions come true. In the aftermath he is assigned to Admiral Nimitz (Woody Harrelson); who has been given the thankless task of taking charge of what is left of the Pacific Fleet and finding a way to stop the Japanese fleet.

The U.S. finds themselves outnumbered, outgunned, and waging war with ships and planes that are inferior to the Japanese but they must find a way to overcome the great obstacles before them and defeat a relentless enemy. Layton and a team of code breakers are convinced the Japanese intend to attack the island of Midway and go all in to set a trap with the goal of destroying the enemy carriers so the U.S. can gain an aerial advantage in the Pacific.

With a strong cast which features Luke Evans, Dennis Quaid, Mandy Moore, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas and a fine supporting cast, Director Roland Emmerich has given audiences a gripping war movie that despite the impressive visual effects; never loses site of the fact that this is a story of real people who found themselves in pivotal moments of history.

The film also shows how the Japanese commanders had differing views of the Americans they fought. Some considered them to lack braveness while others admired their tenacity and were grateful that they had what they saw as inferior and outdated planes to attack them in.

The film also does a great job showing the Doolittle Raid and how what from a military standpoint caused minor damage yet was a huge psychological boost as Japan believed they were immune from attack yet the American forces found a way to bomb Tokyo by the impossible task of using land based bombers off a carrier.

The film is a great mix of human drama that shows not only the terrible toll of war but how a group of extraordinary individuals gave their all.

4.5 stars out of 5
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1/10
I am in shock
Hajo7713 November 2019
I can't believe how anyone would call this an excellent / worth to see WW2 movie. Not arguing the historical background of the battle but how Emmerich is turning the events into Independence Day in the Pacific is a disgrace.

The intentional deadstick Landing on the Carrier would have been the right moment to leave the cinema. It would have saved me 2 hours of my life I will never get back. I could go on for hours ranting about this terrible movie but I will stop wasting more time on this utter crap.

Kids, if you want to watch realistic war movies go and see tora tora tora or Battle of Britain.

Avoid this mess at all cost.
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8/10
Well done
rgregsheppard-180845 November 2019
A bit Hollywood but a good movie. Much better than the embarrassment of the movie Pearl Harbor.
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