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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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ajernigan-913-59087111 November 2019
I don't typically go to movies on the war but I am glad I went to Midway. Showed both sides (American/Japanese). All of the actors were terrific-especially Quaid and Layton!
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rcshannon-523419 November 2019
This remake of the original 1976 movie was much more historically correct. It was obvious that everyone involved researched and studied the history behind the greatest naval battle in history! Kudos to all the actors, directors and producers for making an entertaining and quality movie!
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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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SoulfulFX8 November 2019
Really brackets the historical events prior to Midway well--especially from Enterprise's perspective. Nice inclusion of vignettes from the lead up, and battle itself. Some gloss over on the intel build up, but I expect that's due to runtime constraints.

While this has the usual war film embellishments, I think it does well for tackling so much in the time it had--definitely worth a watch.
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Don't believe the negative reviews!
oaktownvic9 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The most impressive aspect of the film is the amazing cinematography and special effects (including sound) which surpass by a wide margin anything previously attained regarding era warships and naval aviation. You MUST see this in a Dolby equipped theater to get the full body rocking audio and visual experience. Don't settle for a normal theater.

Without question, this is the best movie ever made about the crucial WW2 Battle of Midway which (closely following the American tactical defeat-strategic victory at the Battle of the Coral Sea) forever changed the course of the Pacific War. In fact it is the best movie about World War 2 naval and aviation warfare ever made in terms of visual and audio presentation and historical accuracy.

As a serious albeit amateur historian, I can only offer kudos to the film's fidelity to the facts of the events as they unfolded. Yes, there is truncation of history necessary for translating these sorts of events to film. But the film's creators somehow manage to get right at least 80% of things involved in a very complicated sequence of battle events in a bit over two hours of action packed mind-blowing movie-magic.

I was impressed by the film's steadfast adherence to the facts and actual events and its presentation of the tools of warfare. I might quibble with certain depictions of people and actions, but in the main they get it right. My fears that this might be another abortion like Disney's "Pearl Harbor" or star laden inaccurate version like the 1976 "Midway" were blown away by the fidelity of this effort. The special effects used to show the ships and planes in action are nothing short of marvelous. Bravo!

The weakest aspect of the film are the handful of dramatic interludes of worried loved ones and troubled commanders and portrayals of some of the individuals involved, but even these are tolerable. I should also say that the film doesn't show as much gore as what really happens in combat so it doesn't have the accurate stomach turning scenes as present in "Saving Private Ryan". I didn't mind that.

What drives this film are the action battle sequences showing the destructiveness of the tools of war at the time. They'll knock your socks off! The brief but breath-taking reenactment of the Pearl Harbor attack starts the film off on its roller coaster ride with sequences of ships and planes and people being blasted to smithereens from both the perspective of the fish in the barrel and the folks shooting at them. You see these events on both the micro and macro level. Thankfully, the movie doesn't treat the Japanese as mindless monkeys as so many World War 2 films do and it presents their dilemmas and derring-do quite fairly.

The visual depiction of the planes, warships and weapons of the era appear to have been thoroughly researched and are presented more accurately, beautifully and forcefully than any other film about World War 2.

But it's the action sequences that will have your eyes glued onto the screen and your ears begging for relief (in a good way) and thanking the folks from Dolby. I think many folks will enjoy this picture, especially history buffs.

Don't believe the negative reviews from the professional reviewers. They're looking for auteur, drama, dialogue and art rather than history, audio-visual dynamism... and your own thrilling experience in the theater.
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Historical accuracy leads to an awesome movie!
annajdreiling9 November 2019
I had high expectations for this movie, and they were absolutely MET and EXCEEDED.

In my opinion, "Midway" is the best and most historically-accurate WWII movie of recent memory, and it's one of the few that actually highlights the air war in the Pacific. The writers seemed to recognize that simply recreating this momentous series of events was an amazing story in-and-of itself, without wasting time on unnecessary drama and distractions.

You can tell that the writers, producers and actors all paid close attention to maintaining historical accuracy throughout the film. From Pearl Harbor to Midway, they captured many of the key interesting and critical moments along the way. They also showed both the American and Japanese perspectives in an insightful and respectful manner, which only adds to the complexity of the story.

Also, the action scenes will have anyone (history lover or not!) on the edge of their seats the whole time! I loved every moment showing the SBD Dauntlesses and the processes of dive bombing, and I enjoyed their portrayal of the Doolittle raid.

Finally, the casting was great. Each actor portrayed his or her real-life counterpart in a masterful and poignant way.

In short, I can't recommend this movie enough. It's incredibly important to remember the courage, daring and skill of the men and women who fought in WWII, today and every day. This movie brings their sacrifices and skills to life.
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Great Movie!
bobmichigan111 November 2019
Decided to watch this today and i was surprised at how well made this movie was. I was happy they didnt go the pearl harbor route and add a love story in there. It was told in a factual way and the the cinematography was amazing. How the critics messed this one up is beyond me maybe there not fans of the director but roland held back on the independence day humor and put a more serious mood into this movie and how critical this battle was and how it led up to this battle. Its worth the watch. He used factual accounts of individuals such as nimitz and halsey and picked out critical members of the battle who earned high honors during the battle. Roland did a great job directing this movie and did it with factual precision.
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Awesome movie
loversofmovies9 November 2019
Far better than what I thought it would be. Tense War movie. I really enjoyed this movie which is based on true life events. Please don't think this movie is anything like the pearl harbour movie because it isn't.
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AF is Short of Water
theRetiree10 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
One of the few blockbuster war movies to give credit to the oft-maligned intelligence component of World War II, and yes I've read Layton's salty 1985 memoirs. If you like remarkably realistic battle scenes, this movie is for you. As an intelligence professional, I loved the scenes in ICPOA (Intelligence Center Pacific Ocean Area) although for the life of me I still don't completely understand the difference in Layton's role as Nimitz's intelligence chief and Joe Rochford's role as chief of Nimitz's intelligence center. I didn't know he wandered around in a bathrobe but I did know he got screwed by jealous Washington rivals and shipped off to command a drydock on the West Coast. Given that he and Layton were among the fifty (!!) Japanese linguists the Navy had, a shameful waste on many levels. And guess who replaced Rochford? One Commander Roscoe Hillenkoetter, surviving EXO of West Virginia who as naval attache in Paris in 1940 had watched the Germans march in to Paris. After the war, and a stint as captain of USS Missouri, he was appointed by Harry Truman as the first director of the CIA.

This movie is like the world's greatest Trivial Pursuit for historians. look, there's CNO Admiral King giving Nimitz the bad news about his next assignment; look: John Ford with his signature round sunglasses madly filming the attack on Midway. Oh, no, that torpedo bounced off the hull of the Japanese warship: wait til the same thing happens at Midway and the torpedo squadron goes down in flames. And having seen MANY photos of Admiral Nimitz, a shout-out to Woody Harrelson, who looked and sounded just like a good ol' Texas boy.
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tomaszsiudak9 November 2019
I just had an unstoppable urge to register and leave my rate. After watching Joker I left cinema speechless, astonished, angry and demotivated how pathetic the movie was. After Midway, I left the movie theather inspired, happy and curious to read more detail about the battle the very same day. Best wishes to American soldiers and veterans! Cheers from Poland.
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What's with the bad reviews this flick was epic
iambabyhuey8 November 2019
This was a great flick fro beginning to end. Plane fight after plane fight. Great film. I don't understand the bad reviews I really dont. It was enjoyable and I certainly liked it.
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Excellent Movie a must see for WWII aficionados
skunkworksalpha8 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Midway was an excellent movie that depicts the events leading up to the battle of Midway and the battle itself. It is fairly quick paced with enough historical background character introductions to leave the viewer invested, even if we already know the outcome. The family and buddy scenes are not lengthy, and add just the right amount of the human element. The movie covers the events from before Pearl Harbor, the attack on pearl Harbor, the US raid on the Marianas islands, Doolittle's raid, the battle of Coral Sea, the battle of Midway and the intelligence, strategy, of both the US and IJN navies. Though none of the events is overly detailed it is enough for the average historian to see all the "easter eggs" and the non-historian left informed and intrested. While the movie covers a lot of historical ground it doesn't get overly detailed on each event, even the Midway battle itself. What it does do is provides the viewer the overall tension, concerns and apprehensions of the mood of he US durring this time in history. Midway does leave out certain historical events. It didn't cover the PBYs search, the B-17 raids on the IJN carriers, it didn't include Jimmy Thatch, or the two attacks on the Yorktown in detail. But, and I must stress this fact, what it did cover was accurate (with the exception of the US torpedo planes carrying bombs on wing hard mounts). For the first time in a movie it covers the air raids on the IJN carriers from Midway itself, including thr B-26 Marauders, but not the TBF avengers. It included the Nautilus Gato class firing on the IJN taskforce and the reason the Japanese left behind the destroyer which was later followed by the US SBDs that led them to the IJN carries. The CGI was adequate for visual effects, and the detail of the Yorktown class carriers and even the IJN carriers was incredibly accurate. Midway focuses on several key individuals to be the protagonist rather than a PBS style docudrama. Midway also pays attention to detail about the age of the sailors, the types of aircraft, and weaponry aboard ships. Midway does feel like it needs the director's cut and would do better as a three hour movie as it felt a little rushed at times. Bottom line, if you're into WWII and history you'll like this move, it's a go see.
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karanfowler11 November 2019
Great movie! Watched it on Veterans' Day. I am so thankful for the men who fought for freedom. This movie is a tribute to them and our great country. It also emphasized America's focus after Pearl Harbor to show the strength of the Navy despite devastation.
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Don't listen to the critics
davehaller10 November 2019
The movie was well done. The actors were engaging, the stories leading up to the battle were interesting and that battle itself was exciting to watch. Watch the original Midway. That had big stars but it was lazy filmmaking. That movie took scenes from Tora Tora Tora for the attack on Midway. The movie was enjoyable and a testament to those men who gave their lives to turn the tide during WW2.
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Best WW2 movie in decades
phd_travel7 November 2019
Finally there is a WW2 movie with the right balance of modern effects and good storytelling. I've always preferred the straightforward stories in Tora Tora Tora and A Bridge Too Far over the newer gory angst filled war movies and those which deal with obscure insignificant incidents. Unlike Bay's Pearl Harbor or the older Midway movie there is no wasted time on silly romances. Also the dragginess of Eastwood and the gore of Spielberg are not present here.

The screenplay is clear and comprehensive from pre Pearl Harbor to the decisive day everything is clearly explained. Doolittle deserves mention. Good history lesson for some folks nowadays who seem to forget which country was defending themselves against those who waged aggressive wars! Slower moments are not dull as they are used to explain strategy, training and the role of intelligence.

The air battle scenes and dive bombing scenes are thrilling yet clear. You can still see who is who. You are really put right into the center of things. Superb exciting cinematography without looking fake or too CGI.

The casting is brilliant. Using distinctive famous actors to portray the various heroes helps the viewer remember who is who and build up sympathy for whether they make it or not. Ed Skrein usually the anti hero type role. Here he plays the cocky pilot and his eventual vulnerability is touching. Luke Evans is convincing as another hero pilot. Patrick Wilson is perfect as the intelligence officer who helped get it right. The older actors like Denis Quaid and Aaron Eckhart are well cast too and Woody usually a goofball is fine. Actors usually don't associate with historic roles like Darren Criss and Jonas are surprisingly right. Mandy Moore looks pretty and suitable in her WW2 getup. Should do more roles from this period. The Japanese naval officers are distinctive enough to differentiate.

A truly international effort it took a German director, Chinese producers, an American writer and great British and American cast to make the best WW2 movie in decades.
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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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