Midway Movie Review (2019): History Fans Will Love It!


Another war film that tells the historical events in World War II. Directed by the great director behind Indepence Day (1996) , Roland Emmerich, the film Midway is a replica of the great war that became the turning point of America’s defeat from Japan, which is known for its strong army and advanced technology.

Like a documentary, this film describes the war between American and Japanese troops in World War II in the Pacific Ocean. It started with a sudden attack by Japanese troops on Pearl Harbor. The climax was when there was a battle between the American and Japanese navies from June 4 to 7, 1942, at Midway, the Pacific islands.

Telling the various characters involved in the battle of Midway, the story focuses on Lieutenant Dick Best (Ed Skrein), a ‘show-off’ pilot who later becomes an important role in the victory. In addition, there is Naval Intelligence officer Edwin Layton (Patrick Wilson) with intelligence (and the help of his team of wiretaps) reading Japanese tactics to attack Midway.

Patriotism of World War II
Another film about the courage of American soldiers when they were in a state of urgency (and outnumbered) but managed to attack Japan in World War II. Battle of Midway was once adapted to the big screen with legendary actor Henry Fonda in 1976 and won the box office at that time as the tenth best film in 1976.

The audience is brought to see the war from the pilot’s point of view. All the chaos when it swirled in the air, dazzling when it faced the sun, and how difficult it was to shoot from inside the plane. The pilots and soldiers were not without fear, but realized that something had to be done to win the war.

The drama presented is still the same and not too heavy, but the depiction of the war – from the exhaustion experienced to the feeling when a compatriot dies and disappears – looks very attached. Explained through a plot that is not too heavy, but still easy to follow.

This film is also filled with original characters played by Hollywood’s top actors, such as Luke Evans, Patrick Wilson who is known in the Conjuring and Annabelle universe , Woody Harelson who just returned in Zombieland 2 , Ed Skrein ( Game of Thrones and Deadpool ) , to Nick Jonas.

Maximum reference to the original version
As previously explained, this film takes the background of the American and Japanese wars, culminating in the Battle of Midway which lasted for three days, June 4–7, 1942. Most of the actors appointed have the same facial contours as the original characters. This can be seen from the comparison given when the credit roll is played.

Midway describes what is meant by “dive-bombing,” American bomber pilots, such as Lieutenant Dick Best dive in an almost vertical direction, descending from thousands of feet to a Japanese carrier and finally launching a bomb over a distance of about 2 kilometers. Although dangerous, this action increases the accuracy of the bomb dropping more accurately than when dropped from a higher place.

One thing that is interesting about this film is the presence of John Ford, played by Geoffrey Blake. For the uninitiated, Ford was a director who filmed the legendary battle of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 which won an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject . Unfortunately, his role is not so significant and is used as a comedy distributor.

Based on a true story, some events were dramatized. However, it is different from the heroic incident that was carried out by Bruno Gaido (played by Nick Jonas). Although it looks like engineering, but the heroic actions he did when saving the plane that was about to fall from the ship really happened at that time. Curious? Just watch the movie.

Like a documentary
War films are still one of the endless spectacles. There have been many films that tell about the battle at Pearl Harbor, such as Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) to Pearl Harbor (2001) by Michael Bay. But unfortunately, the suspenseful power of war films is not seen throughout the story of the Midway film .

Emmerich uses Wes Tooke’s script, building stories based on historical figures in the real world, although some of the depictions are adapted to the needs of the film. However, combining the original story for the big screen is not as easy as adapting a novel.

Not only tells the story of the Battle of Midway, but a little introduction to the sudden attack of Japanese troops on Pearl Harbor. And because of the large scope of the story, Midway’s biggest problems are seen as documentaries and history lessons. The plot is flat and the depiction of war is less tense.

Basically, the Battle of Midway is the ‘sequel‘ of the battle for Pearl Harbor that Japan started. Not too impressed with patriotism, where Emmerich is quite fair in his description of Japanese soldiers. But there is nothing new that is displayed other than the top Hollywood stars presented and better CGI than the old version.

But compared to other war films, especially Dunkirk, which uses a combination of shooting and CGI techniques. It could be because the budget is not as much as Dunkirk – as explained by Chris Klimek in NPR – the difference in image quality is clear; where ‘the animation doesn’t look like a movie’.

Overall, the Midway film is a great depiction of one of the most important moments in World War II. But when juxtaposed with other war films, such as Saving Private Ryan or Dunkirk , even the old 1976 version, Emmerich was unable to provide anything new that ended up looking boring and more like a documentary.