Midway Poster

Midway (2019)

Action | History   
IMDB Rayting:   6.9/10
Country: USA | China
Language: English | Japanese

The story of the Battle of Midway, told by the leaders and the sailors who fought it.

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subcmdr 10 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 n

atomsmasher3 9 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.

brian-carter-110-625553 10 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.

3xHCCH 29 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."

rhease 9 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!

xhalonick 9 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.

kenneth-chang-usa 10 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.

mcsterg 12 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.

azanti0029 8 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. A

rcshannon-52341 9 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!

ajernigan-913-590871 11 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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