2021-07-02 13:53:48 UTC
This is a 2019 re-creation of the Battle of Midway, currently best
known from the 1976 film MIDWAY. The special effects seem a grade
below those of Michael Bey's 2001 PEARL HARBOR, and the script
drops a lot of names to tie this film to that one. In fact, the
first half of this film is about the attack on Pearl Harbor and the
subsequent Doolittle raid on Tokyo. It is an hour into the film
before Midway is more than just a passing name.
But the name-dropping is also because, unlike the earlier 1976 film
MIDWAY, or PEARL HARBOR (which also covers the Doolittle Raid),
this film does not add fictional characters or a fictional love
interest. (Another film set in this period that sticks to real
people is TORA! TORA! TORA!) So all the names are real and hence
sound a little like name-dropping. Even when names aren't
mentioned, there are glimpses of the best-known people from Pearl
Harbor. For example, at the awards ceremony shown about an hour in
(and which took place shortly before the Battle of Midway on the
deck of an aircraft carrier), we see from behind an African-
American seaman in the row of recipients; that would be Doris
Miller, who was awarded the Navy Cross on May 27 on the deck of the
(Many films have featured highly fictionalized accounts of the
attack on Pearl Harbor, the Doolittle Raid, or both. This may be
the first reasonably accurate depiction of those events.)
One problem in war movies is balancing the chaos of battle with the
need to let the audience follow what is going on. MIDWAY leans
more toward the former than the latter.
Another problem with the film is that it may be too accurate. We
are introduced to a lot of actors with unfamiliar faces who are
much less familiar than those in, say, the earlier MIDWAY, making
it harder to keep the characters straight. This makes it harder to
follow the events.
The script also takes the story from 1937 to 1942, chops it in
pieces, and although it shows them in chronological order, the
script jumps a few months or years with only minimal warning.
Mark summarizes: "I never actually followed a historic battle for
accuracy. This one I did. The Battle of Midway is one of the most
amazing stories in military history and I was very pleased to see a
new film featuring that story."
This is the rare war film that gets more points for historic
accuracy than for entertainment.
Rating: low +3 (-4 to +4)
Mark R. Leeper and Evelyn C. Leeper