By James Davidson
“Midway” tells the story of the battle of Midway during World War II. The film also focuses on the heroes who fought and died to defend their country in that battle and the events that led up to it. The movie features an all-star cast; including, Woody Harrelson, Luke Evans, Dennis Quaid, and Ed Skreid.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States learns that their new enemy, Japan, is planning on attacking the Midway islands as the prelude to launching a full-scale attack on the western coast of the United States. The U.S. military must not only recover from one of the most devastating attacks in the history of our country, but they also have to scramble a naval fleet together to defend the country from invasion.
I had high hopes for this movie. I believed that with such a strong cast and powerful subject matter, the film would be a great, inspirational war movie. I was excited to see how this story was told because I’ve always held an interest in the Pacific side of WWII. I think it is often overlooked and I find it truly fascinating. I expected this movie to bring to light some of the heroes and major players of this side of the war and I hoped to learn a little bit more about this part of history.
This movie attempts to do everything I was hoping for. The problem, however, is that it tried to do too much. The film tried to fit so much about the war into a 2-hour movie, that what should’ve been the main focus got fuzzy. I appreciate the filmmakers trying to show as much of the war as possible, but the movie is called “Midway” and the actual Battle of Midway seemed to take a backseat to the rest of the battles portrayed. I felt like instead of a great, informative film on one aspect of the war, we were given a convoluted, watered-down movie that attempted to encompass too many aspects.
However, I would have been happy with the portrayal of multiple battles, if the movie had been executed well. Unfortunately because the movie tried to show so much, I felt the quality of the writing and acting suffered greatly. It almost seemed like because the filmmakers attempted to stuff so much in this film that they rushed the production and the quality suffered greatly. The writing and some of the special effects appeared rushed and watered-down. The CGI in one or two big scenes appeared almost unfinished, which is bizarre because the rest of the movie had beautifully shot air and sea battle sequences.
The special effects weren’t the only thing that suffered. The writing and acting left a little to be desired as well. The acting was inconsistent and some of the actors had accents that would have been more at home in a comedy as opposed to a serious war film. However, some of the actors did a good job at portraying their characters. The writing also felt a bit rushed in places. There were times when the audience needed a piece of information and instead of inserting the information in a way that felt natural, the writers would just have a random by-stander conveniently shout out the explanation to those around him. It almost felt like the writers were pandering to the audience.
“Midway” is rated PG-13 for sequences of war violence and related images, language and smoking. There are a lot of mature, war themes that might be lost on younger children, but should be appropriate for older teenagers.
Overall, I thought that “Midway” was disappointing and inconsistent. It had flashes of brilliance in some of the battle scenes and parts of the acting. But the movie tries to fit too much information in the runtime and it became convoluted, which is unfortunate for a movie about a fascinating subject. I probably will not see this movie again, but it was worth seeing once, especially if you are interested in WWII history at all. It earns 2.5 out of 5 stars.