Midway Movie Review: Epic war drama

Film: Midway

Cast: Ed Skrein, Woody Harrelson, Dennis Quaid, Aaron Eckhart, Luke Evans, Mandy Moore, Nick Jonas, Patrick Wilson, EtsyshivToyokawa, Asano Tadanobu, Jun Kunimura, Darren Criss

Director: Roland Emmerich

Rating: * * * *

A fabulous ensemble star cast and Robby Baumgartner’s breathtaking cinematography of aerial and naval warfare are the stellar attractions of Roland Emmerich’s new fact-based epic film which revolves around a pivotal WW2 battle in the Pacific Ocean (June 3 – 6, 1942) during which the U.S. lost one carrier, one destroyer, 145 aircraft, and suffered 307 casualties.

Of the 48 Navy torpedo planes that attacked the Japanese, 41 planes did not return. The Americans decimated 300 Japanese aircraft, all four of Japan’s aircraft carriers and 3,500 men. Plotted by Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (Etsushi Toyokawa), architect of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbour, the Battle of Midway ended the threat of further Japanese incursions in the Pacific.

Over two hours long, it is still, an action-packed retelling which begins with a few moments of peace and quiet before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. Intelligence officer Lt Cdr. Edwin Layton (Patrick Wilson) takes the blame for not foreseeing the attack. Subsequently though he acquits himself honourably. America had hitherto remained neutral in the war and the Japanese admiral Chuchi Nagumo (Jun Kunimura) is concerned the Pearl Harbor attack has “awakened a sleeping giant.”

In the planning and execution of battles, top US naval brass play crucial roles, including Adms. Chester W. Nimitz (Woody Harrelson), the ailing William Halsey (Dennis Quaid) squadron leader s Dick Best (Ed Skrein) and Wade McClusky (Luke Evans) and Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle (Aaron Eckhart) whose air raid on Tokyo in April 1942 helped pave the way for the positive outcome at Midway in June. The Japanese would slaughter 2,500 Chinese who helped Lt Col.Doolittle and his men.

Emmerich is at his best helming spectacular battle sequences with bravery, patriotism, courage, teamwork and tenacity coming to the fore. Just so the viewer does not get war weary, scriptwriter Wes Tooke weaves in intimate scenes of domestic bliss. Film students will take a shine to filmmaker John Ford shooting “The Battle of Midway” for the OSS, ordering his cameraman to continue filming in the thick of battle!

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