I want to preface this review by saying the true story from which this film is based is nothing short of amazing and profound. The actions taken to retaliate after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor are absolutely heroic and at times tragic. Their bravery is inspirational and their memories should be carried on for generations to come.
This is one of those movies that I had very little interest in. I want to clarify that I didn’t hate the idea of it but rather I just didn’t care, I was indifferent. If I’m extremely excited for a movie and it doesn’t quite live up to my expectations I give it a break. It’s not their fault nor their problem if my own personal expectations were too great. That said, when I have little to no interest in a movie the threshold for impressing me is quite low. Just keeping it in the realm of competence and I’ll probably find myself having a decent enough time. A most recent example of this is Terminator: Dark Fate; I had such a low confidence in it that its mostly adequate outcome left me entertained enough that I enjoyed the overall experience. And then there are movies like Midway…
I don’t like trashing movies, I don’t want to say this movie is bad (It is). I will say that it’s entirely too boring to be terrible. There isn’t enough happening at any given moment to make this rise above what it is and that’s a sure cure for insomnia. I absolutely believe the outcome of this movie lies solely on the shoulders of its director, Roland Emmerich, of 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, and Godzilla(1998) fame, or dare I say infamy? Aside from the obvious destruction one of the most common aspects of his films is the dialogue which is more often than not, cheesy and mawkish. Especially if his movies deal with the military in any way. He seems adamant about letting everyone know these characters are patriotic through and through.
Midway feels like one giant boner for freedom and military and it grows tiresome. The inspirational speeches are everywhere which quickly becomes repetitive. Every line feels like the character is trying to be profound just in case they die in battle. Every moment is supposed to feel significant but comes off as silly and poorly acted. Of course the lead character is a loose cannon who hates authority and yada yada yada. The women are worrisome but every bit as patriotic as their male counterparts and don’t you forget it, don’t worry the movie won’t let you.
Now let’s assume the slower moments are a build up to the more amped up scenes of aerial battle. Even these scenes are forgettable and terribly edited constantly jumping from battle sequences to intimate moments between man and wife without any bridge between the two scenes. And this happens repeatedly and often. It seems more interested in touching on the bullet points of each phase of this response to Pearl Harbor rather than attaining any kind of real focus.
It’s inspirational moment followed by brief plane action sequence and back on the ground for more inspiration and then refuel on that patriotism that is apparently fleeting. It drags in this manner for nearly two and a half hours and I do mean, draaaaaags. The ending of the film felt like a solid twenty minute compilation of smaller endings pieced together for that all too familiar attempt at solemn remembrance of what the real heroes really went through. It’s everything you’ve seen in good war films only those did it properly and in a manner actually interesting to anyone that might be watching.
I wish I had more to say here but the movie left me so disinterested by credit roll I admit I didn’t even wait for credit’s end like I do with every movie. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say there’s no scene after the credits. In complete transparency though I didn’t wait around long enough to find out, I was no longer willing to let this movie waste another minute of my time. If you’re going to watch a movie about Midway find a documentary or find the original 1976 version although that one isn’t much of an improvement, unfortunately.
In the end Midway left me bored and yearning for the ending to come in a hurry. The characters, named after real heroes, were turned into stereotypical war movie archetypes including but not limited to the cowboy troublemaker, the hard ass commander, the single dimension wives left in the kitchens and it all amounts to action sequences as forgettable as the rest, so I guess consistency is a strength here, even if the only thing consistent about it are its shortcomings.
Rated PG-13 For: sequences of war violence and related images, language and smoking
Runtime: 138 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Action, Drama, Historical
Starring: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid
Directed By: Roland Emmerich
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3/ Acting: 2.5/ Directing: 2.5/ Visuals: 3
Buy to Own: No
Check out the trailer below:
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