Patriotic, exciting and inspiring, MIDWAY is a terrific history lesson enhanced with $100 million of stunning special effects.
Back in 1976, Universal Studios released a star studded version of Midway but buried the history under some bad soap opera subplots and repetitive use of actual war footage.
33 years later, Director Roland Emmerich (The Patriot, The Day After Tomorrow) tells a more straightforward version of one of the pivotal events of WW2, introducing us to all the real people that turned the tide of the conflict.
Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring) is Intelligence Officer Edwin Layton, the sole voice warning of an attack on Pearl Harbor.
When that surprise attack takes place on Dec 7, 1941 (in jaw dropping CGI fashion, giving us angles of the destruction I haven't seen before) Admiral Nimitz is appointed to retaliate. Woody Harrelson sports white hair and plenty of power as Nimitz, surrounded by a depleted fighting force and demoralized troops.
Ed Skrien (Game of Thrones, Deadpool) is Dick Best, a real life hero and incredible pilot whose selfless cocky attitude plays a pivotal role. Mandy Moore (This Is Us) is his fiery wife, breaking stereotypes in her fierce support.
Luke Evans (Beauty & The Beast, The Hobbit) is Commander Wade McClusky, Dennis Quaid is legendary William Halsey and Aaron Eckhart is strong as Jimmy Doolittle, leading the historic bombing of Tokyo in retaliation for Pearl Harbor.
Etsushi Toyokawa is excellent as Japanese Admiral Yamamoto as well.
Hey, even Nick Jonas even shows up as a true life heroic soldier that single-handedly saves a carrier. It's a big cast spread across large scale action and an entertaining history lesson.
Even though I knew the story, I felt like I walked away knowing much more, including legendary Director John Ford's adventure on Midway island and a deeper understanding of the strategic mistakes and victories on both sides.
It's a war movie in the classic, patriotic sense. I was really happy to see moviegoers of all ages enjoying the film at Alamo Drafthouse. I sometimes feel that patriotism and national pride are viewed as unacceptable today.
MIDWAY delivers an old-fashioned blast of both, proving to be a strong box-office performer in its first two weeks and delivering an exciting, solid B for me.
I loved the way the final coda gave us post-film history on all the main characters and showed us the real life people portrayed by the actors, making their true stories of bravery and American pride even more inspiring.