The war film genre is a genre that is quite often and widely produced in Hollywood, with various sub-genres ranging from documentaries, propaganda, biopics to dramas. However, among hundreds of titles, perhaps only a few are memorable and memorable for the audience. This time acting as director and producer, Roland Emmerich who is famous for the Independence Day saga and disaster films is here to present the film Midway which is the most important battle in the history of war at sea and for the US Air Force and Navy when World War II occurred. The cast that is included in it is also studded with many stars ranging from Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid, and Woody Harrelson.
As the title implies, this film focuses on the battle of Midway which took place on June 4 and 7, 1942 and a series of important events in the WWII Pacific War that ultimately brought victory on the US side. The neutral stance taken by the US at the beginning of World War II was used by Japan to launch a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. On that day, many people died and quite affected the morale of US troops. The attack was intended to eliminate the US in order to establish a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Environment which includes Japan, Manchukuo, China, and countries in Southeast Asia. The film centers on the story of US Navy and Air Force sailors and airmen surviving the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Doolitle Raid, culminating in the War on Midway. Since the attack on Pearl Harbor, The Air Force and Navy began to strategize after receiving information from the results of wiretapping that the Japanese were going to attack Midway. Edwin T. Layton (Patrick Wilson) is a member of the US intelligence agency who was instrumental in hacking information about the next Japanese attack. Layton helps Admiral Chester Nimitz (Woody Harrelson) supply the information needed in strategic planning Japanese resistance after Pearl Harbor Dick Best (Ed Skrein) is a dissident US bomber pilot who is very good at carrying out his duties. Together with Lt. Col. Wade McClusky (Luke Wilson) and Deputy Admiral William “Bull” Halsey (Dennis Quaid) they act on the front lines against Japanese forces.
As a film that is supposed to show important history in WWII and especially for the US, this film feels ordinary and quite bland. Throughout the film, it is like visualizing a history book into film format with CGI wrapping and air/sea battles that lack emotion. This film tries to describe every event chronologically and accurately with timestamp instructionsfor every important historical event that occurred throughout the film. Midway does not manage to describe the traumatic impact and losses suffered by war but it looks like this film is trying to show the heroism and toughness of US sailors and airmen in defeating Japanese troops which I think is excessive but that is indeed Emmerich’s character in his films. This film is filled with many large-scale air-sea war scenes which are quite pleasing to the eye but seem repetitive throughout the film. The death of officers in battle on warships and flying troops adorns throughout the film but it is not really explored even though that is the cost of war.that must be borne by every country involved in a great war, especially in the class of WWII. Emmerich made this film with a video game mentality where the audience is placed in the cockpit watching the pilots complete every given death-defying mission in defeating their enemies all the way to the main mission against the big boss in the Battle of Midway. The screenplay written by Wes Tooke is honestly not the main selling point but it’s the accurately reimagined Midway final aerial combat scene that is meant to be the film’s highlight.
Because this film is a historical film, the names in the film are based on real characters who were involved in the Midway war. It can be seen from the cast involved that this film is trying to ‘sell’ through the appearance of the actors who are handsome and dashing which seems to be useless if it is not supported by a good story and performance in the film. Ed Skrein as and Patrick Wilson are two characters who get a fairly dominant portion throughout the film. Ed Skrein appears as a hero with qualified flying skills which is quite convincing even though his accent seems forced in the film. Woody Harrelson, Dennis Quaid, Luke Evans appear ordinary and tend to be one-dimensional without any emphasis in their characters. Similarly, most young actors such as Nick Jonas (Jumanji), Darren Criss (Glee), Keean Johnson (Notorious, Nashville) which appears as a sweetener in this film. Mandy Moore as Anne Best as the only female actress also falls into the stereotypical role of the officer’s wife which does not show much dynamics in the film. For the standout role in this film is the character played by Patrick Wilson, his character is probably the only interesting character in the film because he is able to display the appropriate anxiety and emotion regarding the burden he bears in providing intelligence information.
If you have watched a lot of war films, there have been more than 400 war films with a period of 80 years that have been released by Hollywood, actually there is not much new in Midway films except special effects and a more sophisticated CGI display in battle scenes. Emmerich treats this film without the ‘soul’ and passion of other directors who are able to make memorable war films (eg Mel Gibson and Christopher Nolan). It is said that this film is Emmerich’s passion project for a long time but the final result does not show that Emmerich really devotes his attention to this film. There’s not much we can remember from this film and it feels like a waste of using a lot of historically important cast and setting if the end result isn’t extraordinarily impressive.