Midway is a 2019 war film produced & directed by Roland Emmerich (Universal Soldier, Stargate, Godzilla, Independence Day 1/2, White House Down, The Day After Tomorrow, & 2012). It’s based on the Attack on Pearl Harbor & the subsequent Battle of Midway during World War II. Several films have been done on the events including the original 1976 one with the same title as this. It was written & produced by Wes Tooke (Jean-Claude Van Johnson & Colony). It was produced by Ute Emmerich (The Visitor, The Patriot, The Thirteenth Floor, & Eye of the Storm), Mark Gordon (Saving Private Ryan, Ray Donovan, Steve Jobs, & War Dogs), & Brent O’Connor (Power Tangers, Warcraft, The X Files: I Want to Believe, & Elektra). It was independently put together by Roland Emmerich after being turned down by various major studios. The budget was $100 million & it grossed $124.8 million worldwide at the box office.
Isoroku Yamamoto quietly informs intelligence officer Edwin T. Layton (played by: Patrick Wilson from Watchmen, The Conjuring franchise, Insidious franchise, Hard Candy, & Aquaman) that they will take action if their oil supplies are threatened. On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Japanese use their carrier fleet to strike at Pearl Harbor. The attack leads the US to enter World War II. Shortly thereafter, a command shake-up occurs at Pearl Harbor as Admiral Chester Nimitz (played by Woody Harrelson from Zombieland 1/2, Natural Born Killers, Solo, & Venom 1/2) assumes command of the badly damaged US Pacific Fleet. Layton speaks with Nimitz over his failure to convince Washington of the impending attack on Pearl Harbor. Nimitz instructs him to stick to his guns in the next battle with Washington so as to avoid a repeat of the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor. In April 1942, following the Doolittle Raid, the Japanese turn their attention to the Coral Sea. Joseph Rochefort (played by: Brennan Brown from Focus, State of Play, & Person of Interest) & his cryptology team begins intercepting messages concerning a location the Japanese identify as “AF”. Layton speaks with Nimitz, who informs him that Washington believes “AF” to be a target in the Aleutians. Layton disagrees, believing the intended target to be Midway Atoll. In preparation for an ambush of the Japanese fleet, Nimitz orders carriers Hornet & Enterprise recalled from the Coral Sea and demands that the damaged Yorktown be made ready for combat operations within 72 hours.
The Japanese are stunned, believing the aircraft was attempting a suicide ramming, although Admiral Chūichi Nagumo (played by: Jun Kunimura from Kill Bill, Ichi the Killer, Audition, & Alive) nervously suggests that the plane was out of control due to battle damage. Nautilus, a US submarine, successfully locates and attacks an enemy carrier but the torpedo misses its target. Admiral Nagumo learns of the presence of the US fleet & orders his men to rearm his planes for the anti-ship attack. Upon spotting the Arashi, the Commander of the Air Group (CAG) of the Enterprise, C. Wade McClusky (played by: Luke Evans from Fast & Furious 6/7, Dracula Untold, MA, & The Alienist) correctly infers the Japanese destroyer is rushing back to the main Japanese fleet & leads his planes to follow its course. Enterprise squadron commanders McClusky & Richard Halsey Best (played by: Ed Skrein from Deadpool, Alita: Battle Angel, The Transporter Refueled, & Game of Thrones) successfully lead their planes through the anti-aircraft fire plus destroy the Japanese carriers. Hiryū commanded by Tamon Yamaguchi attempts to rally the remaining Japanese aircraft for an assault against the US carriers. Locating Yorktown, the Japanese bomb and disable the carrier. Upon returning to the Enterprise, Best receives word that about half of his squadron is either missing or destroyed. Informed that there is a surviving Japanese carrier. In Pearl Harbor, Rochefort intercepts the Japanese order to withdraw and passes it to Layton, who then informs Nimitz and his staff of Yamamoto’s (played by: Etsushi Toyokawa from Love Letter, Sword of Desperation, & Beautiful Rain) decision to withdraw, and by extension the US victory in the Battle of Midway, followed by a coda depicting the fate of the various participants as well as Japanese reprisals after the battle.
The events of Midway has been covered in several films when it comes to cinema. It hasn’t been done in awhile & war movies are starting to get popular again. Director Roland Emmerich has done so many blockbusters over the years & it’s great to see an older film maker still making bigger movies right now. If you have seen any of his previous action flicks then you know exactly what to expect with this. The visual fx, production design, & everything else is at a high quality here. Midway looks & sounds amazing, it’s loaded with all kinds of action. The script was solid but it was all over the place with this. I personally think it should have been about 15 minutes because it dragged on at times. The main thing that grabbed my attention for this feature was the all star cast. That’s the true highlight here with this production, it’s loaded with talent with includes Woody Harrelson, Patrick Wilson, Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight), Dennis Quaid (Jaws 3-D), Luke Evans, Ed Skrein, Jake Weber (Dawn of the Dead), Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace), Mandy Moore (47 Meters Down), Mark Rolston (Aliens), Jun Kunimura, & Tadanobu Asano. This may not be the best adaptation of these true events but it’s very entertaining. It’s definitely worth checking out, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Lionsgate! 2160p (2.39:1) transfer with Dolby Vision & HDR10 looks stunning in 4K. It’s definitely one of the best looking UHD releases of the year so far. It has a variety of audio options which includes English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English: Dolby Digital 2.0, & Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 on this UHD. It sounds amazing & it’s one of those movies to test out your home system on because it roars through the speakers. The dialogue is crystal clear, all the action has a killer boost to it, & all the music is elevated here. It has English SDH & Spanish subtitles. Both picture & sound are top notch here, VERY impressed!!!!
Let’s discuss the special features from Lionsgate! “Audio Commentary” with producer & director Roland Emmerich. “Getting it Right: The Making of Midway” is a little over 14 minutes. It has interviews with director Roland Emmerich, actors Woody Harrelson, Patrick Wilson, Dennis Quaid, Luke Evans, Ed Skrein, Darren Criss, & various members of the production. Roland Emmerich says he has been trying to make this project for a long time now. They chat about how it got started. They talk about how important it was to get everything correct for this. They bring up the real events & sacrifices made for it. They showcase the production design here. They show the set & the classic planes being put together. It has behind the scenes footage. They chat about working with director Roland Emmerich. “The Men of Midway” is a little over 12 minutes. It has interviews with director Roland Emmerich & several key cast members. They talk about put together the cast for Midway. They say respected actors kept wanting to be in it no matter what even if the part was small. They chat about finding performers that looked like the real people from Midway. They bring up their appreciation for the leads that decided to do this project. They go over their experience. “Roland Emmerich: Man on a Mission” is almost 5 minutes. It has interviews with director Roland Emmerich & several key cast members. They chat about working with the known blockbuster director & meeting him for the first time. They talk about his dedication to the movie & how you could tell it was one of his. “Turning Point: The Legacy of Midway” is 15 minutes. It has interviews with several history experts. They break down the real life war. They chat about what exactly happened & caused everything for it. “Joe Rochefort: Breaking the Japanese Code” is a little over 6 minutes. It has interviews with several history experts. They talk about how important this was for Midway & how it saved them for a huge massacre because they were able to prepare for what was going to happen. “We Met at Midway: Two Survivors Remember” is a little over 9 minutes. It has interviews with real life veterans from Midway. They share their stories about what happened to them there. It’s very personal & it’s a great extra. It has a “Theatrical Trailer” for the film. It comes with a slipcover, a digital code, & a blu ray copy of the release. Several store exclusives were released including this beautiful steel book from Best Buy. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!