MIDWAY (2019)
(a film review by Mark R. Leeper and Evelyn C. Leeper)

This is a 2019 re-creation of the Battle of Midway, currently best known from the 1976 film MIDWAY. The special effects seem a grade below those of Michael Bey's 2001 PEARL HARBOR, and the script drops a lot of names to tie this film to that one. In fact, the first half of this film is about the attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent Doolittle raid on Tokyo. It is an hour into the film before Midway is more than just a passing name.

But the name-dropping is also because, unlike the earlier 1976 film MIDWAY, or PEARL HARBOR (which also covers the Doolittle Raid), this film does not add fictional characters or a fictional love interest. (Another film set in this period that sticks to real people is TORA! TORA! TORA!) So all the names are real and hence sound a little like name-dropping. Even when names aren't mentioned, there are glimpses of the best-known people from Pearl Harbor. For example, at the awards ceremony shown about an hour in (and which took place shortly before the Battle of Midway on the deck of an aircraft carrier), we see from behind an African- American seaman in the row of recipients; that would be Doris Miller, who was awarded the Navy Cross on May 27 on the deck of the USS Enterprise.

(Many films have featured highly fictionalized accounts of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Doolittle Raid, or both. This may be the first reasonably accurate depiction of those events.)

One problem in war movies is balancing the chaos of battle with the need to let the audience follow what is going on. MIDWAY leans more toward the former than the latter.

Another problem with the film is that it may be too accurate. We are introduced to a lot of actors with unfamiliar faces who are much less familiar than those in, say, the earlier MIDWAY, making it harder to keep the characters straight. This makes it harder to follow the events.

The script also takes the story from 1937 to 1942, chops it in pieces, and although it shows them in chronological order, the script jumps a few months or years with only minimal warning.

Mark summarizes: "I never actually followed a historic battle for accuracy. This one I did. The Battle of Midway is one of the most amazing stories in military history and I was very pleased to see a new film featuring that story."

This is the rare war film that gets more points for historic accuracy than for entertainment. I rate it a low +3 on the -4 to +4 scale, or 8/10.

Film Credits: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6924650/reference

What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/midway_2019

					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2021 Mark R. Leeper