Movie review: Midway
We should learn from history.
Rather than see Michael Bay's 2001 Pearl Harbor as the way to not depict a true story, Midway has used the derided WWII epic as a template.
Like Pearl Harbor, this war film wants to be many things - an honest depiction of war, a melodrama and a thrill-ride blockbuster.
Darting around like an excitable hound can drag, and it makes for an incredibly long two hours.
Midway should have tried much harder to be interesting. The subject is fascinating, a pivotal moment in history.
This should have everything - a military reeling from a surprise attack, the tension of cracking codes to discover the enemy's next move and then convincing the reluctant brass to act, the sheer bravery and sacrifice of the pilots who went up in little more than flying tins facing a high chance of death from bullets, fire or drowning.
It does not help that everything is slathered in CGI so unconvincing, it is hard to credit any of what you see as having much truth. They may as well be riding unicorns.
After seeing the aerial combat of Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk (2017), the planes of Midway would feel more at home in Star Wars.
We should not be too surprised. Director Roland Emmerich has previously shown zero regard for plausibility.
The use of actors far too good-looking for the people they are portraying adds another level of disbelief.
Ed Skrein and his cheekbones depict Lieutenant Richard "Dick" Best. During the end reel of photos of the actual people involved, it was a surprise to see that the man existed but not a surprise to find that he looks nothing like Skrein.
Only a few actors come close to giving their roles life.
Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Etsushi Toyokawa and Tadanobu Asano may as well be in a different, better film. Sadly, they cannot elevate this venture.
Did these events happen the way they are depicted in the film? Instinct says no.
Midway stacks its cliches high, creating a rickety tower of Hollywood nonsense.
And while it claims to honour the men who fought, too often it reduces the real people depicted to rote expressions.
STARRING: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Woody Harrelson, Nick Jonas, Mandy Moore
DIRECTOR: Roland Emmerich
THE SKINNY: Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US Navy is thrown into the arena of war and must work out where Japan will strike next.