Midway is a film I’ve been looking forward to since I first saw a trailer for it and, knowing it was from the unsubtle Roland Emmerich, I figured it would at least be visually entertaining from start to finish… But… how can you take such a piece of history and make the most utterly uninvolving and dull piece of junk ever created?
I even quite enjoyed 2016’s Independence Day: Resurgence, and that was so badly-received that the potential ending to the trilogy was then touted as a TV series, and then cancelled altogether. However, the writing was on the wall when I went to see it on day one and the auditorium was empty apart from me.
But… (again), I do have more to say, not least with the fact that only at the end did I realise that the characters were based on real people. I mean… Dick Best?! Where’s John Inman and Kenneth Williams when you need them?
Okay, let’s have some good… Early on, we get the Pearl Harbour bombing in brief, and where the action mostly centres on two characters, you do actually get invested in how well or badly they’re going to fare as they attempt to escape their burning ship.
It’s also quite cool that the film opens with a 1940s-tinted Lionsgate logo, or perhaps it’s the ’30s, since the filmstarts in December 1937 Tokyo before moving on to 1942, and eventually, up to June 4th of that year, as we get to the fateful day, where the Japanese then want to destroy every US aircraft carrier.
But then, let’s move onto all the bad about Midway…
- 1. British actors attempting crap American accents with painful, forgettable dialogue, such as one (who I can’t remember) saying, “I have faith in me, but I need to know if they have faith in themselves!”
- 2. In fact, there are so many terrible lead actors, meaning you just don’t care about any of the characters whatsoever, thus don’t care if they’ll live or die.
Then, Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring 2) has a face a mile long with a mile less acting talent, Dennis Quaid (who really needs to cut down on smoking!), Woody Harrelson and Luke Evans just go through the motions, and Aaron Eckhart also can’t act, but thankfully, no sooner does he appear than his character exits stage left, never to be seen again, even though you get the impression he’s going to appear in more scenes, so this is an example of poor editing as he must’ve shot more, but it’s been left on the cutting room floor… but then at 138 minutes, the film is more than long enough already!
- 3. Any truly engaging action is so brief and few and far between, while everything inbetween the action is just so boring.
- 4. It’s so dumb how one American gets shot down by the Japanese, and then just gives up as his plane crashes down into the water, rather than doing the sensible thing to take revenge on the enemy by trying to kamikaze into them when he had the chance.
- 5. Dialogue is often obscured by the musical score, as often happens with a BBC drama(!)
- 6. Oh, and there’s the age-old cliche of a Japanese captain wanting to go down with the ship because of “honour”. Ugh, pur-lease!
Of course, instead of November, this film should really have been released ‘midway’ throughout the year… eh? (slow hand clap)
And now the bit where I have beef about the movie’s presentation. Well, nothing that the cinema had done wrong, but as anyone will know who reads my cinema reviews regularly, if an auditorium has separate front and back sections of seating, I’ll aim to sit at the back of the front section, and as central as possible. I knew this particular screening was in screen 7, which is perfect for this, with a trio of seats that no-one else ever goes in… until that night.
There was one man there as I entered the room, even though I’d got there 15 minutes before the film began!
Okay, so there are a couple of flanks of seats which are not too far off centre, so they’re acceptable, but… what a kick in the teeth!
Eventually, the adverts come on, and then the trailers. Personally, once the trailers begin, I know there’s about 10 minutes until the film starts, so it’s then that I use the toilet… especially for a film that’s well over two hours in length.
But…what’s this? That bloke goes to do exactly the same thing!
Anyhoo, I go and come back, and he doesn’t return. Is he stuck in a cubicle? Is he coming back? Should I reclaim my throne? I wasn’t sure, and after a while, I just settled in to where I was and watched the film. I stay throughout the end credits, and as I saw once the lights went up a bit, he’d gone to the back and I saw him walking down those stairs.
Who’d have thought that that bit of drama was a lot more interesting than the film, itself?
Running time: 138 minutes
Release date: November 8th 2019
Viewed at: Odeon Trafford Centre
Studio: Lionsgate UK
Format: 2.39:1 (DXL RAW (8K), Redcode RAW (8K))
Director: Roland Emmerich
Producers: Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser
Screenplay: Wes Tooke
Music: Harald Kloser, Thomas Wanker (as Thomas Wander)
Dick Best: Ed Skrein
Edwin Layton: Patrick Wilson
Chester W. Nimitz: Woody Harrelson
Wade McClusky: Luke Evans
Ann Best: Mandy Moore
Clarence Dickinson: Luke Kleintank
William ‘Bull’ Halsey: Dennis Quaid
Jimmy Doolittle: Aaron Eckhart
James Murray: Keean Johnson
Bruno Gaido: Nick Jonas
Isoroku Yamamoto: Etsushi Toyokawa
Tamon Yamaguchi: Tadanobu Asano
Eugene Lindsey: Darren Criss
George ‘Tex’ Gay: Brandon Sklenar
Willie West: Jake Manley
Chuichi Nagumo: Jun Kunimura
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.