by Kyle Arango
Remember when you saw that trailer for Pearl Harbor years ago and thought it looked awesome but then you saw it and it was nothing like you expected and completely stunk? Those are the vibes I have around Midway. A retelling of a famous event in history by a director who has proven they are unable to handle material well. Settling for explosions and cheesiness over story. Will Midway prove me wrong and honor this event in history? Not a chance in hell! Roland Emmerich did exactly what I was expecting and nothing more which was to make a really pathetic war film that is insulting to veterans.
Midway is the story about the battle of the midway during World War 2 where the Americans turned the tide of the war after winning the battle against the Japanese. After they got America involved with their attack on Pearl Harbor, the Americans responded with winning one of the most important battles in history. I want to get this out of the way immediately, I respect everything the military and all those serving did during this battle. The courage and bravery of these soldiers to put their lives on the line and go to battle for our country is something I will always admire. Unfortunately, I cannot say I feel the same about this movie. Roland Emmerich is known best for style over substance in his films. Sacrificing rich storytelling and character development for CGI set pieces and big explosions. This is no different in Midway. There are tons of epic pieces where planes are bombing aircraft carriers and turrets are firing in the sky, but it all happens at a rapid pace to where you cannot tell what is going on. It’s just meaningless fire in the sky.
What bothers me the most about this film is how poorly it mistreats its main characters. There are real life heroes in this film who are represented and their accomplishments are displayed in text format when the film ends for us all to see, but I think these people would hate how they are portrayed. They are given no development whatsoever and are instead displayed as these macho machismo “rah rah go America” caricatures instead of actual human beings. If that is what you want from your war films then you will love this but to me, it is incredibly insulting. Every single one of the soldiers are cocky dudes with terrible accents that you just laugh at the ridiculousness of. Again, not insulting the real-life soldiers, just the way Emmerich chose to portray them. Dennis Quaid especially just yelling for no reason was weird. The lack of realism in these characters is my exact opposite reaction of how I felt about Dunkirk, another war film I wasn’t fond of. That film had a zero character and this one was to hyperbolic. However, I do feel like if Christopher Nolan saw this film, he would barf. Just an utter embarrassment and the more I think of it, the worse it gets.
Midway is an embarrassing cluster of a film that has no place being an honor to our veterans. I did not serve but have close family members who did and know for certain they would not like this movie. The CGI is like a Universal ride, the characters are all either blandy mcblandpants or cocky jerk, and the action is akin to being hit in the face with silly string from multiple angles for two and a half hours. Chalk it up as another bad Roland Emmerich film who is very consistent at crafting insults to cinema.
The Verdict: 1/5 Stars