Movie Review: Midway

We have just passed one of the most important weekends in the year – the one that isn’t all about candy, nor about family getting together to stuff their stomachs – but the one that has the most important meaning.

Remembrance Day (or Veterans Day) is a time to pay respects to those who fought in the wars of the past – the ones that guaranteed our freedom and rights to live in the peace we do today.

How fitting that on the weekend that we all gather to remember those lost — a movie depicting one of the biggest naval/areal battles of the Pacific during WWII comes out in theaters. For those who don’t know why this movie is such a hype, let me give you a general breakdown of the Battle of Midway.

Years before the start of WWII, there was already tension between Japan and the United States regarding positions within the Pacific and the ongoing threat of the USA cutting oil reserves to Japan – who depend on those reserves to thrive.

This tension came to a head on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked with their carrier fleet on Pearl Harbor, downing many battleships, but missing taking out key carrier that ere out to sea already and not taking out the oil tankers. This essentially “woke a sleeping giant”… and lead to multiple confrontation/retaliation campaigns by the USA, including the Doolittle raid bombing of mainland Japan and the battle of the Coral Sea.

Through keen code breaking, the USA intelligence was able to learn ahead of time that Japan was planning to invade Midway, which was a fundamental base for the USA in the Pacific. With that tip, the US fleet was able to be at Midway in time to take on the Japanese. The US fleet had three main carriers (Hornet, Yorktown and Enterprise) leading the charge.

On June 4, 1942, the Japanese launch an air attack against Midway. A US submarine (the Nautilus) is able to locate an enemy carrier (the Arashi), and while unable to successfully torpedo it, they force the Japanese to make a rash decision to leave it behind to pin down the sub so the carrier could make their escape.  It is that ship that eventually would be the direct guide for the US pilots to follow to find the main Japanese fleet.

Another critical mistake by the Japanese, is that they hastily decided to rearm their planes for anti-ship attacks – which costs time while the aircraft ordinance is switched over. Anti-aircraft fire and evasive maneuvers were not enough for the Japanese fleets to escape the attack of various US squadrons  – and three of the main Japanese carriers (Akagi, Kaga, and Sōryū) were taken out.  Unfortunately, the US fleet took a brutal hit in the loss of the Yorktown carrier – which was already damaged from battle in the Coral Sea.

The US squadrons regroup and decide to go after the last Japanese carrier – the Hiryu.  Via a barrage of dive bombers, a critical hit is made causing the destruction of the Hiryu and forcing the Japanese to withdraw from battle as to avoid any further loss of battleships and men – especially with no air cover —- thus, the battle at Midway was over.

Now that you know the history of the event the movie is based on, perhaps it can give you insight to why this movie is top rated and such a must see.

Unlike previous war films that try to add too much extra story line (such as the first hour of mushy love story in Pearl Harbor), Midway keeps straight to the facts and is fully based on real accounts of actual people who fought and died in the Battle of Midway.

There is a slight story line centered around one character, Richard Halsey Best, who was the lead dive bomber who helped sink one carrier and assisted in many of the other raids and contributing damage to the Japanese fleet. There is some show of his civilian life with his wife and daughter, his connections to some of the other characters, but its just to perhaps give some reality to life for a military family during the time of WWII.

The digital imaging is so precise and thrilling in the movie, that you can almost feel yourself standing on the carrier, hanging above flames as you try to escape after the ships were blown up at Pearl Harbor or even more, being in the driver seat of the dive bomber as it bypasses air fire and speeds towards the carrier. There is no detail spared, all ships and planes look realistic, battle scenes are epic and it visually will keep your eyes locked in.

The one bad side to the movie, is you have to pay very close attention to what is happening and what is being said, as each piece of the story of the Battle of Midway, ties together and it is easy to get lost in what is happening if you miss something.

Also, why do the really cute actors have to die?? I am kidding, it’s a war movie,

Regardless if you are a war/history fan or you are just looking for a movie with some high powered action, I highly recommend checking out Midway for yourself. I promise you will take something away from it.

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A Thrilling Moment of History

For history lovers and action lovers -- high intensity digital imaging and action packed.