Midway (2019)

The story of the soldiers and aviators who helped turn the tide of the Second World War during the iconic Battle of Midway in June 1942.

Craft 86%
Artistry 92%
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Reviewed on December 3, 2019 by Jon Kaye


Rated PG-13, Action, Drama, History, 138 Minutes

What an awesome picture.  Yes, this picture has been made before but this effort is beautiful filmed, acted, has incredible special effects and sound, and is a joy to watch. The depictions of the naval effort, the intelligence effort, and the aviators' effort create a more interesting portrayal of the lead-up to the battle for Midway and the actual battle itself.  The film depicts efforts of both sides which is quite interesting. Interestingly, the movie incorrectly states that Japan's goal was to eventually invade the US. In actuality, Japan knew they would not be able to beat the US in a protracted war, so the objective was to draw the US Navy into a decisive battle that would be so demoralizing to the US that they would be able to negotiate an end to the war within 6 months and a least keep the oil, steel, and rubber resources in Indonesia. To do that, they had to threaten a US possession that the entire US Navy (including its carriers) would be willing to fight for, so they chose Midway, which was close to Hawaii. Also, in the movie, at the beginning of the attack by Midway's planes on the Japanese, it is depicted that about 12-16 twin engine B-26 bombers conducted a level bombing against Nagumo's flagship, the Akagi. In reality, Midway only had 4 B-26s deployed... they were bravely the first to attack at 0710. They had been converted to torpedo bombers and as such approached at a very low level, not high up to bomb as in the film. Of the 4, 2 were shot down by intense AA fire, and the leader, severely damaged, conducted what may be the first kamikaze attack of the war (YES, an American), attempting to hit Admiral Nagumo's bridge to kill him and missed at the last minute by as little as 5 feet by Japanese accounts. There is much historical debate as to whether this scare might have affected Nagumo's thinking in the next 15 minutes and resulted in the Japanese disaster. And, it was actually Ed Layton's idea to invite John Ford to shoot the Midway battle. He thought it would be good for morale. Layton went to Nimitz and the Admiral agreed to give Ford and his cameraman the opportunity. Ford was pleased with the result and so appreciative that he gave Layton a bit part in the 1952 movie Big Jim McClain, starring John Wayne and James Arness.

What I Liked
  • Beautifully filmed
  • The color in the movie is just lush
  • Solid script, directing, and acting
What I Didn’t
  • I was so engrossed I did not want the movie to end