Download Movie Movie Review: Midway

Download Movie Movie Review: Midway

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critic’s rating:  3.0/5 The Battle of Midway, which took place six months after Pearl Harbour, formed a turning point in the war against Japan. Not only was the US Navy able to beat the Japanese Navy and Air Force, but it also made the Japanese rethink their strategy and forego the advantage they had gained by attacking Pearl Harbour. There already exists a called Midway (1976), based on the iconic battle starring big guns like Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Glenn Ford, Robert Mitchum and Japanese Toshiro Mifune. That glorified American war machinery, paid homage to the gallantry of the individual pilots and also showcased the battle from the Japanese point of view. Director Roland Emmerich has faithfully followed the path laid down by the earlier and the result is a history lesson of sorts, punctuated by some great shots of aerial combat.  Emmerich has pulled in the likes of Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Dennis Quaid, Nick Jonas and Woody Harrelson into this old-fashioned war drama. Ed Skrein plays Lieutenant Dick Best, a fearless pilot who leads from the front, risking his life repeatedly and bombs not one but two aircraft carriers in a single day during the crucial battle. It’s in choreographing Dick Best’s exploits that Emmerich’s creativity as a director comes alive. You know it’s all CGI but you still remain glued to your seats as Dick flies into a sea of anti-aircraft bullets and successfully drops his bombs. The POV shots from within the cockpit are something else indeed. Patrick Wilson plays intelligence officer Edwin Layton, whose warnings about a Japanese attack on Pearl harbour were said to be ignored by Washington. The underplays the trauma of a man trying his hardest to redeem himself in his own eyes, unreasonably blaming himself for the earlier debacle.  Cometh the hour, cometh the man, as they say. The newly appointed commander of the Pacific fleet, Admiral Nimitz, played by Woody Harrelson, trusts Layton enough to heed his advice. In fact, one of the film’s most endearing moments is Nimitiz’s personal inspection of the eccentric codebreakers who played such a crucial role in winning the war. They were reportedly the secret weapon of the US defence. The Japanese didn’t know that the American codebreakers had encrypted their code and were able to read their reports with a high degree of accuracy. It’s intelligence gathered by men under Layton that made the Americans guess the Japanese plans in advance and helped turned the tide.  Lieutenant Commander Wade McClusky, the no-nonsense officer who led the air assault is played by Luke Evans and Vice Admiral ‘Bull’ Halsey, who directed initial operations from USS Enterprise but couldn’t take part in the final assault because of a skin condition is played by Dennis Quaid. Aaron Eckhart plays Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, who led an air raid on Tokyo, America’s first successful response against the Japanese. Running out of fuel, he had to bail out and he and his fellow pilots are helped in their escape by Chinese civilians. We surely wanted to know more about them but that strand was inexplicably cut short.    It’s not just the pilots but the gunners too who had a large hand in shifting the momentum. Keenan Johnson’s character plays the nervous youngster who just about keeps his fingers on the trigger and gets the job done. Juxtaposed to him is Nick Jonas’ character who is a daredevil of sorts and once is shown blasting away at an approaching Japanese bomber from a parked aircraft.  Roland Emmerich has faithfully recreated the naval and aerial manoeuvres and the CGI makes you believe you’re actually watching them unfold with your naked eye. While the visual imagery and the cinematography are indeed mind-boggling, in trying to squeeze together the various battles in 138 minutes, Emmerich has compromised on character building. We hardly get to know the historical figures that shaped the course of the Pacific front. They largely come across as one-dimensional characters. As a result, while the action is dazzling indeed, the film lacks an emotional core which is so vital in war films. It doesn’t move us as Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk (2017) did for instance and hence doesn’t cross over from being good to being great… Trailer : Midway

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