search
top

Midway.

The movie “Midway” opened this weekend which may have been timed to coincide with Veteran’s Day on Monday.

Nothing like using vets to promote a movie, eh? But we digress……

The battle of Midway is literally the turning point of the war in the Pacific in World War II.

We know that it is difficult to compress days, weeks and even months into a 2 hour 18 minute flick. We know that it is impossible to tell the story of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who were part of the Midway story. You have to combine some things and we get that. What bothers us is when things are historically inaccurate or real life characters are turned into cartoons who do nothing but speak cliches.

The film is getting mixed reviews and we think that is to be expected. Directed by Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day,” “Day After Tomorrow”) critics seem to note that as a docu-drama, the movie fails on many levels. Patrons seem to like the movie because it is “flashy” and full of stuff that goes “boom.” Patrons like video game type movies.

One reviewer from the Military Times is exceedingly harsh on the film.

FILM STRUCTURE

For starters, there was none.

It is an experience best compared to a sudden midlife development of Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

[….]

DIALOGUE

Listening, painfully, to the dialogue of this film, I couldn’t help but imagine a movie production setting in which the crew is conferring with a chimpanzee who has just begun learning American Sign Language.

[….]

As such, the writing in “Midway” is astonishingly bad. Every character speaks only in a dialect of recruiting slogans, and for some reason, accents of sailors in the ranks of Emmerich’s Navy indicate an entire force that grew up as either rough and tough New Yorkers or yokels from the Bible Belt.

[….]

SPECIAL EFFECTS / SOUND

This got off to a shaky start with the Pearl Harbor sequence.

Visuals and sound were so unconvincing that the sudden emergence of Optimus Prime from a Hawaiian volcano shouting, “USS Arizona, roll out!” would not have come as a surprise.

[….]

ACTING

Awful.

[….]

DETAIL, SHMETAIL

The most ordinary of details that could be researched via Wikipedia with a .23 second Google search proved to be too much of an ask for the production crew of a movie based on the battle that turned the tide of the entire war in the Pacific.

Yet perhaps this reviewer hits the nail on the head as to what we find disagreeable in many modern day war flicks. It is as if the director forgets what was at stake in WWII.

Finally, the last on-screen wording says, “This film is dedicated to the Americans and Japanese who fought at Midway.”

The same fanatical Japanese military who killed over 40 percent of American prisoners of war or used prisoners for rifle and bayonet target practice? The same who massacred at least 20 million Chinese men, women and children? The same who committed systemic rape of Chinese girls and women using bats, bottles, or bayonets as tools of mutilation before carrying out executions? The same who, according to Ian Toll’s “Conquering Tide,” would have children form into a circle, toss in a live hand grenade and have them play with until it exploded? The same who, when hungry, actually stripped muscle from living humans to eat? The same who used Chinese civilians for testing diseases and pathogens for biological warfare?

Even in the movie, Japanese officers take an American POW, tie rope around his hands that has an anchor attached to the other end, and toss the heavy weight into the Pacific Ocean.

Another reviewer chimes in saying:

The first thing Roland Emmerich should do after his latest movie “Midway” hits theaters is apologize.

It is almost as if recent war movies and “docu-dramas” don’t want the ordinary men and women to be the heroes they are. Instead, they want heroes that they movie creates to be ordinary people whose lives are basically an exaggeration of every day lives, family and relationships.

With hours and hours history, hundreds of books, thousands of documents and most importantly, hundreds of thousands of men and women who helped beat back the Japanese takeover of the Pacific, we don’t think a movie needs to start with the premise of cartoon characters and bad, cliche dialogue. Let the people in the movies be people – not a fictional creation of a historical person.

We were looking forward to seeing this movie and now we’ll just wait until it comes out on some streaming service or something like that. We won’t pay for the thing other than part of a package.

What a waste.



9 Responses to “Midway.”

  1. Most of the reviews I’ve read have not been good, many along the lines of it being cartoonish, not doing the research to understand the era or what happened, the characters not looking, talking, or acting like it’s the 1940’s. Being too modernish.

    And that Japanese thing? The original did a good job making the Japanese human without making them sympathetic characters.

  2. […] Raised On Hoecakes covers the release of the new Midway movie […]

  3. I liked the movie. Given we are allies now with Japan–I do not see a problem with the message at the end–any more than we can distinguish between Nazis and Germans (and remember the director is a German national). I thought the treatment of the Japanese was about the same as the original Midway.

    Yes there were flaws with it. It had that ‘Longest Day’ feel going from one major star to the other. Still–it did give a historically accurate outline from Pearl Harbor to Midway when the War was turned about.

    The director is known for action movies. This was an action movie.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Evi L. Bloggerlady,

      Thank you for the comment.

      Given we are allies now with Japan–I do not see a problem with the message at the end–any more than we can distinguish between Nazis and Germans (and remember the director is a German national).

      With all due respect, when is the last time you saw a WWII movie that said the Germans in WWII were wonderful, and in doing so forget the Holocaust, the treatment of Russian civilians, and events such as the Malmedy massacre? While the Japanese are our allies now, context is everything and in the context of the times, the Japanese were basically an evil empire. To forget that is to forget history.

      I thought the treatment of the Japanese was about the same as the original Midway.

      That would be the original Midway where the Japanese were never accused of anything and the Unites States were shown to be racists?

      Still–it did give a historically accurate outline from Pearl Harbor to Midway when the War was turned about.

      The problem is that this was not an “outline” or a syllabus of a movie. This was a movie where the characters were cartoons and the accuracy was off.

      The director is known for action movies. This was an action movie.

      That’s fine. But it is not being portrayed as just an action film. That’s the problem.

      And while you mention “The Longest Day,” we hope that you are aware that the movie was so accurate that between Cornelious Ryan’s book (on which the movie was based) and the movie, relatives found out what happened to their loved ones and in many cases, were re-united with them. There were also a large number of military men that appeared in the Longest Day – actual people who had served and put their lives on the line.

      This movie may appease the masses, but it doesn’t do much for those who care about history.

      Thanks again for the comment.

      A. Afterwit.

      • I do not understand your hatred of this movie. We saw different movies. I did not like it as I liked BoB or the Pacific (both of which I though were excellent)–but it was better than Midway 1976 and Pearl Harbor.

        Ok–the original Midway was more PC in 1976 than Midway 2019 was. Got it.

        This movie did not focus on the rape of Nanking (although it did address Japanese torture and murder of POWs and briefly touched on Japanese abuse of Chinese civilians). But you contention it made the Japanese “wonderful” is just not true.

        • AAfterwit says:

          Evi L Bloggerlady,

          Thank you again for your comment.

          We saw different movies.

          We agree. You saw a bang bang shoot ’em up movie. We saw a movie that tried to present itself as history and failed.

          I did not like it as I liked BoB or the Pacific (both of which I though were excellent)–but it was better than Midway 1976 and Pearl Harbor.

          BoB was great. The Pacific was based on one person’s writings and those writings from the day the book was released have been disputed by the people who were there. Anything is better than Pearl Harbor.

          But you contention it made the Japanese “wonderful” is just not true.

          We’ll restate the dedication to the movie:

          “This film is dedicated to the Americans and Japanese who fought at Midway.”

          YAY! Let’s dedicate a film to the Japanese who bombed and strafed civilians at Pearl Harbor in that sneak attack. Let’s dedicate the film to the Japanese who shot at downed fliers at Midway.

          Next up, “This film is dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust, Adolph Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Eichmann.”

          Would you accept that?

          The movie is fine as a cartoon that is poorly written and historically has issues. If you like movies like that, more power to you. Enjoy them. Have fun.

          We, on the other hand, don’t like movies that deal with real events and that cheapen the people that were there.

          Thanks again.

          A. Afterwit.

  4. ‘The Pacific’ was based on ‘Helmet For My Pillow’ and ‘Last Of The Old Breed’ with additional writing about John Basilone. I am not sure which book you had a beef with on that one.

    I thought the new Midway portrayed the American characters as the heroes they were. Sorry you didn’t like it.

  5. I think it impossible to sum up in 3 hours the atrocities of war, or the agenda of those who start them. It’s simply not possible. If you want to know the story, study the history from many sources.

    Don’t expect on a 3 hour film to be historically correct. Their intent is to make money and that particular industry will target an audience carefully based on expendable income, and likelihood of getting their money. Historical accuracy be damned.

    All those that sacrificed deserve for truths to be told, and told in context.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Thomas L Gaume Jr,

      Thank you for the comment.

      We don’t expect a movie to summarize the atrocities committed in a way in three hours. What we do expect is not to dedicate a film to those who committed the atrocities.

      Don’t expect on a 3 hour film to be historically correct.

      Why? Why when the movie promos and actors say that the movie is historically correct should we not expect the movie to be historically correct?

      As we remember, you are a Navy vet.

      The movie claims that the Navy Cross is the highest honor awarded to members of the Navy. That’s simply not true.

      The movie had scenes where the CGI guns shown were not available in that time.

      There are always going to be compromises in characters and events to fit into a certain time frame. The inaccuracies we are talking about are the ones that would have taken the production staff no more time to get right.

      Midway is historically inaccurate, poorly written and full of cartoon-y characters. If that is the type of movie you want and expect, more power to ya. We hope that you enjoyed the flick.

      If you wanted more – more honor and respect for the men that fought in the battle in the way of truth, this is not the movie to see.

      Thanks again.

      A. Afterwit.

  6. Spurwing Plover says:

    I saw the 1976 version with Charelton Heston and Eddie Albert the fate of Tordeda eight and its soul suvivor Ens George Gay and how the Torpedo Planes and when our Dive Bombers came down and hit them while they were refueling rearming their planes

Leave a Reply

top