Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans
Release Date: February 18, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6.5/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
Midway centers on the Battle of Midway, a clash between the American fleet and the Imperial Japanese Navy which marked a pivotal turning point in the Pacific Theater during WWII. The film, based on the real-life events of this heroic feat, tells the story of the leaders and soldiers who used their instincts, fortitude, and bravery to overcome the odds. Directed by Roland Emmerich.
Based upon the famous real events, this new take on ‘Midway’ from director Roland Emmerich begins with the unexpected assault on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese and follows the soldiers involved as they tackle the emotional aftermath of that brutal attack and accompanies them through the next stages of the war, up until the massive battle at ‘Midway’ that finally changed the tide of the war and provided some much needed hope during such a bleak and treacherous time in our history.
Directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) from a screenplay written by Wes Tooke (TV’s Colony), Emmerich does a great job at the helm of ‘Midway’ capturing the era and battles with a beauty and tension that fits perfectly. The film also benefits tremendously from a cast that features numerous well known and talented individuals, including Ed Skrein (Alita: Battle Angel), Patrick Wilson (Aquaman), Luke Evans (MA), Aaron Eckhart (London Has Fallen), Nick Jonas (Jumanji: The Next Level), Etsushi Toyokawa (Laplace’s Witch), Mandy Moore (TV’s This is Us), Dennis Quaid (The Intruder) and Woody Harrelson (Zombielad) along with many more, the majority each offering solid and capable performances for the most part in each of their respective roles.
‘Midway’ is a tense, explosive and quite enjoyable film that covers a series of unforgettable events in our history. It does a great job of recreating the time period that it occurred, capturing the vehicles, uniforms and various surroundings with gorgeous detail and bringing the war sequences to stunning life in a manner that allows you to almost feel in the middle of the chaos, albeit curiously seeming to go out of its way to shy away from the injuries and more painful elements of the battles. While the film does a great job of trying to offer a more faithful and accurate depiction of these events, it does find itself suffering from a lack of character depth and exploration, instead of allowing the film to be an hour longer and really dive into the lives and personal matters of these individuals and therefore allowing us to really get to know them, it instead seems content to simply skim over such material, far more concerned with the war elements that are happening than actually making us care for those people that are fighting these battles; often leaving viewers uncertain as to who it is we might be following at times as a result of jumping between so many different people without taking much time to concentrate on each. It certainly isn’t a perfect film or even the war movie event of the year, but ‘Midway’ still has some undeniable positives going for it such as the capable guidance of Emmerich and a noteworthy cast of talented folks to name a few, altogether more than enough to make worth taking the time to check out whenever possible, especially if you’re already even the slightest bit interested in the movie to begin with.
Overall, ‘Midway’ is an exciting film loaded with breathtaking visuals and a marvelous cast that takes a more accurate approach at the famous events. While it may have its problems and can falter at times and in certain areas, ‘Midway’ is still recommended, especially for those with an interest in the true tale and for anyone that’s already intrigued by the film. It may not hurt to avoid a blind purchase of the Blu-ray release if you haven’t already seen the film, but it should still be worth taking the time to rent a copy whenever possible and should be worthy of the rental cost if nothing else. Those who enjoyed the film and would like to bring it home can also rest easy knowing that the Blu-ray release delivers fantastic high definition video and audio presentations combined with a nice collection of extras that should please the fans.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Midway’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic altogether and delivers a smooth, sharp and richly colored presentation sporting vibrant colors and details throughout, with no noteworthy problems or issues to be uncovered along the way. It holds up admirably even during the various fast moving battles and darkly lit sequences, never allowing anything occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a great high definition video presentation from Lionsgate that looks gorgeous from start to finish and shouldn’t have any trouble satisfying fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack is quite the treat, serving up a crisp, clean and wildly aggressive audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to immerse you in the wartime action, sending bullets, planes, explosions and a whole lot more consistently whipping throughout the various speakers and never causing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a magnificent Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that sounds outstanding every step of the way and constantly compliments the onscreen tension and excitement throughout.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Midway’ features a nice collection of bonus content that takes you deeper into bringing the film to life. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Roland Emmerich’, in addition to various behind the scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and interviews with real survivors of the time along with more including ‘Getting it Right: The Making of Midway’ (running approximately 14 minutes in length), ‘The Men of Midway’ (running approximately 12 minutes), ‘Roland Emmerich: Man on a Mission’ (approximately 5 minutes), ‘Turning Point: The Legacy of Midway’ (15 minutes), ‘Joe Rochefort: Breaking the Japanese Code’ (6 minutes) and ‘We Met at Midway: Two Survivors Remember’ (9 minutes). The film’s ‘Theatrical Trailer’ (approximately 2 minutes) is also included.