Review: Midway (2019)
Midway to the bottom of the ocean.You have to feel sorry for Roland Emmerich sometimes. He is a Director big on looks, short on substance and incapable of combining the two. This has pretty much been his trademark throughout his career. He truly believes this shallow approach to film-making is still suitable for a 21st Century audience that expects so much more than a virtual reality computer game. Sure, Emmerich's wowed us all with his CGI wizardry back in the technology's youth but the world has moved on and the generation that he must entertain now aren't so easily tricked by a couple of hours of trivial amusement.
"Independence Day", "Godzilla" and "The Day after Tomorrow"; big budgets (between $75-$100 million) and visually spectacular but dig a little deeper and the films fall apart in every other category. Unfortunately "Midway" is more of the same. It's a story that is nothing other than a glorified history lesson, desperately trying to reach out to an audience that quickly slides into boredom. The characters, all based on real life navy veterans, having experienced first hand the battle that changed the fate of the war in the Pacific, are devoid of any significance. In the end they are just background noise to the real "hero" of Emmerich's creation; his reliance on the big green screen. "Midway" desperately lacks a purpose, especially with the recent release of Sam Mendes' excellent World War One war drama, "1917".
Based on the very real naval battle of 1942 between the might of Japan's Imperial Navy and America's decimated war ships after the nightmare of Pearl Harbour, "Midway transports the audience into a mundane mess of handicapped scenes in search of a solid foundation but instead rapidly sinks to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean just like the doomed carriers of the Imperial Navy. Not even a sprinkling of "almost famous" stars of yesteryear, including Woody Harrelson and Dennis Quaid, could rescue this movie from the disaster that it would inevitably to become.
Harsh words, I know, but Emmerich's attempt at a classic war drama had the potential to be so much more. The script seemed to be rushed and basic at best, as if the screen writers had nothing constructive to say and instead filled the pages with lame corny lines designed to boost the American ego. And oh, don't get me writing about the class of acting. "Midway" is an entry level film for actors that have never been able to hold their own on much more accomplished productions or for rising stars of the screen that just need that break to take them to the next step of their careers, so it came as a surprise to see solid bankable Hollywood mainstays such as Luke Evans and Aaron Eckhart lowering themselves to this level. But even a film like "Midway" attracts the best of them.
Emmerich is never going to change his style. He enjoys what he creates and has been doing it for 25 years but for the intelligent viewer, "Midway" just isn't worth the price of admission. 4/10.