It first must be said that when I heard that Roland Emmerich was directing “Midway” I definitely had a sense that he was going to go “full-blown CGI” on the audience, much like he did with his sci-fi flick “Independence Day”. Or that he would play with the facts like he did in the Revolutionary War film “The Patriot” starring Mel Gibson. Thankfully, neither was the case in “Midway.” 

Being a fan of the 1976 movie of the same name and having seen it with the “Surround Sound” feature that shook the floor of the movie theater, I knew that I’d be comparing the two. But my verdict is that the 2019 version of the film stands quite nicely on its own, thank you very much. 

Emerich tempered his over-the-top CGI grandiose tendencies and tried to stick to the facts. Was there a little bit of fudging here and there? Sure, but not to the point of ruining the film. Now to those who do love CGI, the flying scenes where the torpedo planes and dive bombers are attacking the opposing fleets are tremendously done. 

This film’s CGI flying sequences are expertly done and the audience will feel the suspenseful tension as they’re transported into the pilot’s seat. In fact, the film begins with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and one has the feeling that Emerich was trying to outdo the Michael Bay film, where the Japanese caught the Americans asleep at the wheel on December 7, 1941. 

The film then shows the first American answer, the Jimmy Doolittle raid with the famous “30 seconds over Tokyo” with B-25 Mitchell bombers that, just four months after Pearl Harbor, hit the Japanese homeland. Doolittle, played by Aaron Eckhart, is shown landing in Japanese-occupied China and nearly being killed by Chinese guerrillas that were fighting for Chiang Kai-shek.

Written by Wes Tooke, the script sticks to the facts pretty well in telling the story. Besides the aforementioned Pearl Harbor and Doolittle raid, the film also mixes in mentions of the Philippines, the Solomons and the just-completed Battle of the Coral Sea as the film begins. (It should be noted that the Coral Sea battle was the first naval engagement in history where the two opposing fleets never saw one another: Airpower won the day as it would in Midway.) 

But Tooke also wove in some of the most overused cliches that we’ve all seen in every war film that has been produced since the 40s: 

Ed Skrein (Game of Thrones, Deadpool) plays the cocky, hot-shot maverick pilot Dick Best and he easily has the best and juiciest role. Mandy Moore, this time with dark hair, plays Best’s wife Anne, who while protective of her husband and his career is mainly there just for show.