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Midway

Duration: 138 min

Release:

IMDb: 6.7

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The story of the Battle of Midway, and the leaders and soldiers who used their instincts, fortitude, and bravery to overcome massive odds.

Overly long and overstuffed with both characters and combat scenes, this movie (based on the same-named 1976 film ) clearly has its heart in the ideal place, but it’s not much fun to see. The clear objective is to honor the soldiers, both Japanese and American, who fought in the critical WWII battle. But the effect is numbing, using too many lookalike faces and perplexing, endless shots of airplanes wheeling in the sky. How come filmmakers have not figured out that conflicts are a drag to watch if you can not figure out who’s fighting and what’s happening, no matter how well they’re made? If Midway had escalated to that chaos and made the battle arenas visceral — like the bravura opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan — it could have earned over the reflexive wince audiences feel at seeing another human being die a horribly violent departure.

Concentrating more closely on one or only a few characters could also have given the action more emotion. We’re introduced into nine main characters on the side at once, at least four of whom seem unbelievably similar (Aaron Eckhart and Alexander Ludwig: separated at birth?) And all wearing the same clothes — OK, it is a uniform, but it doesn’t help. On the other hand, the portrayal of the Japanese army officials is just one of this movie’s bright spots: Though Midway’s overall vibe is fiercely pro-American, Axis’ conclusions are portrayed sympathetically, and their stories are given dignity. Wait, who’s hugging who? And why? We don’t know, so it’s difficult to care for all these scenes, and also for this so-so movie.


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