“MIDWAY” – 8.5
In a word: Deja Vu
Here’s the short version. “Midway” is a well-made war movie, but if you’re a middle-aged (or older) you will think you’re seeing the 1970 version, “Tora Tora Tora” all over again. It’s a remake, a la, scene after scene of American pilots flying, bombing and diving over Japanese war ships.
Just as in “Tora,” Yamamoto is often featured as the Japanese leader aboard his battleship leading the enemy into an invasion of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, and later, reciting the same phrase “I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant.”
Certainly, with technology advanced over nearly 50 years, the action shots are more spectacular and frightening. And, while the Pearl Harbor raid is well-recreated at the beginning of the film, the later objective is to defeat the Japanese air and naval forces at a crucial setting at the Midway atoll, in the Pacific. The movie certainly highlights the bravery and valor of the American military heroes as they finally claim victory over the enemy but not before thousands lose their lives. Without a doubt, some filming shots are visually spectacular, as the American commanders and soldiers fight with valor.
Acting is good, though some of the lines in the early part of the movie, I thought, were too corny and amateurish for such an epic film. Main roles, such as Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Jimmy Doolittle, were deftly played by Woody Harrelson and Aaron Eckhart. But the Oscar nominations are more likely to be assigned for Cinematography, Editing and Special Effects. In a technical sense, some scenes were simply head-shakers.
I couldn’t help but think of other movies made about the Midway Atoll conflict, including a 1976 release, same title, same story, starring Henry Fonda and Charlton Heston.
Yet, seeing another “Tora” movie brings the rating down a couple points. Even the back-and-forth cross-sections of dialogue is the same, with the focus on shifting points of view from Japanese military leaders, with sub-titles, and then American men in the fighting mode. That’s a carbon copy from “Tora.”
If a revived Gone With The Wind were to be remade, I would certainly go see it. However, I hesitate to think any man in the modern era would tell his woman, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
In the modern era, advances in special effects, filming and sound, such as sensurround, can blow your eardrums off. Regardless, this is a tremendous motion picture. Very little profanity issues, no sex, but … violence?
I give this movie a rating 8 ½ out of 10.