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Midway Movie Review

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Midway Movie Review

#1 Post by SWIHARTMARK » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:10 pm

Ummh, wife bought two tickets for the opening night show, so I went.

The movie exceeded my expectations for the most part. Perhaps it is was because today's CGI has become so far advanced that I didn't miss real, but modern ships standing in for CGI generated ones. If you look at enough photos of old warships, you really do become annoyed with modern stand ins, so seeing what the real thing might have looked like in color in battle and moving at the same time was a real treat. The only screw up was that they used a Yorktown class carrier in place of a sinking Lexington at the battle of the Coral Sea. Since I'm a big fan of the Lexington class carriers converted from battle cruisers laid down with what appears to be the same propulsion system of an Iowa class battleship, you tend to cherish any glimpse you can get of one.

I did find the historical accuracy far above normal for the most part. It was impressive that it was mentioned that 250,000 Chinese were killed in retaliation for Doolittle's raid when Doolittle was honored in the end of the movie. I've read it before, but nobody, and I mean nobody mentions just how many Chinese were killed for it. I do know the film makers were short of cash to make their movie, so some Chinese investors stepped in. I'm guessing the Chinese government was likely behind this and has likely green lighted the film to be shown in China, which should recoup the $100 million for the cost of the film, which I don't think it will even come close to making in the states. I really think is it is about time that story has been told though. That is close to the number of men we lost in all of WWII.

The code breaking story was good. It wasn't mentioned that Rochefort's career went down hill after Midway for seemingly petty reasons. He is the guy in the bath robe in the basement with the bandsmen deciphering radio intercepts. If you read some of John Prados work on the subject, you will get a good sense of how it all came together more than any film can cover, or documentary on so called history channels. Also, it can not be overstated that the higher ups did not trust their intel people. Like the battle of Midway, we were aware of Japanese plans in the Coral Sea, but the Navy was far more skeptical then.

As for the battle scenes, they were done well. Many Japanese fighters were downed by rear gunners, which seems far fetched, but "they blowed up real good" as John Candy used to say in his farm reports from the old Second City TV shows. The Pearl Harbor attack sequences were a sight for sore eyes as the actual ships were done well, not to mention the damage to them. Unlike past films, they were able to depict the fleet getting hit by multiple planes at the same time, which was extremely eye popping. Not seeing a mock up or Arliegh Burke class destroyer in the background was refreshing.

The air attack scenes during Midway were good to watch. I did get to see John Ford in action on Midway for once and loved it. You also get to see the strikes from Midway island being mauled, not to mention torpedo squadron 8 being almost wiped out to a man. What is different from other movies depictions is that you get to see whole squadrons getting pounced on, not a plane here and a plane there, not to mention all those AA tracers from the ships. That was something that hasn't been done before. You also get to see what a dive bomb attack looks like with an entire view of the whole squadron going in.

As for showing the effects of bomb hits on Japanese carriers, that was done well. CGI only made it better, if not stunning. Showing the fast spread of fires and explosions below the flight deck was well done. I think they show one carrier eventually blowing itself apart while it was burning end to end. Only CGI can do that effectively in my book. No guess work, no imagination, just broad panned views of destruction.

If you wanted to see what the battle and combat might have looked like, Midway delivered. It wasn't all battle scenes, but that would have cost well beyond $100 million to make. Oh, they were able to use green screen technology to show the actors climbing in and out of seemingly real SBDs without skipping a beat. That added a great deal of realism to the picture. Perhaps younger viewers and heavy video game players might not be as impressed, but I was since I grew up when all that was impossible to do. For once I was not groaning seeing the wrong plane, wrong ship, and wrong just about everything else, Lady Lex excluded.

The personal stories were okay with me as they dealt with real people, not made up ones. They concentrated on a few pilots and at the end of the movie you see why as they were not insignificant players. Reviewers elsewhere seemed to pan them, but what exactly else could they have done with them? I didn't see any other options that would not have annoyed me as being far too dramatic to be believed.

Oh, as with the original Midway movie the Japanese in the film were done well, not cartoonish. Yammato's background was discussed directly and indirectly to good effect. I had zero idea he put a high priority on striking the oil farms near Pearl Harbor, since I never read they intended to strike them before. I've read what would have happened if they did, but that seemed to be US conjecture, not real Japanese planning. I simply scratched my head on that one. I guess that was part of a third wave attack that never happened? You don't really read many documented discussions of what the Japanese planned for in a third wave against Pearl Harbor, so who knows? I did finally get a decent answer why the Japanese just didn't finish Midway off with surface ships. That was a plus for me.

All and in the movie was above my expectations with not many eye rolling and head scratching moments. They did show US Marines on Midway with Springfields, so that was a plus as far as anything related to SRF is concerned. The Chinese partizans had some really well worn Mauser's, which seemed authentic. Not that I really wanted one, but I was glad they didn't show up with M-44s or SKSs. Stuff like that is an eye rolling and head scratching moment for me.

I would guess that this movie will not do good at the box office, so if you want to see it in a theatre, now is you chance. I had speakers all around me and sat in a recliner with a foot rest. I'd take this movie over any Marvel universe film any day. That should say something. No Avenger has anything on the men I just saw depicted.

Best Regards.

Mark

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Re: Midway Movie Review

#2 Post by HectorFuego » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:58 pm

I pretty much agree. It exceeded my expectations, too. From what I know about the battle it appeared to be about as historically accurate as it could have been.

I was impressed that the casting agents managed to find actors who looked so much like the people they were portraying ... especially Woody Harrelson as Admiral Nimitz. He did a great job of being the type of leader necessary for the job at hand.

BTW, we saw it in MX4D which means the seats moved with the action so we were jerked around from explosions which were accompanied by strobe lights in the theater. Got sprayed with mist and felt the wind in our faces. Momma Fuego mentioned the smell, too but I don't have the greatest sniffer so I didn't notice it. Kinda glad it wasn't also in 3D. That might had involved a change of knickers.

It's a good show and as I said fairly accurate historically. I would encourage people to see it.

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Re: Midway Movie Review

#3 Post by SWIHARTMARK » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:11 am

I thought Woody Harrelson was going to be a distraction, but he wasn't, which was good. Dennis Quaid did a decent job as Halsey and explaining his rash as never before. Some people have complained in reviews that McClusky and Best's characters weren't too believable, but I have no idea where they got that idea since naval pilots before WWII were tough birds as the job was dangerous to begin with. I thought the naval intelligence side story was better done than most depictions. Too bad they really skipped the Coral Sea or didn't set it up more. I don't think they mentioned they stripped Pearl Harbor of people to fix the Yorktown in three days and still had people on her fixing her as she sailed.

I did notice that I did not see one US fighter plane in the whole movie. While seeing a Devastator torpedo bomber flying on camera via CGI was a treat, I did miss seeing even one Wildcat on the flight deck or in a hangar. Actually seeing some Buffalo fighters on Midway would have made my day as well.

I did notice that the B-26 bombers from Midway attacked with bombs, but I thought they were armed with torpedoes for that sortie, or at least capable of launching torpedoes from the accounts I have read. I might have seen an actual Vindicator bomber from Midway during those scenes, which was real accurate.

I think some of the heights of the attacks started lower than their historical heights so you could see the planes better, but that was forgivable since they would have been spots, not planes at that range. Seeing a whole squadron follow each other in on the dive and stay in formation was a sight for sore eyes. Also, seeing the torpedoe bombers stay in formation in their runs was good to see since that is how they trained and attacked and were eventually shot to pieces so fast. Historical accuracy can be stunning to watch.

I didn't know if you appreciated all the historically accurate Japanese ships down to the destroyers. I really hate USN stand ins for those. Also seeing the Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu in all their glory was a sight for sore eyes. I even appreciated seeing the Hiryu being scuttled. You don't see that very often in movies, yet it happened.
I did notice they didn't show the the Mogami or is it the Mikuma, a heavy cruiser being sunk. Not enough budget to fully CGI that, I have no idea. I can only guess.

I think I will actually buy the DVD when it comes out just to watch the battle scenes over and over again. I haven't found many like it to compare it to, so its practically one of a kind on its own. It would be nice if they would CGI other WWII stories. They Leyte Gulf destroyer combat against the Japanese heavy capital ship fleet would be nice, as well as most Guadalcanal night battles. I doubt the commercial interest is there though. You could do a movie on Jimmy Steward's war record too. I just read where he had to be grounded due to combat fatigue later in the war. I also believe him and John Ford personally confronted the censors wanting the change "Its a Wonderful Life" and got them to back down as both were battle hardened veteran officers and they weren't and it showed.

Best Regards,

Mark

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Re: Midway Movie Review

#4 Post by 72 usmc » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:14 am

Ok, you guys convinced me to go to the movie house for the first time since :think: Saving Private Ryan :shhh: :shhh:
I wonder if they still take cash.
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Re: Midway Movie Review

#5 Post by 72 usmc » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:22 am

Great review. Thanks Mark. Running time is approximately 138 min.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midway_(2019_film)

Interesting facts about its costs form above source:
On May 23, 2017, it was reported that Roland Emmerich would be directing the World War II film Midway.[3] Due to its potential lofty budget (with estimates putting its needed cost at $125 million), Emmerich had trouble getting the film greenlit. When no major studio would bankroll the project, he cut down on potential battle sequences and turned to individuals for the funds, resulting in $76 million; he then got an additional $24 million in equity, mostly from Chinese investors, resulting in the film's $100 million budget. It is one of the most costly independent films ever made.[1] Emmerich has previously attempted to mount the film at Sony Pictures in the '90s, with William Goldman becoming interested in the project. At that time as in the present, executives balked at the $100 million proposed budget, and Emmerich moved on to direct The Patriot.
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Re: Midway Movie Review

#6 Post by Tommy Atkins » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:54 am

Thanks. I'd been kind of ignoring it as I had the feeling it would be "Pearl Harbor" part 2, now Ill go see it.

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Re: Midway Movie Review

#7 Post by SWIHARTMARK » Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:57 pm

Pearl Harbor has nothing on this movie. Even Clair Chennault of the flying tigers said you never dog fight a zero with a P-40, but the planes at Pearl were radial engined P-36s, not P-40s. The inline engine version of a P-36 is a P-40. "Tora, Tora, Tora" beats Pearl Harbor all to pieces. It is even accurate for the most part. Seeing all those surplus or even mock up P-40s blow up is hard to watch. People were almost killed in those scenes.

Best Regards,

Mark

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Re: Midway Movie Review

#8 Post by 72 usmc » Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:09 pm

Interesting:
History Buffs: Midway Trailer Impressions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKxsgcO-EwA


The indepth analysis of the Midway movie trailer no one asked for
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOXWSSfbNTo

Midway 2019 trailer review, please read description.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9VatMX9ipw
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Re: Midway Movie Review

#9 Post by HectorFuego » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:03 pm

The one thing that bothered me was when the carrier was not steaming fast enough into the wind to effectively launch the planes. I'm sure that's a possibility and may have actually happened at some point, but with all the people involved in a launch it seems unlikely that nobody would say, "Hey! We need to be going a little faster."

I had forgotten about the Buffalo fighters. As I recall they were pretty much shot to pieces too. I agree with the OP that CGI budget may have entered into the decision as to what would be included/excluded. The rendering of the Japanese carriers was much more important than adding a couple of more types of aircraft.

There was very little of a romantic back story that you saw in Pearl Harbor. Best had a wife who appeared in, I think, 3 scenes but that was it. The movie almost exclusively dealt with the pivotal events which lead to the defeat of the Japanese in the battle. All of the key people actually existed and actually did what was shown in the movie.

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Re: Midway Movie Review

#10 Post by SWIHARTMARK » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:36 am

I tend to agree on the scene where the pilot died due to a lack of wind. You would think the people in charge would have seen the previous plane and immediately made a decision. Lots of people were injured and died pioneering naval aviation and still do today. If it wasn't landing, navigating back to the a moving air strip surrounded by water can't be easy, especially with radio silence. If they just wanted to portray naval aviation as dangerous, they made their point though.

Seeing torpedo 8 get mowed down in formation is really staying with me. The 1976 movie just didn't accomplish that with cockpit shots for me. You read it, you see the original, but after seeing the new movie, you can fully visualize it now. I forgot the formations were tighter than I imagained and I think they were accurate.

Best Regards,

Mark


BTW, I've read a few reviews and it seemed most were biased before they saw the film.

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Re: Midway Movie Review

#11 Post by 72 usmc » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:32 pm

So for my USMC birthday NOV 10 today -Semper Fi jar heads, I went to see "Midway" with my wife who dislikes war movies. We were both held spell bound for the history & realism of the movie, and two, at the price of todays movies $23 for two. If I remember right, the last movie we saw was Saving Private Ryan at $6 for two??? The seats are different too. :shhh: Odd they post it is illegal to use aa flat phone to tape the movie- do people really do that??? Cheeper just to buy a DVD ? Sounds were fantastic, way better than a DVD on TV.

Brought back some good old memories. It reminded me of the thrill of seeing Tora, Tora, Tora which I saw in marine boot third phase just before graduation in Sept, back in late 1970. It just came out and the DIs wanted us to see it on Sunday. So some 49 years later, this movie reminded me of the good old days. IT IS A MUST SEE IN THE THEATER. I am going during the week for a second time- it was that good. The only odd thing was the silver color of the Zero in the movie, a Jap Zero was generally painted a dark green on all upper surfaces and light grey on all lower surfaces. At least the old Plastic models and the one real plane at at the the Oshkosh airshow was colored that way.
here is one at the air Museum https://airandspace.si.edu/collection-o ... el-52-zeke
I see there are less than 10 example that are still flying. I thought they had a real one in Tora Tora Tora, but I may be incorrect.

If you are cheep like me,do not wait, go and see it. It was worth every penny. :dance: :clap:
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.

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Re: Midway Movie Review

#12 Post by SWIHARTMARK » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:31 pm

Japanese naval planes could have been painted white with army ones painted green. Most books on Zeros show both paint schemes.

I've seen the Tora, Tora, Tora Japanese planes up close on a runway at the Dayton Airshow. When I mean close, I mean I walked by them and could have touched them if I wanted to. Those were especially made for the movie according to those on the ground by the planes. The pistons on the radials seemed too nice to be WWII vintage for instance.

I'm getting the DVD for sure. I usually only see one or two movies first run a year, mostly StarWars releases. This is difficult as my wife and daughter do not know the series goes 4,5,6,1,2,3,7,8,9 in chronological order in the series, but middle, beginning, end in human years. Korean wife was happy to see Japanese lose the battle. Imagine that?

Upon reviewing wikipedia posts on the battle of Midway, here are some minor problems with the movie's accuracy. There were only 4 B-26's based on Midway and they had torpedos, not bombs as I thought. One did dive on a Japanese carrier when it was mortally wounded. Six are seen in the movie doing a low level bombing. There was only one squadron of Devastator torpedo bombers with the US carriers, the rest were Avengers. Midway actually had some Wildcat fighters, not to mention Avengers. Oh, defenses on Midway included two USMC raider companies, loaded for bear I presume. Damn, that was impressive. These are minor details since it was far more important to show actual Devastators attacking, which they did, but not all were Devastators. I did want to see a low level torpedo run by a B-26 though, argh, growl, argh. As for wikipedia's accuracy, I would dare to say it is sufficient, but I wouldn't quote it in an academic paper.


Best Regards,

Mark

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Re: Midway Movie Review

#13 Post by 72 usmc » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:21 pm

Airplanes used in Tora Tora Tora : this :arrow: Tora! Tora! Tora! - The Internet Movie Plane Database
the link will not allow for a direct link. Copy and paste this lower link in and it can be seen.
https://www.impdb.org/index.php?title=Tora!_Tora!_Tora!

It has been about 15 years since I viewed Tora, so I got my 1984 dated VHS tape out and it seems it has degraded with age -kind of fuzzy and mute colors. But both color combinations of Japanese airplanes were observed in the movie-- most are a grayish silver or silver. (Not even real Zeroz???)
I guess, I need to get a restored DVD version -maybe one with a section on the making of the movie. At the beginning of the character introduction, one of the Japanese commanders lands on the aircraft carrier and it says it is a type 21 with folding wing ends. This plane is all silver
500px-Vlc2008031219384598hc1.jpg
500px-Vlc2008031219384598hc1.jpg (33.05 KiB) Viewed 247 times
Later a scene under deck shows silver planes with a black crawling being worked on. Props were white. As the planes pick up the Honolulu radio beam to ride it into Pearl harbor the movie shows a green painted plane and in the yellow flying school biplane scene when they see all the Zeros around them, the Japenes airplane showing the 2 Japanese pilots in the cockpit shows a green side or upper portion of the zero. When the first Japanese airplane comes back and the commander asks why the second wave has not taken off the planes shown are painted green on top.
500px-Vlc2008031221401516xq4.jpg
500px-Vlc2008031221401516xq4.jpg (31.74 KiB) Viewed 247 times
So there was a real mix. It seems the new Midway is far more accurate in showing silver, navy Zeros. I did a search and found the above link. An interesting bit of information. As always Mark is right on.

There is apparently a 2 disc set with commentary that was out in 2006 that I will have to hunt for.
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Re: Midway Movie Review

#14 Post by SWIHARTMARK » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:21 pm

I am guessing they were later used in Black Sheep Squadron.... Got to have a plan B after the movie. Too bad CGI did not have any non-zero fighters usually stationed on islands.

Midway did win the weekend box office.

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Mark

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Re: Midway Movie Review

#15 Post by 72 usmc » Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:12 pm

To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.

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