It’s been a while since the last true ”dad movie” I saw. There are bunch that I could’ve called that lately but I was waiting for something like director Roland Emmerich's Midway, the dad-est of them all. Even by describing it as a film about a battle during World War II between the US and the Japanese, you can picture in your head the kind of guys we’re following. What you imagine is exactly who they are. That’s how the whole film comes off like, a very surface-level war film where the outcome is extremely scattered all over.
One of the two main men we follow is Edwin Layton who’s played by Patrick Wilson. Wilson is really the only standing out from the cast as he really tries to make the viewer feel the pressure. Scenes with Layton actually tell us something about him and his character traits and they’re done mostly with straightforward dialogue which turns out to be very rare during the 138 minute runtime. More of that was needed. The other main character is Dick Best (Ed Skrein) and that’s as much as you can say about him. His whole portrayal is all quips and zero heart, you most likely won’t give a second thought to him or Skrein’s acting after the credits. Some of the aerial battling is pretty fun to watch and though CGI-heavy, Midway soars during those moments and they never get tiresome.
Editing and scene order is pure nightmare fuel as the movie jumps around with no rhyme or reason from one place to the next and a lot of it should be on the cutting room floor. Why is Dennis Quaid (as William Halsey) in this other than telling us about his rash? Why are we following Jimmy Doolittle (played by Aaron Eckhart) since all of that has no impact? At least there’s a fair portion of screen time with the Japanese side, thing that most American movies miss completely as they only focus on one side. Dialogue is seriously undercooked for the whole time, especially in the scenes involving the wives in which they are given nothing worthwhile to say. Visual effects are clunky and overused, there are some crashes and accidents that would’ve looked better even done with miniatures in front of a green screen. Overly relying on VFX also hurts the cinematography as most of Midway looks like a sitcom with flattest lighting possible.
Smileys: Patrick Wilson
Frowneys: Editing, cinematography, dialogue, VFX
Carrier named Midway gets hit with too many torpedos and sinks.