Many people know the history of World War II, especially of the attack on Pearl Harbor. But a lot of people don’t know or are simply unaware of the Battle of Midway. The Battle of Midway was a very significant naval battle in the Pacific Ocean theater. The battle took place for three days from June 4 through June 7, 1942. It took place approximately six months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and is considered to be one of the most tactically decisive and strategically influential battles in world history.
With that said, it is here that forms the nucleus of the 2019 film, Midway. An epic war film produced on a grand scale with a huge and fantastic ensemble cast. Written by Wes Tooke and directed by Roland Emmerich, it stars Woody Harrelson, Dennis Quaid, Patrick Wilson, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Mandy Moore and a great lead role by Ed Skrein.
The movie begins in Tokyo around December 1937 where the US Naval attaché intelligence officer Lieutenant Commander Edwin Layton, played by Patrick Wilson, is discussing the US and Japanese positions in the Pacific Ocean during a state function. It is here that Layton is warned by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto that if there is a threat by the US in regards to the Japanese oil supply, that there will be severe consequences and that the Japanese will deem it necessary to take action immediately. The movie then fast forwards to the fateful day on December 7, 1941, where the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, leading the US to officially enter into World War II.
The attack has caused serious damage for the US Pacific Fleet, but, luckily, is still operational for further actions. It is shortly thereafter that the plan for the Battle of Midway is implemented. By intercepting messages concerning a location identified as “AF” by Joseph Rochefort and his cryptology team, Layton takes the information to Admiral Chester Nimitz, played brilliantly by Woody Harrelson, and believes that the intended target is that of the Midway Atoll.
After the meeting, Nimitz instructs the team to find a way to definitively prove that “AF” is indeed Midway as opposed to the South Pacific and that Washington is sure to be the target. Layton then instructs Midway to telegraph that they are suffering a water shortage. Rochefort intercepts Japanese communications concerning water shortages on “AF”, confirming that “AF” is indeed Midway. With that information verified and an ambush by the Japanese fleet to be eminent, Nimitz orders both the Enterprise and the Hornet, a Yorktown-class aircraft carrier, to prepare and be ready for combat. With each side escalating its plan and strategy, the Battle of Midway is set in motion and about to begin.
I absolutely loved Midway. I found it be to be very poignant and powerful. I felt the cast did a truly exceptional job in inhabiting these real true-life characters, each one playing their part and off one another with great precision and in absolute grand fashion. What I found most surprising but equally and especially satisfying is that while the film does take some artistic license; for the most part, it is completely historically accurate. So much so that many combat veterans and historians who have seen it deem the film to be the most realistic movie about naval combat ever made. I cannot recommend this film highly enough.
Be sure to check out Midway on DVD or Blu-ray today. For those who would like to go even further, I recommend you check out the books Wade McClusky and the Battle of Midway by David Rigby and Never Call Me a Hero: A Legendary American Dive-Bomber Pilot Remembers the Battle of Midway by Jack N. Kleiss.