Whether you’re a history buff or a movie-lover, you need to see the upcoming movie “Midway.” This epic American wartime drama will be released in theaters over Veterans Day weekend from Lionsgate. The film details The Battle of Midway, a historic naval battle that took place just six months after the horrific events of Pearl Harbor. “Midway” offers something for everyone: historical heroes, American families holding down the home front, and well-choreographed action scenes and explosions that will have you guessing what’s real and what is VFX. You need to see “Midway.” Here’s why.
Because It’s the Ultimate Underdog Story
In June of 1942, just six months after the horrific events of Pearl Harbor, Japan was winning the war in the Pacific. Although, the Doolittle Raid had lifted the morale of Americans, the Japanese had experienced great victory throughout the Asia-Pacific region and were confidently planning to destroy the remainder of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Unfortunately for the Japanese, the Americans at Midway would surprise the world with the courage and strength of the U.S. Naval fleet. These brave Americans faced risks and overcame challenges that would ultimately achieve victory at the Battle of Midway.
Because It Was a Turning Point of WWII
Just six months after America’s most tragic military defeat, the victory at the Battle of Midway proved to be a crucial turning point in World War II.
Victory was achieved with the dedicated work of a small group of analysts, codebreakers, and linguists known as “Station Hyper” who were working around the clock intercepting Japanese code and messages. In March of 1942, still smarting from their intelligence failure at Pearl Harbor, the codebreakers redoubled their efforts and cracked the elusive Japanese code known as JN- 45. Station Hyper determined that Japan was planning another major attack on an American target, the U.S. base on the tiny island of Midway.
Gaining control of Midway would allow the Japanese to establish a base between Pearl Harbor and Japan and put them within just 1,100 miles off Hawaii -- within striking distance. The Japanese strategized that when the U.S Forces came to defend the island, they would be ambushed and destroyed. By breaking the Japanese code, Station Hyper allowed the U.S. to derail the plans of the Japanese and plan a counter-attack. This time the U.S. Navy would be ready with a surprise of their own.
On June 4, 1942, the Japanese sent fighter planes and bombers from four aircraft carriers to attack Midway. Meanwhile, three U.S. aircraft carriers (Enterprise, Hornet, and Yorktown) were closing in on the Japanese force. While the Japanese were focusing on their aerial attacks, the U.S. aircraft carriers ambushed the Japanese and released their first wave of torpedo bombers.
These bombers, known as Torpedo Devastators, were to drop torpedoes on the Japanese ships to sink them. It was common knowledge that these planes were “low and slow” and would be easily picked off by the Japanese. The pilots and gunners knew they were easy targets, yet they took off that June morning undaunted. Of the forty-one Demonstrators that took off that morning, only six returned.
While the Japanese focused on the torpedo bombers, U.S. dive bombers began to attack the four Japanese aircraft carriers. In one day, three of the four ships were sunk . The Yorktown then engaged in combat with the last Japanese carrier, the Hiryu. In the end, both ships went down.
The loss of four ships was devastating to the Japanese Navy and handed the United States their first major victory in the Pacific. On the heels of this success, just two months later, 10,000 Marines stormed Guadalcanal, and the American Forces continued their advances until the surrender of Japan in 1945.
Because Its Scale Must Be Experienced on the Big Screen
With a big budget and the best technology available, Emmerich was determined to present a historically correct rendition of the famous battle. He brought in Kirk Petruccelli, who also worked with him on “The Patriot,” to handle production design. Even though there are still aircraft and ships from the WWII era, none of them are in war-time condition. All the carriers and planes would have to be created for “Midway.”
A vast indoor flight deck was built in Montreal. The production team painstakingly recreated the planes and ships with exacting detail. “When you can create everything, then naturally, you can be absolutely exact. Our aircraft carriers, both Japanese and Enterprise and the Hornet, what you see is super correct because there's endless research material, photographs, and stuff,” says Emmerich. To ensure authenticity, Emmerich filmed the Pearl Harbor scenes on Ford Island, an islet in the center of Pearl Harbor, Oahu. The trailer gives us a great first look at the recreation.
Because It Features an All-Star Cast and Award-Winning Director
“Midway,” directed by Roland Emmerich, the filmmaker behind massive hits like “Independence Day" and “The Patriot,” is determined to show that even 77 years later the “Battle of Midway” remains relevant to today’s audiences. “It shows an America that’s not the superpower, a country that just came out of a big recession and tried to stay out of a war but got sucked into it. It was a simpler time, but it also was a time where you had to put your life in danger for ideals,” he says.
The film features Woody Harrelson and Dennis Quaid as Navy Admirals Nimitz and William “Bull” Halsey, Ed Skrein, Luke Evans, Nick Jonas, and Mandy Moore.
“This was one of the key battles or World War II,” says Quaid. “My dad was in World War II, there’s a personal connection there. That generation sacrificed so much for all of us, for something bigger than themselves.” “This is the greatest military comeback story in history,” adds Nick Jonas. “This is actually what happened,” says Harrelson, everybody was very conscientious about trying to make it real.”
Because It Pays Tribute to the Greatest Generation
Seventy-seven years later, “Midway” pays tribute to the heroic figures of the greatest generation. “The amazing thing is nobody really thought it was very special. It was this generation that just shrugged it off afterward. They did stuff that today probably nobody would ever, ever do again,” says Emmerich.
Inscribed into the stone of the WWII Memorial are these words by author Walter Lord about the Battle of Midway. "They had no right to win. Yet they did, and in doing so, they changed the course of war."
“Midway” allows us to remember not only a great American victory but also those souls who gave their lives for it.
Want to get a first look at “Midway?’
Take a look at the trailer.
In theaters this Veterans Day weekend.