Midway (2019)


Introduction

Midway is a 2019 American epic war film about the Battle of Midway, a turning point in the Pacific Theatre of World War II, directed by Roland Emmerich, who produced the film with Harald Kloser, and written by Wes Tooke.

It is the story of the Battle of Midway, told by the leaders and the sailors who fought it.

You can find Midway (1976) here.

Outline

In December 1937 in Tokyo, US Naval attaché intelligence officer Lieutenant Commander Edwin T. Layton and his counterpart are discussing the US and Japanese positions in the Pacific Ocean during a state function. Layton is warned by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto that if the Japanese oil supply is threatened by the US, the Japanese will take immediate action. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese use their carrier fleet to strike at Pearl Harbour. The attack leads the US to enter World War II. naval aviator Lieutenant Dick Best and the Air Group (CAG) of the carrier Enterprise,

The film starts with the US Naval attaché in Tokyo and his counterpart discussing the US and Japanese positions in the Pacific Ocean during a state function in December 1937. The film then goes on briefly to show the Attack on Pearl Harbour (December 1941), which seriously damages the US Pacific Fleet, but left the base still operational for forward fleet actions, the Marshalls-Gilberts raids (February 1942), Doolittle Raid (April 1942), and the Battle of the Coral Sea (May 1942). It finally describes the planning for the Battle of Midway (June 1942), depicting the creation of a complicated battle plan. Admiral Yamamoto and Nagumo outline a complicated battle plan to strike Midway using the four available carriers of the Kido Butai. Joseph Rochefort and his cryptology team begin intercepting messages concerning a location the Japanese identify as “AF”. Layton speaks with Admiral Chester Nimitz, who informs him that Washington believes “AF” to be a target in the South Pacific. Layton disagrees, believing the intended target to be Midway Atoll.

After meeting with Rochefort, Nimitz instructs the team to find a way to definitively prove that “AF” is Midway. After Layton instructs Midway to telegraph in the clear (unencrypted) that they are suffering a water shortage, cryptologists working for Rochefort intercept Japanese communications concerning water shortages on “AF”, confirming that “AF” is indeed Midway. In preparation for an ambush of the Japanese fleet, Nimitz orders carriers Hornet and Enterprise recalled from the Coral Sea and demands that the damaged Yorktown be made ready for combat operations. The gamble pays off and all four of the Japanese carriers are destroyed in the battle of Midway. During the battle, Best inhales caustic soda from a faulty oxygen tank and suffers from respiratory issues including coughing up blood, but is awarded the Navy Cross and became one of two pilots to hit multiple carriers in a single day.

On June 4, the Japanese launch an air attack against Midway. Initial attempts by US land-based aircraft to strike at the Japanese fleet carriers fail. A crashing Martin B-26 Marauder narrowly misses striking a carrier’s bridge. A shaken Minoru Genda asks if the aircraft was attempting a suicide ramming, although a uncertain Nagumo nervously suggests that the plane was out of control due to battle damage. Nautilus, a US submarine attacks an enemy carrier but the torpedo misses its target. The destroyer Arashi keeps the submarine pinned down so that the carriers can escape. Upon spotting the Arashi, the Commander of the Air Group (CAG) of the Enterprise, C. Wade McClusky, correctly infers the Japanese destroyer is rushing back to the main Japanese fleet and leads his planes to follow its course. Anti-aircraft fire from ships and Japanese planes combined with evasive manoeuvres keep the carriers safe. However, the attacks keep the Japanese carriers off balance and unable to prepare and launch their own counterstrike. Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi orders Nagumo to launch his strike as soon as he can. On the Akagi, Nagumo experiences hard knocks while being tossed about the carrier as the bombs drop in the water around his flagship. The buffeting he encounters during the bombing, as well as the destruction of two of his other carriers demoralises him, before Best scores a direct hit on the Akagi. With his own ship in flames, Nagumo goes into a state of shock and is reluctant to transfer his flag but is persuaded by Genda. Admiral Yamaguchi and the captain of the Hiryu go down with the ship. Hiryu is then scuttled.

In Pearl Harbour, Rochefort intercepts the Japanese order to withdraw and passes it to Layton, who then informs Nimitz and his elated staff.

Trivia

  • A passion project of Emmerich’s, he had trouble getting financial support for the film before finally fundraising most of the budget and officially announcing it in 2017.
  • Much of the cast joined in summer 2018, and filming began in Hawaii that September, also taking place in Montreal.
  • With a production budget of $100 million, it is one of the most expensive independent films of all time.
  • The film was released on 08 November 2019, Veteran’s Day weekend.
  • It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $125 million worldwide.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Roland Emmerich.
  • Producer(s): Roland Emmerich and Harald Kloser.
  • Writer(s): Wes Tooke.
  • Music: Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser.
  • Cinematography: Robby Baumgartner.
  • Editor(s): Adam Wolfe.
  • Production: Summit Entertainment, Centropolis Entertainment, Entertainment One, RuYi Media, Starlight Culture, Entertainment Group, Street Entertainment, and AGC Studios.
  • Distributor(s): Lionsgate.
  • Release Date: 08 November 2019.
  • Running time: 138 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

YouTube Link

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