The Battle of Midway now a major a motion picture (again)
Coming to theaters this November is a new take on a battle many said turned the tied of the war in the Pacific. Roland Emmerich’s World War II film, Midway. This film should not be confused with the 1976 film starring a series of heavy hitters, including Charlton Heston, Robert Mitchum, Henry Ford, Hal Halbrook. among others. The newest film brings the talents of Dennis Quaid as Admiral Bill Halsey and Woody Harrelson as Admiral Chester Nimitz along with Luke Evans Lt. Commander Wade McClusky, Patrick Wilson as Edward Layton, Nick Jonas, and Ed Skrein as naval aviators.
Midway, for those that aren’t familiar with the story, was a small island in the Pacific. After the missing out on the carriers during the Pearl Harbor attack, Japan continued with its plan to take out the U.S. navy, thereby giving them free reign. The small island was key because if Japan could control that, it would give them the ability to strike at other U.S. territories, including Hawaii.
Japan, at best, misread American capabilities after the devastating blow at Pearl Harbor. It also didn’t realize that our cryptographers had cracked their code. The ability for the U.S. to rebound after Pearl and our ability to decipher Japan’s plans are just a couple of the keys in the victory.
Four Japanese and three American aircraft carriers participated in the battle. By the end, the U.S. had sunk all four the Japanese carriers while the Navy lost the Yorktown. The Japanese losses crippled their ability to replace men and materials. This gave the U.S. a firm grasp on the Pacific and began a campaign of island hopping over the next three years, with the U.S. Marines, Navy, and the Army chasing Japanese military and navy.
The Battle of Midway and the Guadalcanal campaign later marked significant turning points in the war.
Midway is the focal point of Emmerich’s film. Though it starts off with the attack on Pearl Harbor follows through with the Doolittle Raid a few months later before settling on the battle itself. This film packs an awful of lot of the early days of the Pacific War into a couple of hours.
Emmerich’s film focuses on the aviators, with a focus on dive bomber Dick Best (played by Ed Skrein). Best led his squadron into 90-degree angle attacks on the Japanese carriers. Best is credited with crippling an aircraft carrier and possibly damaging a second one.
The film also has two subplots: the code-breaking and Japan’s plans for the Midway attack. There’s also the obligatory home front story with Best’s wife.
Midway opens November 8.