Midway is the dad movie that defined 2019. Basically, it was a throwback to a throwback. How many times do you get to see mid 70s war movie style recycled into modern CG storytelling and then spat back out with the Gung-Ho sentiment of a RKO Picture? To some, that might sound bad. Honestly, I’m just thrilled by the execution.
Roland Emmerich is a complicated director. So many 90s filmgoers automatically want to hang the crimes of Independence Day and Godzilla upon him. Then, there are those fetish types out there that got way too into Stargate. They’re both wrong. Emmerich didn’t start stinking until he embraced his inner Irwin Allen and was making spectacle for the sake of spectacle. However, there was a quality filmmaker hiding underneath that.
World War II in cinema has been the refuge for many journeyman artists trying to reshape their image. I won’t bore you with the name drops, but just take a rabbit hole dive down Wikipedia or IMDB. If you make male-driven cinema, can’t land a bigger deal at a studio, but can put asses in seats…you make a war movie. While not totally expensive, they’re not so cheap that anyone can do them. But, what makes them connect?
The Pacific Theater rarely gets covered anymore in modern film. The European theater has been done to death and the 60s ran the North African theater into the ground. When one moves into the Pacific, they open up a world of CG added naval and aviation scenes. The motion and hard camera shifts of those kinds of scenes provide spectacle with the chance of raised dramatics. So, you can connect to both audiences.
I appreciate what Lionsgate has tried to do in 2019. Between the girl power movies, the thinking person movies and the Dad movies…they resembled studios of old. Every audience got something and no one kind of movie dominated the others. Slap a United Artists logo or the 70s MCA Universal logo and I can totally but this film as being part of that era.
The Midway 4K UHD is now available from Lionsgate. Check out the screenshots to eyeball that stunning transfer. Plus, you get a commentary, featurettes and a trailer. I do find it weird that you get a high-powered commentary disclaimer. Weird times, people.